FieldandClays.com –-(Ammoland.com)- When it comes to clay target shooting, it has long been known that a major part of any shooter’s success is derived from his mental capabilities.
Even Yogi Berra recognized this fact when he stated that baseball is 90% mental and 50% physical. Yogi may have over-estimated the physical portion a bit, but his point is well taken. Much of our success in shooting depends on how well we handle the mental aspect of the game.
The mental aspect of the game begins with concentration. When I say “concentration“, I refer to the ability of the mind to pay full attention to the task at hand, which in our case as shooters, is to do what is necessary mentally to break the next target or the next pair of targets. If our mind is not out in the field with our eyes as they look for the target to appear, the game can be much more difficult. Once we have mastered the fundamentals of the game and once we always have good control of the gun as we approach our targets, the only thing that could possibly make us miss a target is letting our mind wander from the task at hand.
If we try to work our mind too hard, like asking it to concentrate for an hour while we shoot the next 100 target event, it will fail us every time. You can’t concentrate for an hour straight on one subject, no matter how much fun it is. But if we ask the mind to work for us for just 3 or 4 seconds at a time, and then let it relax and think about anything that comes to mind, it will work for us hundreds of times consecutively without fail.
But how do we do this?
I don’t want you to think there is some secret mind formula that will automatically turn you into the picture of concentration and perfection when it comes to shooting, but there is something you can practice to get your concentration up for each and every shot. As I said, it will take PRACTICE, but it will lead to better concentration, and with better concentration, you will never miss a target because your mind was off on a coffee break.
By applying this simple method of concentration, you won’t have the normal distractions that some shooters have. I’m speaking of the shooter who misses targets because there is someone behind them talking, or the losses that are attributed to cars driving by, planes landing in front of you, or target boxes blowing across the field. These distractions have nothing to do with your ability to break the next target unless you allow them to be distractions. With good concentration, the distractions that used to cost you targets will disappear.
When it is your turn to shoot and you have mounted your gun, prior to calling for the target you must trigger the concentration so that you are only focused on the task at hand, which is to first, see the target. At this point, you say something to yourself, something like, “see the target”, in order to trigger your concentration on the task at hand. If you practice this, you will become so good at avoiding distractions, that they will no longer be distractions. But as I said, it will take a little practice on your part, just like any other part of the game. Trigger your concentration when you practice, when you participate in tournaments, and when you shoot the league. Do it every time you mount the gun and soon, you will find that you never drop a target because your mind was wandering. You will also find that you can develop the mental toughness to get you through those periods when your nerves are on edge. Your confidence will go up because when you are able to concentrate totally on the task at hand, you know you can break any target thrown.
Once you have mastered the ability to concentrate at will, not only will your distractions be a thing of the past, but you will also eliminate the need for excuses for missing targets. Remember, all good shooters talk to themselves. If you don’t let your lips move, no one will ever know.
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