A latecomer to the sport, Apurvi Chandela took up shooting at the age of 15 after witnessing Abhinav Bindra’s historic gold-winning feat at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. She climbed the ranks rapidly to become one of the most celebrated markswomen in India.
And the two-time individual ISSF World Cup gold medallist believes it’s the hard yards she put in at the training range and outside it, which facilitated her quick ascent rather than her raw talent.
“I think hard work cannot be replaced by anything in the world. So, it’s important to work hard no matter how talented you are or how privileged you are. You need to work hard to get somewhere,” she noted during an Instagram Live chat with Indian table tennis player Mudit Dani.
The 27-year-old also outlined the importance of channeling the toil with carefully-curated goals to avoid an unplanned grind.
“Keep a goal in mind and aim high. You can have short term goals, long term goals, even if you can accomplish them in your training. Just have attainable goals but also challenging at the same time,” she said.
The Olympian who represented India at Rio 2016, however, stressed that the approach needs to be balanced with proper rest to fend off exhaustion, both mental and physical.
“I think unwinding is as important as working hard. Even when I go from one competition to another, if I have some time, I usually take a break for a few days. So that I can refresh everything and just start again,” she said.
Evolving with experience
Apurvi Chandela also puts equal importance on building herself up both mentally and physically to excel in her discipline.
To fine-tune her physical conditioning, yoga has been the go-to regimen for the Jaipur-born shooter.
“Shooters require a lot of stability and for that, I think core strength is extremely important. Yoga has so many variations that you can do. There are so many exercises that focus on balancing which helps build stability,” she said.
She also pointed out mental training as an extremely important facet for her tournament preparations.
“You need to be in the right frame of mind to go and perform out there under pressure. You need to be calm.
“I usually do meditation. I also have a mental trainer who helps me out. I think I have evolved a lot over time with the kind of experiences that I have had.
“I think experience teaches you a lot. Whether you are on a high or a low, you get to learn so much.
“That’s what shaped my mind in a particular way now. And it’s always evolving,” she added.