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On The Firing Line


Working Hard & Pushing The Envelope – Part 1

“I have to stay in my comfort zone. I have to have total control.” Said no successful person ever. How is your shooting go-

ing these days? Getting any better? Are your com- petition scores improving? Or are they stagnant? Are your competition scores a lot lower than your practice scores? Many athletes “try” hard

to improve and certainly want to improve. Yet, their progress slows and they spend lots of time on a score

plateau. Lots of practice seems to have little effect.

Practice vs. Training There is a time and a

place in your training pro- gram for “just shoot” with- out evaluation, judgment, or “fi xing” of problems. This is how you should shoot in a competition. Yet, most prac- tice sessions are constant evaluation, judgment, or “fi x-

ing” of problems. Remem- ber, we will do what we are most used to doing when we are under pressure in com- petition. If we are constantly “fi xing” things, we will fi nd ourselves in that mode in a match and our scores drop. Training is not just shoot-

ing or just fi xing. Training is focused activity. Yes, some- times we do need to evalu- ate and adjust. Other times, we need to “just shoot” with- out care or concern for out- come (score) yet with inten- sity and focus on allowing the shot to unfold properly.

Staying in the Comfort Zone vs. Stepping out- side the Comfort Zone One of the most impor-

tant aspects of training is forcing ourselves out of our comfort zone. We only improve when

we force ourselves (or our coaches force us) out of our comfort zone. Our sport is not about shooting at tar- gets. No sport is about doing the actual sport. All sports are about learning to thrive and excel under pressure in the spotlight and in the heat of the moment. Sport

We only improve when we force ourselves (or our coaches force us) out of our comfort zone.

is about learning about our- selves, growing, and learn- ing how to compete well. Intensity training — that

is, training where the athlete cares about the outcome — is required in order to 1) learn how to thrive under pressure, 2) prevent chok- ing and 3) set the stage for entering fl ow state (the so- called “zone”). The more time an athlete

spends in intensity training, the faster he or she learns to thrive and the more con- fi dent they become in his or her abilities. This allows them to trust their train- ing and “just shoot” with- out control. The results are amazing.

Putting The Concept To Work This past August, I ran an

advanced weekend training camp for a group of pistol athletes. Their ages: one was 19, two were 16, two were 14, three were 13, and two were 12. Their ex- perience in target shooting ranged from a few months to a few years. We spent very little time

in the mode to “tweak” or “fi x” details about their po- sition, area of aim, trigger technique, or other physi- cal and technical aspects of their shooting, since they and their coaches can work on these items at their own

56 USA Shooting News | March 2015

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