Shooting sports are becoming more popular among women and young people in Scotland, as they discover the benefits of learning a new skill, improving their mental health, and joining a friendly community.
Shooting is for Everyone
Contrary to the stereotype that shooting is a male-dominated activity, more and more women are taking up the sport in Scotland. According to the Scottish Target Shooting (STS), the national governing body for the sport, there has been a 25% increase in female membership in the past year. Women now make up 40% of the STS membership, and 50% of the STS staff.
One of the reasons for this growth is the inclusive and welcoming environment that shooting clubs offer. Women of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities can find a place to learn and enjoy shooting, whether it is air rifle, pistol, shotgun, or full-bore rifle. There are also opportunities to compete at local, national, and international levels, as well as to coach and volunteer.
Shooting is a sport that anyone can do, regardless of gender, age, or physical ability. As STS chief executive Fraser Walker said, “Shooting is one of the few sports where you can compete on a level playing field with anyone. You can have a 12-year-old girl shooting against a 60-year-old man and they can both win medals”.
Shooting Boosts Mental Health and Wellbeing
Another reason why women and young people are drawn to shooting is the positive impact it has on their mental health and wellbeing. Shooting requires concentration, focus, and discipline, which can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also improve confidence, self-esteem, and resilience, as shooters learn to cope with challenges and setbacks.
Shooting is a sport that can help people cope with the pressures and uncertainties of life, especially during the pandemic. As STS development manager Alan Gray said, “Shooting is a great way to switch off from everything else that is going on in the world. It gives you a sense of achievement and satisfaction when you hit the target or improve your score”.
Shooting can also provide a sense of belonging and social support, as shooters join a community of like-minded people who share their passion and enthusiasm. Shooting clubs are friendly and supportive places, where shooters can make new friends, have fun, and learn from each other.
Shooting Inspires Future Generations
Shooting is also a sport that can inspire future generations of women and young people to pursue their dreams and ambitions. Shooting can teach valuable life skills, such as goal-setting, problem-solving, and teamwork, which can be transferred to other areas of life, such as education, work, and personal development.
Shooting is a sport that can open up new opportunities and horizons for women and young people, as they discover their potential and talents. Shooting can also expose them to positive role models, such as successful female shooters who have achieved excellence and recognition in the sport, such as Jen McIntosh, Seonaid McIntosh, and Sharon Niven.
Shooting can also inspire women and young people to become role models themselves, as they share their stories and experiences with others, and encourage more people to try the sport. Shooting can also foster a culture of diversity and inclusion, as women and young people challenge stereotypes and break barriers in the sport.
Shooting is a sport that offers many benefits and rewards for women and young people in Scotland. It is a sport that is accessible, inclusive, and empowering. It is a sport that can improve mental health, wellbeing, and confidence. It is a sport that can inspire future generations and create positive change. Shooting is a sport that is for everyone.