What is the ESSU Academy?

The ESSU Academies are for enhanced coaching and training of athletes in ISSF Rifle and Pistol disciplines. Their function is to identify and coach talented individuals who demonstrate the capability to progress to represent England at an elite status and possible feeding into the British Shooting Pathway for GBR representation.  Each of the Rifle and Pistol Academies are run independently and managed by the respective Academy Managers and a number of Coaches, all 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.  Our Academies are not for beginners in the sport, but higher level institutions where athletes of proven ability or potential can progress into the Team England National Squad (TENS), from which selection for the Commonwealth Games and other international competitions is made.  Academy selection will normally be made on application from individuals who are members of UK regional training squads, youth organisations, (Scouts, Cadets, etc.), or shooting clubs.  Prospective members may be invited to an Academy training session as a Guest to see if the relationship will suit both parties, before formal acceptance.  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. 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.  There is no minimum age for Academy members, but candidates must be of sufficient build and strength to support and hold a rifle or pistol in accordance with ISSF Rules.
Overall supervision of both sections of the Academy will be undertaken by the ESSU Performance Manager, Craig Dower, who reports directly to the ESSU Committee.

What costs are involved?

The Academy 'year' commences on 1st September.  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 expenditure.  The Academy Managers, in consultation with the ESSU Committee, will decide on an annual Academy fee which will be notified to applicants and current Members.  The fee for each of the Rifle and Pistol Academies might vary, dependent on their specific needs, but will be around £130.00 annually.  Additional fees will be payable on training days to cover range-hire and target costs.  These fees may vary, but will be in the region of £25.00 for a session.

How do I join?

Selection and/or confirmation of membership to either Academy is made on an annual basis during the Summer season and will comprise an initial assessment and interview of applicants over a training weekend, during which time the Coaches will use a variety of methods to assess applicants in relation to the Membership Criteria below.  These methods will include observation when shooting the various disciplines, possible SCATT work, and individual interviews.  It is important to note that the assessment is not based on scores alone.   Additional assessments may be arranged if required, full details of which will be published on the relevant Rifle or Pistol Academy Notices on this website.   Parents* will  be required to accompany Minors during their initial selection process and at all Academy training sessions.

Initial application for the Academy must be made on a downloadable form, (see menu), and sent by e-mail to the Performance Manager.  If you would like further information prior to application, please address your enquiry to the Performance Manager using the forms available under the heading 'Contact Us' on this website.

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.

     For insurance purposes, be a current individual Life or Annual member of a National Governing Body, (e.g. NSRA) .

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

Minors: under eighteen (18) years of age.
Junior: For competition purposes we adopt the ISSF definition of a Junior: "Athletes who will be under the age of 21 on December 31st in the year of the Competitions/Championships".
Parent: Includes the natural or adoptive parents, guardians, or a responsible adult (over 21) who has or can assume legal responsibility for a Minor.


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