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Thread: Shooting without emotion

  1. #1

    Shooting without emotion

    For many years, I have been primarily focused on developing my technical shooting skills. Lately, I have been giving substantial thought to how to extract the highest percentage of my technical shooting ability, consistently and on demand.

    This has been a circuitous process, but what seemed abundantly clear, is that trying harder almost always results in worse performance. I have struggled with what “not trying hard” means, and for now have settled on “shooting without emotion,” meaning shooting with no attachment to any outcome or external influence. Of course this is easier said than done. Steel Challenge seems like a great venue to practice this because it is so intense.

    What are other folks doing on the mental side to on demand, extract the highest percentage of whatever your technical shooting level is?
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  2. #2
    Needs More Dryfire ASH556's Avatar
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    Lately as I'm working my skillset back up I'm focusing on doing the work at hand, on a very micro level. As you've posted before, some thing like, "shoot the shot you're shooting, not the shot you already took." Certainly as we build skill certain things become automatic like draws and reloads. Sights and trigger still seem to be the area to make up the most ground. See what you need to see, do what you need to do...but right now. Microfocus on exactly what you need to do right now and let absolutely everything else go. That's how I've seen my greatest technical performance gains lately (4.79 clean FAST, 99-3X 25 freestyle B8).
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  3. #3
    Member Alpha Sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GJM View Post
    For many years, I have been primarily focused on developing my technical shooting skills. Lately, I have been giving substantial thought to how to extract the highest percentage of my technical shooting ability, consistently and on demand.

    This has been a circuitous process, but what seemed abundantly clear, is that trying harder almost always results in worse performance. I have struggled with what “not trying hard” means, and for now have settled on “shooting without emotion,” meaning shooting with no attachment to any outcome or external influence. Of course this is easier said than done. Steel Challenge seems like a great venue to practice this because it is so intense.

    What are other folks doing on the mental side to on demand, extract the highest percentage of whatever your technical shooting level is?
    Focusing on the process, not the outcome (or shooting without emotion as you put it) is a HUGE component of what makes a successful clay shooter (one of the things I enjoy). Because there is no visual connection between the gun and the target when shooting a shotgun at a flying object, focusing on the process is the only way to succeed consistently in clay shooting.

    One of the keys to being in the moment and focusing on the process instead of the outcome is to manage your ego (as in emotional state). John Shima (one of skeet's greats) is sort of a Zen philosopher on this topic and I enjoy reading his articles on the subject in the NSCA/NSSA member's magazine. I need to pick up his books to dig deeper into his ideas.

    I'm a firm believer in that the mental aspect of performance transcends sports and disciplines within a sport.

  4. #4
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    I am not a great shooter by any means but beside trying to be a better one I also race cars.
    Meditation, meditation and once again meditation. It's been around for centuries and it's what not trying too hard is a part of.
    There is a pretty decent book by George Mumford - Mindful Atlete - Secrets to pure performance - it touches on all of this.



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  5. #5
    Site Supporter Clusterfrack's Avatar
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    Good topic, @GJM. I have a few thoughts about this.

    1. Lanny Bassham has this all figured out. Get his book and follow the instructions. https://www.amazon.com/Winning-Mind-.../dp/1934324264

    2. Steve Anderson's podcast focuses primarily on the mental game, and is a good source for the Lanny Bassham approach. I hate Van Halen, and have my mental game pretty much squared away right now so I don't listen to his podcast anymore.

    3. We all want to be better than we are. The challenge is trusting and accepting our current level of skill when we are competing. The way to get better is practice. Hard work will yield results, but we have to be patient. For me, there's maybe a 3 to 6 month lag between working on something, and seeing results in competition.

    4. I've done some of my best shooting under pressure, so for me emotion isn't necessarily a bad thing. But we have to set it aside on "make ready."
    Last edited by Clusterfrack; 02-08-2019 at 05:25 PM.
    "BJJ is sort of like nonconsensual yoga"
    "You don’t really graduate from certain problems or certain things… like you always have to work on trigger control and pulling the trigger straight. " --Ben Stoeger 1/24/2018

  6. #6
    Site Supporter Peally's Avatar
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    Trying hard and shooting worse is a classic issue. My solution is to not give a fuck about the end goal and just shoot as "professionally" as I can when I'm on the line. I worry about the scores after the match is done.

    The scores will reflect your skill regardless of how bad you want ____. If you didn't put in the time months earlier you're not gonna beat @Les Pepperoni's Portillo's fueled ass at a match. Accepting the fact that matches simply reflect previous training is a hard one for anyone to initially swallow, and thus you get guys going HNNNNNNNNG and attempting to shoot above their physical capabilities to comical effect.
    Last edited by Peally; 02-08-2019 at 05:27 PM.
    Semper Gumby, Always Flexible

  7. #7
    I am not looking to shoot better than my current ability in a match, and I don’t believe in rising to the occasion as a match strategy.

    My goal is to be able to shoot as high a percentage as possible of my current ability in a match setting, and I believe the key to that is mental, which right now is to remove emotion from my match shooting.

    You may laugh, but I even follow that one attempt/on demand approach in my PF posts, where I consider editing the equivalent of a mulligan.
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  8. #8
    Site Supporter Clusterfrack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GJM View Post
    I am not looking to shoot better than my current ability in a match, and I don’t believe in rising to the occasion as a match strategy.

    My goal is to be able to shoot as high a percentage as possible of my current ability in a match setting, and I believe the key to that is mental, which right now is to remove emotion from my match shooting.

    You may laugh, but I even follow that one attempt/on demand approach in my PF posts, where I consider editing the equivalent of a mulligan.
    You're right. I'm laughing.
    "BJJ is sort of like nonconsensual yoga"
    "You don’t really graduate from certain problems or certain things… like you always have to work on trigger control and pulling the trigger straight. " --Ben Stoeger 1/24/2018

  9. #9
    Foppish Dandy Darth_Uno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peally View Post
    Trying hard and shooting worse is a classic issue.
    Absolutely. I have an essential tremor, all the time. It’s worse when I concentrate. At the average range, I’m good. I’m not competing against anyone.

    Confidence is key. I took Suarez’ TASI course with Randy Harris and drilled a hostage target between the eyes (the hostage, not the bad guy). Randy commented and I said “he looked shady.” Got a laugh but the fact is I missed, no way to sugarcoat it. We also did a drill where I nailed a steel target about 15 times in a row, because I was 100% sure I could hit it.

  10. #10
    Site Supporter 1911Nut's Avatar
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    My biggest battle with my shooting has been to detach my emotions and focus exclusively on the process instead of the outcome.

    As mentioned earlier in this thread, Lanny Bassham strongly advocates this approach.

    An somewhere, several years ago, I read a post on the internet authored by Brian Enos that said something along the order of "attend and participate in a shooting match and during that match, do your very best to SIMPLY NOT CARE about how you perform . . . . . you might be surprised"

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