COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Army News Service, May 17, 2013) -- One Warrior Games athlete has only been shooting competitively for five months and has already earned gold in the offhand air rifle competition.
Maj. John V. Arbino said the biggest challenge he had to overcome in training was controlling his impatience.
"When I started, I'd just load the pellet and take the shot" without really thinking about technique, he admitted.
He learned pretty quickly from his coach that the Arbino way of shooting doesn't fly in competitive shooting.
"Once I understood you need to slow down and control your pulse and breathing, that's when it all came together for me," he said. "Pulling the trigger is the easy part."
Still, gold in just five months might make anyone wonder if a lot of it is just natural talent.
He's is not so sure of that, he said after pondering a response.
"I think it's more about following good coaching advice," he finally said.
"When I take the shot, there's a whole team behind me taking that shot," he explained, referring to the coaching staff and his 12 Army teammates who he relies on for support and encouragement.
Arbino and his fellow athletes have developed strong bonds of friendship. But that could be said for members of just about any athletic team anywhere.
But Arbino's team is unique from other athletic teams. All the members of his team are wounded, ill or injured, and are competing now in the 2013 Warrior Games.
They are all helping one another as well, not only to succeed in shooting, he said, but also to succeed in the recovery process.
Arbino's own illness is multiple sclerosis, diagnosed in 2009. The illness resulted in reduced mobility for him, among other things, so he gets around now in a wheelchair.
He credits support from his family and his Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Belvoir with navigating through the mental and physical challenges that go along with the illness.
As for future plans, the Cincinnati, Ohio native -- who now makes his home in Williamsburg, Va. -- wants to continue to promote the use of adaptive sports in physical and mental rehabilitation after seeing the many positive benefits they've had for him and his teammates.
With a lot of training -- and a little patience -- he hopes to earn more gold in next year's Warrior Games.