What is the ESSU Academy?

The ESSU has established Academies for enhanced coaching and training of athletes in ISSF Rifle and Pistol disciplines. Their function is to identify and train talented individuals who demonstrate the capability to progress to represent England at an elite status, up to and including the Commonwealth Games. Each of the Rifle and Pistol Academies are run independently and managed by the respective Head Coaches and a number of Assistant Coaches, most of whom are qualified to ISSF, National or Regional level. Many of our Coaches have international experience as competitors in international championships, including the Commonwealth and Olympic Games. The ESSU Academies are not basic training schools but higher level institutions where athletes of proven ability can progress into the Team England National Squad (TENS), from which selection for the Commonwealth Games and other international competitions is made. Therefore, selection will normally be made on application from individuals who are members of Regional training squads, youth organisations, (Scouts, Cadets, etc.), or shooting clubs. Continued membership is conditional upon maintaining and improving performance levels, and is subject to constant review. The training sessions are normally held at Aldersley in the West Midlands (Rifle) and the Lord Roberts Centre, Bisley (Pistol), although other venues may be used dependent on availability and the facilities offered.

Overall supervision of both sections of the Academy will be undertaken by the TENS Performance Manager, Martyn White, who reports directly to the ESSU Committee.

The number of members of each Academy is limited by the range facilities available at each of the training venues and by the number of qualified Coaches able to be present. The ESSU receive no direct funding from Sport England for our Academies and it must therefore be understood that there is a financial cost to its Members to cover the Coaches expenses, range hire, targets, and other necessary costs. This will comprise an annual 'commitment-fee' and additional fees to cover costs on the training days. The commitment fee will be decided on  an annual basis by the Head Coaches in consultation with the ESSU Committee and notified to Academy applicants and current Academy Members.  Additional fees for range-hire on training days are payable by those attending.  These may vary, but will be in the region of £25.00 for a week-end.

Selection to either Academy is made on an annual basis during the late Summer and will comprise an initial assessment and interview of applicants over a weekend, during which time the Coaches will use a variety of methods to assess the applicants in relation to the criteria listed below. These methods will include observation when shooting the various disciplines, possible SCATT work, and individual interviews. Parents or guardians will also be required to accompany interviewees if they are under the age of 18. Additional assessments may be arranged as required, full details of which will be published on the relevant Rifle or Pistol Academy Notices on this website.

Initial application for the Academy must be made on a downloadable application form, (see menu), and sent by e-mail to the Secretary by 31st August of the current year.

Ther is no minmum age for selection of Academy members, but candidates must be of sufficient build and strength to support and hold a rifle or pistol in accordance with ISSF Rules.  Academy members under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or appointed responsible adult whilst attending Academy sessions.

It is important to note that the assessment is not based on scores alone.

If you would like further information prior to application, please address your enquiry to the Secretary, Nick Clark, using the forms available under the heading 'Contact Us' on this website.

Admission and Membership Criteria

The criteria for acceptance into the ESSU Academy have been revised to comply with the Great Britain Talent Pathway Programme, into which individuals who demonstrate exceptional ability and high potential may be invited:

     Be a current subscribing Member of the ESSU.

     Be a current Life or Annual member of a National Governing Body, (e.g. NSRA) for insurance purposes.

     Accept and sign a 'Code of Conduct' agreement.  This must be certified and counter-signed by a parent if the athlete is under the age of 18.

     Possess a demonstrable degree of natural shooting talent.

     Follow a high level ‘Physical Fitness Lifestyle’ that must be maintained throughout membership of the Academy

     Demonstrate a strong determination and desire to represent England at the highest level

     Demonstrate the willingness to be coached by the Academy Coaches and the ability to apply the techniques in practice.

     Have the intention of becoming multi-event, if not already.

Funding and entry restrictions limit the opportunities for a single-discipline athlete to be selected for an international competition.

For Members under the age of 18, (Minors), it is particularly important that parent or guardians are fully supportive and prepared to render every assistance with their training efforts.  For Competition purposes we adopt the ISSF definition of a Junior, viz: "Athletes who will be under the age of 21 on December 31st in the year of the Competitions/Championships".

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