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The Team Behind the Team: Shooting Coach

Sun, Feb  14, 2010 - By Viktoria Franke

After the bulk of the winter is behind us you know the team. You know the Burke's, Teela's or Johnson's of the biathlon world. But their way to the Olympics 2010 was paved by other people as well. This series will introduce you to the "team behind the team". Those people, you seldom see on TV and never in the result lists. But their work is crucial for the success in Vancouver.

Today's feature: Shooting Coach Armin Auchentaller

So you learned more about head coach Per Nilsson recently. In spring 2009 Nilsson welcomed Italian coach Armin Auchentaller to work together with him on making the current team the best US Biathlon Team ever.

US Biathlon shooting coach Armin Auchentaller

After being a biathlete himself on the European Cup level, Auchentaller soon started working as a coach. “I was member of the Italian National Team from 1988 until 1993 and after finishing my career I ended up coaching athletes in our local skiing club in Antholz until 1996”, Auchentaller remembers now. Next to that he soon took over the state team of South Tyrol before heading the Italian Junior National Team for two years until 1998. After being responsible for the World Cup women of Italy in 1999 Auchentaller needed a short break. Throughout his early career as coach he wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do:

“I didn’t know if I was still willing to work in sports. I tried several things; I even worked as sales representative for construction products. But a good friend of mine needed some help coaching his athletes so in the end I always ended up coaching again”, he smiles now.

For five years he again took care of his local talents back home in Antholz before jobs at a sport school and with the state team brought him back in the World Cup. For two years until spring 2009 Auchentaller was responsible for the Italian National Team which posted quite some good results under his guidance. Auchentaller who lives with his wife and their two daughters only nine kilometers away from the World Cup biathlon stadium of Antholz put a lot of work in the Italian team which paid off after his athletes posted several podiums.

That also caught the attention of the US Team so after some problems with the national federation in Italy Auchentaller was welcomed warmly within the US Team. “I really like working with the athletes and Per. The two of us have a great system and always make the training decisions together, analyze the shooting and skiing and set up the training plan” While Nilsson focuses more on the skiing part of the training, Auchentaller is responsible for everything that concerns shooting. Ammunitions tests as well as the shooting technique – he deals with it.

“I think in the Olympic season we made a big step forward all together. The shooting has gotten much better and solid.  I never thought that we would post that good results so fast but of course it is great to be a part of that now. I am really looking forward to the Games and I am excited to see what we can achieve there!”