Ken Roxburgh is certainly no stranger to competitive National Match Highpower. From shooting to coaching and consulting, he has been in this game for a little under 40-years. As Head Coach for Team Remington, “Rox” has coached this team to almost countless victories across the country – all the while offering free “Advanced Highpower” clinics to any students that are willing to listen from coast to coast. His clinics, which emphasize the fundamentals of marksmanship – have become known as the foundation of many accomplished competitors throughout the years. Given enough time, and Rox being present at a match – you’ll hear many of such shooters shout praise to him from a dozen or so firing points away with phrases like “HARD ON THE SIGHTS!”, “THREE IS THE KEY!” or other things you’ll have to take a clinic to truly understand…
1: What was your experience like when starting out in high-power?
I started out shooting competition in boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. (Recruit Rifle and Pistol Competition, now defunct) and later participated in the Intramural Shooting Programs at my first duty station. Later, I participated in the Marine Corps Competition in Arms Programs (CIAP) and served as a Competitor / Instructor assigned to the U.S. Marine Corps Rifle Team on and off during four decades.
2: Who were your mentors? What do you remember most from these experiences and what still rings true?
I never really had any mentors with regard to marksmanship training. Back then, it was pretty much every Marine’s responsibility to learn from various classes, demonstrations and training they were exposed to at different levels of competition.
3: Can you describe some of your most memorable milestones or breakthroughs? Both starting out… and along the journey to competing nationally.
Back then, Marines assigned to the Marine Corps Rifle Team were the only Marines authorized by Marine Corps Order to participate, compete and represent the U.S. Marine Corps at the National levels of rifle or pistol competition at Camp Perry. There were two separate Marine Corps teams, active and reserve but, very closely associated. No individual Marines or Marine teams from Posts and Stations were authorized to compete… Even individual Marines in a leave status were prohibited. Marine Corps leadership was very cognizant of all Marines present at any and every championship. So, being selected to compete with the “All-Marine Team” or what was referred to as the “Big Team” was highly significant. Of course becoming distinguished with the rifle and pistol were my most memorable milestones.
4: Describe your routine to help you stay on top of your best game? Off-Season, Mid-Season and ramping up to bigger matches?
Being physically fit is the first requirement. Cardio vascular fitness and strength training give any shooter a competitive edge.
Practice or training is where the shooters learn to either properly apply the fundamentals of marksmanship OR improperly attempt to hone their shooting skills.
Contrary to popular belief, there are basic fundamentals that simply must be achieved, adhered to and correctly applied in order for a shooter to be successful and achieve their individual shooting potential.
The very most effective and important training method…
Unlike the fundamentals of marksmanship, mental and physical conditioning can be widely varied amongst shooters. The first thing a shooter must have before he can develop an effective mental and physical conditioning program is a reasonable level of overall knowledge of fundamental marksmanship.
Knowledge of the fundamentals correctly applied, will produce positive results and will give the shooter the self confidence he will need to tailor his program to his individual goals and personal desires with regard to the amount of time he has coupled with his overall desire to compete or simply participate.
Not every shooter is really trying to compete against others but, are simply trying to do the best they can and they happily accept the outcome.
5: How important is technique, mental program, and equipment in influencing your performance?
I think that technique and a mental program are basically the shooter’s overall plan they use to train and compete.
It can cover a broad spectrum concerning overall lifestyle, financial circumstance, training program, competition mindset, personal and professional goals.
A shooters “technique or program” can also be narrowed down to small performance keys or key thoughts used to accomplish or properly execute different techniques of fire, assumption of positions and / or develop effective routines with regard to shooting performance.
What is their proportional influence?
I think they are difficult to accurately measure. Most everything we do in life is a result of some type of mental process. Different training techniques can result in reflex actions and subconscious effort or performance. An example would be dry firing to where trigger control is developed to a reflex action as part of a subconscious thought process.
6: What was the toughest match you’ve ever competed in where you held it together? What was that like?
As all High-Power, XTC (across-the-course), Long Range and Palma matches are established courses of fire, I never really considered one championship “tougher” than another. Of course a National Match is more important than a State or Regional Championship for obvious reasons however; I always try to focus on my own individual shooting or coaching performance and try not to think about the level of competition, importance of the match or the final outcome or results.
The days where I was able to stay focused on my plan to properly execute the fundamentals, maintain a positive attitude, stay focused on my shooting or coaching routine and make the fewest mistakes or mental errors have been the most rewarding for me…These are the days that regardless of score, I felt the most personal satisfaction and usually achieved the most success.
7: If you had to choose only ONE answer, what has helped you improve the most towards your goals in high-power?
8: Why do you continue to stay involved with high-power?
It started out as a collateral duty as a Marine. Then it became a personal and professional goal linked to competitive drive. Later in life, it became a passion and a livelihood.
9: Of all the students you have taught, quite a few have gone on to some very impressive wins. What is similar amongst these shooters? What is a champion high-power shooter made of?
I have trained literally thousands of marksmen… Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Law Enforcement and Civilians… Juniors and Adults… Men and Women… Girls and Boys… Shooters of every race and ethnicity… Shooters from foreign countries.
Many shooters that I have trained initially have gone on to become champions at the very highest levels of competition. Their success was a result of their individual knowledge and ability to apply the proper fundamentals of marksmanship under the rigors of competition in stressful competitive environments.
As far as these great champions or simply average shooters being linked to me in any true sense; I was simply the person that communicated proper marksmanship knowledge to them…a student / teacher relationship…That’s all.
They are the ones responsible for their success or failure.
They were the ones committed to their personal development and who developed the attention to detail therefore, the attention to performance / duty necessary to succeed and ultimately win.
Of the scores of the very top shooters I have either trained, coached or been associated with, they have all been very different in their physical and physiological make-up. Champion shooters come in all shapes and sizes, have different lifestyles, personalities and character. Some are quiet, humble and reserved whiles others are loud, arrogant and brash. Shooters at any level are simply people and we are all very different.
10: What would you like to talk about that wasn’t covered in the previous questions?
Good luck and good shooting!