With the final shots of the National Trophy Pistol Team Match fired and scored, the noise died down and the smoke cleared. Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Rosendorn, program coach and captain for Team Blackhawk Gold and Staff Sgt. Joel Eisen, a member of Team Blackhawk Gold marked the end of the 2022 Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) National Pistol Matches with an after-action review session conducted by Johnathan Loper, a Master Resilience Trainer/Performance Expert they had been working with over the previous three months at Ft. Hood.
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The CMP National Matches, held annually at Camp Perry, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, are designed to provide accomplished and aspiring expert shooters of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to gain experience, and compete with likeminded individuals from across the nation.
All branches of the military are represented by their official teams, civilian clubs, state teams, junior organizations, and single competitors from all walks of life attend. With no need to prequalify, the CMP National Matches provide the rare chance for rank amateurs to rub shoulders with and learn from record holders, Olympic competitors, and shooting legends.
Nationals provide the kind of motivation that causes Soldiers of the United States Army Reserve Competitive Marksmanship Program (USARCMP), like Rosendorn and Eisen, to push beyond the boundaries of their previously established skill limits. It is an event that drives them to set training schedules, goals, and milestones. For the military shooter, it is an event that can’t help but improve both its participants as well as the organizations/units they come from.
All of this helped to create the motivation for Rosendorn and Eisen, Unites States Army Reserve Soldiers with the 3-335th Training Support Battalion, (TSBN), 120th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division West, to enlist the coaching and mentorship of Loper at the Ft. Hood Master Resilience Training Center.
A specialist in mental process and mental performance coaching, Loper was instrumental in accelerating the progress made by Rosendorn and Eisen’s in preparation for the National Matches. Loper’s guidance, coupled with the support of unit leadership and their own determined efforts, ensured Rosendorn and Eisen’s week at Camp Perry was a successful one.
Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Slee (85th Training Division Command Sgt. Maj.) and Rosendorn both earned the President’s Hundred tab again this year. Staff Sgt. Robert Farrell (1st Brigade, 86th Training Division) earned his Distinguished Pistol Shot badge and .22 Excellence in Competition (EIC) points. Sgt. 1st Class Richard Willis (D Company 1/398th Brigade, 104th Division) also earned .22 EIC points, while Eisen earned his first EIC points on the road to his Distinguished Pistol Shot badge. All USARCMP competitors improved upon their previous year’s scores, turning in performances that resulted in various personal records.
While all these achievements are phenomenal, individual performances at Camp Perry are not the end all be all for the USARCMP. Many of the team members make it a point to establish Battalion or Brigade level teams, build marksmanship instruction capabilities that are organic to their unit, and develop Preliminary Marksmanship Instruction and Evaluation (PMI/E) classes that offer a deeper understanding of the subject matter than many Soldiers have previously received.
“Having Johnathan as a second perspective when reviewing not so much what physical techniques I use, but how I mentally or emotionally approach the challenges of competition was beyond valuable,” said Rosendorn.
“During the competition, I was able to evaluate the effectiveness of my shot process both mentally and physically,” said Eisen. The physical techniques are the same fundamentals we teach for PMI. Stable position, sight picture, etc. The mental skills needed are straight from the realm of Master Resilience Training. While it doesn’t seem obvious at first, strong mental resiliency allows for stronger performance in competition and combat alike, concluded Eisen.
With the 2022 event behind them, all competitors now turn their focus on the future and next years’ CMP National Pistol Matches. Improving their mental focus, physical technique, and their commitment to excellence in marksmanship.