Need some inspiration to make your athletic dreams come true? We caught up with Olympic Trap Shooter Tyler Froeba, who in spite of his congenital scoliosis, has worked hard to overcome his physical limitations in order to compete for a spot in the US Olympic Trap Shooting Team.
Core Power: Hi Tyler, what is Olympic Trap Shooting?
Tyler Froeba: The event I compete in is called International Trap or ‘bunker’ and is one of three shotgun disciplines in the Olympic Games. Shooting has been an Olympic event since the modern Olympics began in 1896.
In international trap, there is an in-ground bunker that houses 15 trap machines located 15 meters in front of the shooting positions. The machines are fixed and throw very precise targets both in terms of speed, angle and height. There are nine different schemes to choose from that the machines are set to. The targets move at speeds of 62 to 72mph, with angles up to 45 degrees left or right of center, and with heights varying from 1.5 meters to 3.5 meters. A round is composed of 25 targets and athletes can take two shots at each target thrown.
Core Power: How did you get started in Olympic Trap Shooting?
Tyler Froeba: My home range in Gainesville, FL is a USA Shooting Certified Training Center that offers every Olympic shotgun discipline, and is the only Certified Training Center in the state of Florida. In February of 2012 the USA National Shooting Team came to our range to do some training. My teammates and I were invited to shoot with them and try the Olympic Disciplines (as none of us had ever shot them before). The National Coach gave us a few pointers explaining the basic rules, and we then proceeded to shoot a round of International Trap with the USA National Team. I did well and showed potential and was told that I should consider training for Olympic Trap. Beginning in May of 2012 I began training seriously and set goals to represent the USA in international competition and the rest is history.
Core Power: How have your physical challenges affected or influenced your training?
Tyler Froeba: About seven years ago I had a full spinal fusion to correct my congenital scoliosis. My spine was fused from T4 to Sacrum with about thirty steel screws, two steel rods and a steel cage.
To be honest, competing at an Olympic level has been a challenge from the beginning. I’ve had to work with several coaches to learn the fundamentals of how the game is shot and what I need to do to have the correct technique to consistently break targets. Once I learned the fundamentals, I’ve had to look at my biomechanics and my limited range of motion and adapt my style the best I could to match a traditional shooting style. I’ve also taken a look at my equipment and made some changes to my guns to get them to fit better, including having the stocks custom made specifically to my unique measurements.
Core Power: How do you train for shooting events?
Tyler Froeba: I’ve learnt that in order to have the strength and endurance to compete in a full match without any pain, I need to be physically stronger than the average person in my sport. My workouts focus on helping me get a strong core and back to withstand the amount of daily shooting training that I need to do in order to be competitive.
I train for competitions by working three main aspects of my game. First I work on my mental game and mental toughness using sport psychology. Second, I follow a strength and conditioning plan to ensure that I am physically ready for a match (this includes cardio and full weight room workouts at least three days per week). Third, I spend a lot of time on the range shooting and drilling targets, usually five days per week depending on my current graduate school workload.
Core Power: What does your daily fitness routine and diet regimen look like?
Tyler Froeba: I break my fitness routine into weeks. Each week I have at least three days where I spend time in the weight room and three days where I run a cardio routine and a day off from the gym. On a daily basis I do pushups and abs work to keep a strong core. I try to eat as healthy as possible and of course I supplement my workouts with Core Power high protein shakes to lock in my hard earned gains!
Core Power: Can you give us a quick 15 minute workout that our fans can include in their daily routine?
Tyler Froeba: I’m not a huge fan of extended cardio, so one of my favorite cardio exercises is an interval workout that one of the strength and conditioning coaches at the Olympic training center wrote. Go flat out on the sprints, and then reduce your speed to a comfortable jog during recoveries. As the interval time gets shorter, your intensity should increase (i.e. speed and incline).
Core Power: Tell us about upcoming events and how our fans can participate.
Tyler Froeba: Each year there are three national matches that serve as selection matches for the United States National Team and the United States World Cup and World Championship Teams. CorePower fans can follow my career and progress on my Twitter page. I keep my Twitter updated with my latest results, pictures and videos, so see you all there!
Core Power: What charities do you support?
Tyler Froeba: I love to work with Athletes2Champions. They are a non-profit that helps underprivileged kids through sports. They began by putting a turf football field in Barrow, Alaska, and have branched into a number of other projects. You can check their website and Twitter page. I will also be doing work for the Scoliosis Research Society. They are dedicated to education, research and treatment of spinal deformities. I also support Wings for Life, they are dedicated to spinal cord injury research and treatment.
Core Power: Best of Luck Tyler, we’re all looking forward to seeing you at the next Olympic Games in Brazil!