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More GSSF TIPS #5-35

Discussion in 'GSSF' started by BCarver, Apr 29, 2003.

  1. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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    Host of Topic Question #5: Debbie Nosse

    Topic:□_____ At major match's my adreniline pump kicks in and my fine motor control is gone. I have tried deep breathing, trying to get into the zone, tricking my mind that it's practice, ask Matt Burkett, read Brian's book, monoter my pulse which hops ten when I hear the first shot go off, etc. I am amazed how hard it is to hit the center circles at twentyfive yards after hearing the buzzer goes off so I practiced just that, even. Some call it match jitters, some hyped, excited, but we all get it.

    Debbie's Response:

    Match jitters are part of every athlete’s performance. To enjoy an optimal performance, you need to have the proper equipment, the proper technique, and the proper mental focus. The purpose of this tip is to help explore the various techniques used to develop a good mental focus.

    In any performance-based sport, the participants eventually engage in exploring their mental game. In researching this tip, I found references to vision and focus in newsgroups for billiards, weightlifting, golf, tennis, and archery as well as firearms of every genre. The martial arts newsgroups offer particularly interesting information. I myself have practiced Tai Chi as an adjunct to shooting. A friend practices Tae Kwon Do to build strength. Both provide an opportunity to work on the mental game. I offer these avenues so you can do further research on your own. Just like in practicing firearm fundamentals, you’re only limited by the amount of practice time you spend on improving yourself.

    One beginning exercise for focus I use is to face the berm without a target in place and without ammunition. Force yourself to watch the front sight as you hold it in perfect alignment and pull the trigger. This is commonly known as dry firing and without variations or a bigger plan in mind, can quickly turn into a dull boring affair. Your task is to challenge yourself so this doesn’t happen. The way you accomplish this is to concentrate on only the sight and only the sensation of holding the gun and feeling the smooth trigger squeeze. You are trying to clear your mind of all conscious thoughts while you are shooting. This is more an internalization rather than a mechanical exercise. Repeat this a few times. If you feel yourself losing your focus, stop for a brief time to gather your thoughts and start again.

    The next thing to add to the exercise is distractions. I have seen and used everything from loud music, others shooting on the line, as well as shouting and/or quietly speaking to the shooter. Your shooting buddies can probably dream up more variations on this theme. You can add live fire when you can master your focus as well as quiet your mind regardless of what is going on around you. When you do go to live fire, aim and focus on the front sight. Forget about recoil. Forget about the berm. (Remember we are doing this without a target.) Focus on the front sight and watch it rise through the recoil of the shot. Remember to clear your mind of all conscious thoughts while you are shooting.

    Remember these exercises and strive to use them when you add the target to your practice routine. If you are timer-shy, practice while using a timer or some other start signal, preferably a loud one! Practice using both your shooting fundamentals and your mental exercises together, but don’t hesitate to go back to dry firing.

    These exercises are work for your conscious focus. Believe it or not, your mind’s subconscious needs some work, too. If you visualize a stressful incident, your body will react physically to the incident just as if it were real. For some people, the match in itself can be very stressful. How many times have you driven to the match, worried about how you will do, if your buddies will do better, or how many plates you will leave standing? I’m here to tell you that if you spend your idle time visualizing doing well, your performance will follow. Visualize yourself shooting a perfect match, walking to the 25 yard target and having all of the holes inside the X ring. Imagine yourself being congratulated by the RO and your fellow shooters for such an awesome performance. You should learn to expect an exemplary performance, and that you can and will achieve the same.

    I had someone on the line behind me once ask how I could shoot while someone was taking my picture. When I am totally focused I don’t even know the range officer is there, much less the spectators. I practice using the same routine I use in the match. I quiet my mind, get my focus and inner calm, give a nod if required. After the beep my focus is on a perfect sight picture and a straight-back trigger pull. For plates, this is especially important. Seeing that half-moon of white plate above the perfect sight picture, practicing just like shooting at the berm. You’ll get them all in record time, and have a great time driving home with your memories of the match.

    Posted by Bobby Carver for Debbie Nosse
     
  2. BCarver

    BCarver CLM Millennium Member

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  3. jay.shebuski

    jay.shebuski

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    ...I think a usefull technique that Debbie suggested to me, which I now use, is the "double hearing protection". With ear plugs in and muffs on I find it much easier to "white out" everything other than the moment of shooting. I can still hear the "beep", but there are no distractors....

    ...you know..Jerry cat calling in the back ground:)..weapons report, plate sounds...just me and the moment.

    I had the same problem when they opened the doors on the C-130 before a jump...the noise bothered me. When I put ear plugs in, everything was fine..until after I checked my canopy..and realized I was over the trees or the runway.....

    ...I also don't keep score @ matches; I just shoot.

    I'm there for those moments of just me and my pistol..everything moving in slow motion..nothing else matters.

    Jay
     
  4. Rusty Phillips

    Rusty Phillips Moderator Millennium Member

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    debbie - thanks for your excellent post