Photo: Gloria to the left, then Lynne-Marie, Helen & Audrey (Ladies Team 1986 Nationals)
Mastermind by Sharyn Petersen
From QPN August 1984
I talked with Gloria Vause for our Mastermind column at the Callide Dawson Open (where she won the Ladies Aggregate, shooting 577 in Ladies Match; 367 in Ladies Air Pistol and 552 in Standard Pistol)
Gloria started shooting at around 21 or 22 years of age, with the Mt Gambier Club in South Australia. Gloria’s husband, Ivan, started shooting first and after a time just watching and minding young children, she decided to take it up too. It was John Tremelling who finally talked her into having a shot. In those days it was all 50mt shooting and she remembers that in her first match she had 18 hits out of 20: the next match she had 20 out of 20. John Tremelling was a big influence on her shooting in those early days – Gloria had a great respect for his shooting ability and listened carefully to what he told her.
Gloria first represented South Australia in 1964 at the National Championships in Melbourne, where she took first placing in Ladies Match.
In 1966 came her first Australian representation, travelling to Weisbaden in Germany for the World Championships. Gloria shot a score of 569 here and placed equal 5th.
She continued to shoot regularly and in 1970 came another Australia representation – this time to Phoenix Arizona, again for the World Shooting Championships. Along with Judy Trim and Enid Newton they won the Team Gold Medal for Ladies Standard Pistol. In the Ladies Match event at the same Championships Gloria again came 5th with a 575.
Through the years Gloria took out 9 consecutive Australian Titles 1964 to 1971 (followed by another 1 being 1974) and 15 South Australian State Titles.
Since 1974 Gloria has cut back on her shooting a great deal, going back to nursing for three years. Now she is back into shooting competitively again and this year travelled to Hobart to the Nationals. She shot 576 in Ladies Match, to take 5th placing.
Gloria is now living in the Rolleston area and is very keen to make the Queensland deal, Team for the 1985 Nationals.
Gloria agrees that standards of world shooting have risen, not so much in the winning scores, but in the ranks of the lower placings. Australian standards, however, have risen greatly – coaching, she feels, has contributed to this. Gloria remembers that in her early shooting days “you had to coast along yourself and learn what you could her and there, and when they said ‘follow through’. You just thought ‘Oh yes follow through’, but it didn’t really mean anything until you realized what holding, trigger control and follow through was”.
John Tremelling once told her to ‘watch the smoke’ after the shot has gone, to follow through, and Gloria likes to emphasize this to new shooters.
Along with John Tremelling, the National Team Training Squad has been the other big influence in her shooting career. Lanny Basham, in particular, with his lectures gave Gloria her main philosophy. His quote “if you write about something, the more you write about it, the more you read about it, the more you improve the probability that would happen”, has been taken by Gloria and “put in my mind…I have planted it there”. This is the thought she always comes back to.
Gloria feels that to coach a shooter successfully you must be with that person a lot of the time. A day here, a day there, is not enough – you must have someone with you most of the time to pick up the things you are doing.
She says that “Everyone seems to think that I am such a good shooter I ought to know all these things, but there are a lot of things where I could do with some help – especially in the grip line”. Gloria is still using the same Hammerli pistol she bought in 1966 after the World Championships in Weisbaden where she used a High Standard. She has the same gun, same grip (apart from a little plastic wood put here and there), the same type of shoes and the same bag still. She feels with some help with her grip (she states that she has coasted along so far) she can go ahead a little further.
When I asked Gloria if Australian representation was her main incentive she said “Yes”, and added “I am looking forward to the day when the Olympic Games or World Shooting Championships, are held in Australia – that’s where I really want to compete”. She enjoys competing overseas, but does no enjoy flying. Knowing she has to go ‘over the water’ does not put her in the right frame of mind. She is looking to 1992, and hopefully she says, she will not be too old!
Gloria’s training program at the moment is nil. She admits to being lazy, and being by herself now (unlike Mt Gambier) finds less inclination to practice. She feels however, that if you are representing your State or country you must practice every day. You must do this so that the pistol becomes an extension of your arm – complete familiarity is necessary. When there is a big shoot coming up Gloria will start 6-8 weeks before, shooting a match every day. This match is usually Ladies Match, which she enjoys more than Air Pistol. She never practices Standard Pistol. Gloria’s only other sporting interest is tennis – a weekly game keeps her active.
I asked Gloria what mental preparation took place before she went on the line. She starts with deep breathing exercises, outside in the fresh air, before going to the line. She also has a small scribble pad and whilst sitting and waiting writes 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10….(or perhaps ten, ten, ten…) writing it over and over again. She does this to bring back that Lanny Basham philosophy “the more you write about it, the more you read about it, the more you improve the probability its going to happen”. On the line she speaks to herself….” Planting a seed inside my brain” with 10, 10, 10, 10…smoke: squeeze. She has found that this method works for her and keeps to that.
Gloria isn’t one to talk a lot to those around her during a match, but she doesn’t switch off completely. If those around her are not talkers she will not talk, but a slight break, to relieve the silence and take off her ear muffs, does her concentration no harm.
She relates that the World Championships are very tense, with so many people behind watching, and many cameras. In this environment you must psych yourself up to your sights and your target, you must try to forget where you are. She tries to channel her thoughts and concentration into a tunnel to the target, and work through the match. At a big Championship with people watching, to her they become nothing more than spots. At the same time, however in being almost oblivious those behind her, Gloria does like to see a familiar face. This familiar face whether being a coach or friend gives her some moral support.
Gloria, whilst shooting as an Australian representative is aware only of shooting for Australia, never for herself. Wearing the Team jacket with Australia emblazoned on the back has always made her hold her head higher.
She remembers in particular, a training session in Switzerland. On the day prior to the match she was shooting dueling (Rapid Fire Stage), saying to herself “tip sight, tip sight’ watching the front sight so as to see a small hair there, just squeezing and shooting. Many were watching and she suddenly realized they were watching her – she had scored 200/200 to that point. She was pleased only in that people would know that it was an Australian doing this.
It gives Gloria a ‘terrific feeling’ to represent Australia. She remembers clearly the pride she felt receiving the Gold Medal for the 1970 World Championships. She had only one disappointment during this ceremony – the flags were raised behind the winners and the Australians were unable to see their flag going up first.
At a National Championship Gloria never thinks of the medal to be won…only of that must be done. She tries to put into practice what she has learnt over the years – to perfect it all. Sometimes, she says, when you finish you think “if only I had done that, or if only someone told me that”, but it was the best that could be done on the day, so it must be used as a lesson.
Gloria feels that some shooters don’t help other shooters enough, and agrees that the knowledge top shooters have should be more willingly imparted to others.
From watching and listening to Gloria at the Callide Dawson Open I can see that she is one top shooter who is only too happy to help others.
Queensland is certainly going to benefit from the enthusiasm, skill and knowledge. Our ladies Match Team for ’85 Nationals will be No 1 too! (and we did with Lynne Freh; Helen Brown; Jan Thomas & Gloria)
Her National Championships updated:
Gloria won Ladies Match (Womens Sport Pistol – 25m Pistol) event from 1964 through to 1971 then again in 1974, 1989 and 1992.
Her record of 580 stood for 12 years when it was beaten by Julie Aitken with a 582.
A true lady of our sport.