Five minutes with: Will Canter

We caught up with Olympic Trap shooter and BASC Legacy Sponsorship recipient, Will Canter, to understand more about how he goes about preparing himself for competitions.

Will Canter, one of the 2023/24 BASC Legacy Sponsorship recipients, is well on his way to achieving his 2024 goals.

Will shoots Olympic Trap, one of the two disciplines which feature at the Olympics, and competes at both domestic and international competitions. Following a successful first half of the year, Will gives us a bit more insight into his sport.

What are your goals for 2024? How are you doing so far?

My main goal for 2024 is to be selected for the World Championships being held in Peru in September. To be selected for a major international competition you must achieve two minimum criteria scores. 

For Olympic Trap, this means that you have to shoot either two competitions where you score 115 out of 125, or one 115 out of 125 and a domestic gold medal, or an international medal in a full competition final. These need to have been achieved within the last 12 months at the time the selection decision is made. 

At the beginning of the year, I had neither. However, I secured a silver medal at the Malaga Grand Prix competition held in January, following a qualifying score of 112 out of 125 and then shooting 39 out of 50 in the final. At the last British Shooting competition held in East Yorkshire I shot my first 115 out of 125. These together mean I’m eligible for selection. This doesn’t mean I can rest or relax; I need to continue to build on these performances for the future.

Tell us a bit more about how these competitions work?

For each competition, you will have a minimum of one day pre competition training. Ideally, I like two, but it’s not always possible with other commitments. The competition itself runs over two days, shooting 75 targets on day one, 50 on day two, and then if you finish in the top six you compete in a final of up to 50 targets.

How do you prepare yourself physically for competitions? 

Firstly, from a stamina perspective, during training I always complete four to five rounds in a day and where possible, leave time between rounds like I would experience in a competition (this can be between one and up to three hours). During term time, I can only really commit to one day a week, but in the holidays I increase my training that so that it mimics the competition experience across the three to four days. 

I also have created some habits that, if possible, I like to do for every competition. So, on the night before the competition, I love a good bowl of pasta! Before each round, I throw an orange ball to help wake up my eyes ready for the clays. Between rounds I tend to not eat a lot, enough to keep my energy levels at a consistent level and avoid ups and downs.

And what about mentally?

So much! It varies, but I will regularly visualise a competition during the week before and will use any time I can to do this including on the bus to school. This will include walking on to the layout, clearing the gun, calling, seeing and shooting the target, and then moving peg and getting ready to hit the next target. 

I also spend time before a competition planning for scenarios that I might find myself in. Some of these plans have formed over time based on experiences that have happened that I didn’t feel prepared for, others from experiences I’ve witnessed others have and some are completely unique to me. 

Prior to a round, I like to distance myself from people as much as I can. As a natural thinker, I want to go on the range with a clear head, and so avoiding conversations for a period helps me to do that.

So, what’s coming up for you next then Will? 

I’m competing at the Emir Cup at Umbriaverde Shooting Ground in Italy very shortly! Then the first two weeks in July are busy, with the British Shooting Shotgun Series round at Fauxdegla, which finishes on the Sunday, and I fly to the ISSF Junior World Cup in Porpetto Italy, on the Monday.

Competitions then quieten down for the Olympics, but I’m looking forward to being a spectator and watching some of our GBR Olympic Trap athletes competing in Paris.

Apply for a BASC Legacy Sponsorship

BASC’s Legacy Sponsorship programmes supports young competitive clay/target shooters aiming to progress to representing their country on a national team in the future. If you’re interested in applying for this year’s sponsorship, you can read more about the programme, including how to apply, here.