January 22, 2022 at 10:50 am #1018Garrett GeeParticipant
Mental game is something I’ve struggled with. I’d be shooting a great match and then the wheels fall off on two or three stages in a row. Towards the end of last year I kind of changed my approach. This is what I came up with.
I break it down into three sections. Pre stage, on the clock, post stage.
1) Pre Stage is all about making sure your focus is where it needs to be when the clock starts. I have a pre stage checklist. I run down this list on every stage. Usually before I even leave the previous stage. This allows me to focus solely on executing the game plan once the clock starts.
Read the wind
Data written down.
Watch the wins through spotter/binos
Game plan confirmed. I mentally run through the stage as many times as I can prior to the clock starting.
2) On the clock. This is all about executing the game plan and making adjustments when needed.
3) Post stage. The biggest mistake I see in post stage is people getting upset at how they shot, then taking into and through the pre stage of the next stage. The stage is done and over, there is nothing you can do about it. I also have a check list here. It allows me to put focus on a task rather than a result.
Quickly analyze performance
Remove data card from QB sleeve
Write score down
Turn the page
Switching my thought process from results to task oriented over the years has been an up hill battle. It has slowly paid dividends. The last item on my stage checklist has been the most important. Turn the page, once the page is turned to the next stage in the match book, then last stage is irrelevant. The next stage has already begun. Shooters, especially new ones get wrapped up in the results of the stage and the match that they never give themselves an opportunity to improve.January 23, 2022 at 2:10 pm #1043MercracingParticipant
That’s a great way to look at it! I agree(though I’m not great at it either) that turning the page after a stage is needed. Don’t dwell on what’s done, and don’t let it affect what’s coming up.January 23, 2022 at 7:36 pm #1048Garrett GeeParticipant
I sat down and really analyzed why I’d be having a great match and then have one bad stage that led to another. It was the mental game.
It also helped to listen to Francis and Chad’s interview on TSM.January 24, 2022 at 3:29 pm #1064Ken WheelerKeymaster
Speaking of, here’s the link to Chad and Francis on Youtube: https://youtu.be/rML2tGQVUX4January 30, 2022 at 7:08 pm #1111David ZaffkeParticipant
This may get a little long winded, but this is what helps/works for me. The mental game for me starts before I have to shoot that day. First, I want to make sure my gear is working and the best I can afford. As in shooting small groups constantly. Don’t get caught up in getting super low S.D.s. Let the target tell you what works. If I get S.D.s of 15 and less and it shoots small groups constantly, you found your load. Next is knowledge, you need to be able to apply what you know in shooting and reloading out in the field. Continue to go out and test.
To me, equipment and knowledge have to go up equally.
In the days leading up to a match, I’ll drink more liquids and try to eat a little better. Lol. The day before a match, I’ll go to the range and shoot 3 shots to make sure it’s doing what it should. Now I have no excuses for my gear. That part of the mental game can be put away.
When it comes to match day. I’ll get the come ups for the stages. I don’t always read the stage description, I tend to hear people read them and then they start getting in their own head. Whatever the stage is, is what it is. Everyone has to shoot it. Don’t over think it. I shoot every stage as it’s own match. Sometime every round. When it comes to actually shooting the stage, I’ll listen and read along with the person reading off the description. If I have questions I ask them then. I’ll find the targets, see what the wind is doing, get a game plan of how I’m going to approach this stage. Some stages are straight forward while others are not. I’ll watch how other shooters in front of me are approaching the stage. This is when I’m really watching. The does and don’ts.
When it is my time, I try and keep it simple. Relax, loaded mag, bag, dope on scope, see the target / targets, have wristband for come ups. The last thing I do is wind call. I have a good idea already since I was watching a few previous shooters. Now when shooting, I try and build the most stable position I can. Next I get my N.P.A. (Sometimes this is all happening at the once.) Squeeze the trigger slowly till it goes off and I’m watching trace my impacts. I continue watching the wind conditions. I’m listening to the wind with my ear pro. Trying to run a smooth stage. I’d rather go 8 for 8 then 6 for 10 on a stage. I hear people say they have to tell themself to blink or breath, I encourage you to learn to make this a natural action. If your telling yourself to do that you are missing other things during the shoot.
After the shoot, I make gun safe, get brass, and think about how the stage went. If I shoot well, I try to remember what I all did. If not so good, I’ll ask myself if it was something I did, did I get a bad wind condition, or did I just blow it? Be honest with yourself. After I figure that out, that stage is gone and out my head. There is nothing I can do about it anymore. I just let it go.
This is when trying to make each stage it’s own match helps. At least it does for me. This is an brief overview of what I do before, during, and after a shoot. When it comes down to it, you just need to figure out what works for you. And one of the most important things. Have fun.
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