IMAGE Seguin Flavor Good attitude keeps Bassham's aim true By JANIS TURK Staff Writer "All I wanted to do was shoot good," said Troy Bassham, a 16- year-old winner of the Intermediate Junior level competition of the National Air Rifle Championship. The easy-going new rifle champ probably picked up that idea from his parertts, and his talent with an air rifle from his father. A good attitude and good luck are two important things to the family of Lenny and Helen Bassham. This ranch family lives off Elm Creek Road in Seguin where they have plenty of room to enjoy the things in life that are important to them: their family, their horses and their guns. Lanny Bassham holds a gold medal from Olympic competition with an air rifle and his sons have dreams of doing the same. Twin sons, Troy and Brian Bassham, hold a good deal of respect for their father and his skill, and plan to absorb as much as they can from what he has to teach them about the sport they love so much. "Shooting used to be kind of a hobby because Brian and I were so busy with soccer, but now it's more like following in Dad's footsteps. It'd be kind'a neat to win a gold medal," said Troy. "It'd be a thrill just to go to the Olympics — just to be there." "I've been around good shooters all my life and it really is great. I've made a goal for myself now to make the Olympic team," said Troy.' Lanny Bassham works full-time with shooters. He is always on call for his two students who have come from Korea and from India for the sole purpose of training under one of the world's finest air rifle shooters. "I've been teaching other shooters for 10 years, and this is the only private shooting school in the world," explained Lanny. Bassham is the only person in the world to have won 15 medals in the world championships. Troy and Brian have been involved in shooting for about two years. "Brian and me used to want to shoot so bad, but Dad would say, 'Not 'til you're big enough to touch the top of my hat.' Our sister, Heather, wants to start shooting. She's 11 and she'll start in a couple years. It just depends on how strong she is. Right now I guess she's too small and couldn't hold a rifle up," said Troy. Troy will have to keep and eye on her when she does learn to shoot. For one thing, he admits to learning out at the national competition that, "There's a bunch of girls out there who could beat me." Troy and Brian had to shoot at qualifying matches in Stephenville and in Austin before they could compete in national competition. Both brothers prepared for the competitions with much work beforehand. "Me and Brian's normal routine is like this: When school starts we normally play soccer so we only shoot two or three times a week. We don't train as hard or concentrate as much on shooting. But when soccer training is over we train four or five days a week, depending on how much homework we have. When school is out we shoot every morning. Then, once a week, we do a simulation of the full match — just like in competition," said Troy. "We try to train as much as possible. We've been shooting more and more. We'll probably get more into shooting than soccer in the future. In a couple of years I suppose Dad will start training us just like he does his students. The great thing about Dad is that he never, ever pushed us. He just encourages us in the things we want to do." Troy had to speak for his brother because Brian was recovering from a nose operation. Troy became ill during national competition and therefore did not perform at his usual level, but his brother attests to the fact that Brian is a very' good shooter and a consistent shooter as well. Lanny Bassham doesn't compete these days due to a problem with his eye, but Troy says his dad is happy to sit back and watch his family and his students. His students, he says, are like part of his family. Lanny competed in the 1972 Olympics. In the next Olympic competition he went back to win silver and gold medals. At the 1972 Olympic competition, Bassham learned the importance of controlling his mental attitude. "Dad knew if he could control his mind he'd have the advantage there. So, he did intensive study of how the mind thinks and works — what controls it. He developed his own positive thinking system to control his attitude and studied it," said Troy. Now Lanny teaches others about how that works. This is what Bassham refers to as Mental Management. "He's the only person in the world who teaches Mental Management. A positive attitude makes all the difference, and he teaches that not only with athletes, but with businessmen. I'm finding out how hard it can be to maintain a positive mental attitude, but it is important. If you have a goal THE BASSHAM family of Seguin enjoys their ranch home off Elm Creek Road. (Clockwise from left) Helen Bassham (standing), Heather, Lanny, Brian (standing) and Troy all have interests of their own, although air rifle competition is one thing that is a large part of all of their lives. (Staff photo by Steve Boehm). and you picture it and you go for it, then you'll achieve it," explained Troy. "I don't want to see bad shooters. The shots stick like a picture in my mind. That's bad. It's easier to shoot a bad shot that way," he explained. Lanny and Helen are proud of their children and proud of Troy's display of skill at the national competition. "I expected him to shoot well, but not to win national competition his first time out! He made the highest score in his life at the biggest pressure time in his life. That showed me a lot," said Lanny. "I didn't know I could shoot that good in a match like that. It's a nice feeling to know you can accomplish things,"said Troy. The boys also enjoy tennis and track along with soccer and shooting. Their parents are busy with their involvement with Amway, and Heather is involved with school and summertime fun. Brian is taking care to recover properly at home while his fraternal twin is anxious for him to get out of bed. "With him sick I don't have anyone to do stuff with and kick the ball around. I can't do the things we usually do together," said Troy. One of the things Troy and Brian would most like to do together is to go to the Olympics in 1992. '"92 is the year to make the team. Whether or not I make the '88 team I'll go to watch. I'll learn a lot from the other shooters. It'll be a long, hard road to go (to make the Olympic team)," said Troy, "but that is my goal."