A little while ago, a local pétanque player approached me and grilled me about becoming a “shooter”.

Honor Woodard

Well, I am not the most qualified person to give a pertinent answer, but I have my own beliefs…
First of all, anybody (regardless of age or sex) can be a shooter. You can start shooting at ten and keep going until your late eighties… maybe even later.

In order to become an acknowledged hitter, you need good eyesight, good coordination and a thick skin. A thick hide is necessary to shoulder the blame that will inevitably come your way after some lost games. A shooter’s failing is always more glaring than a pointer’s blunder.

“Champions all get kicked when they’re down.” Apolo Ohno

Then, you will need a lot of practice.
“Practice makes perfect. After a long time of practicing, our work will become natural, skillful, swift, and steady.” Bruce Lee

The shooter is usually recognized as the captain of the team and as the captain he has to make crucial decisions. The team relies on him/her to keep the enemy at bay. He is the sheepdog, the protector of the flock and he needs to strike when the opponents are getting too close.

But the defender has a limited amount of arrows in his quiver and he has to use each one judiciously. He has to decide when to strike or when to abstain and it is his prerogative.

The shooter also needs to exude confidence, the feeling that he can be relied upon. Just like airplane passengers put their trust in their pilot, teammates have to trust the shooter to get them out of a tight spot.

Shooting is exhilarating, but you can quickly go from hero to zero. And we all have bad hair days. Some days, despite trying hard, nothing works out. That’s when I invoke the deities on Mt Olympus.

The Olympians are capricious and just like human beings they can be easily offended. But they also have their “chouchou”. They will favor their protégé for a certain time and then lavish their affection on somebody else.

Just be sure to take advantage of the days when the gods had enough ambrosia for lunch. They are then magnanimous and even if you miss a shot, they will make your boule bounce on another boule and still score a point. Some ignorant people call it luck; I call it a gift from the Gods.

“True champions aren’t always the ones that win, but those with the most guts.” Mia Hamm

I do believe this. Audacity, then audacity again, always audacity!


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