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On The Firing Line (64th in a Series) Be Here Now


“Where are you?” – “Here.” “What time is it?” – “Now.” “What are you?” – “This mo- ment.”


In the previous article in


this series, we shared an in- teresting list of things that a group of athletes stated were holding them back. We discussed this list in the context of turning “impos-


• Worry about score and outcome


• Worry about what other people think


• Fear of failure All of these items share


an interesting characteristic. Each is based on something in the past and/or on some- thing that might happen in


references below) These two articles were referenced in Olympic Coach magazine in an article about choking and Á RZ VWDWH 2XWFRPH WDNHV many forms, and is often very sneaky. The fundamental skill set


the athlete must learn is to À UVW ´OHW JRµ RI DQ\ DQG DOO outcome focus and then “let


the early learning, beginner, and much of the intermedi- ate stages of learning to shoot well. Then we hit a wall and progress becomes H[FUXFLDWLQJO\ VORZ GLIÀ FXOW and unsteady. We excel with the “deeper


thought” part of the mind. This part is not analytical, is based on “instinct” and on repetitive programming. Once a person is experi- enced in tying shoelaces, the task can be performed


Athletes must build a very deep and consistent familiarity with their equipment, their body and their process.


effortlessly, without thought. This is how we want the shot delivered. For example, very early


sible” into “I’m possible” in their minds. We share the list again, as we prepare to discuss a different aspect of the issues. • Ego • Laziness • Passiveness • Worry about failure • Impatience • 1R FRQÀ GHQFH • Staying in comfort zone


• Trying too hard for re- sults


the future. Additionally, each is based, directly or indirect- ly, on one or more aspects of outcome, which itself is in the past and future. Outcome is something


over which the athlete has no direct control. Outcome focus, not distraction, is the fundamental issue in chok- ing and other performance problems. This is discussed in detail in the “Choking” and “Chocking Cures” arti- cles in this series (all article


34 USA Shooting News | May 2016


go” of any and all active con- trol of the process. Nancy Johnson stated that she had to learn to “just be” in order to achieve her successes, including her Olympic gold medal in Wom- HQ·V $LU 5LÁ H LQ We learn with the “active thought” part of our mind. This part of the mind is ver- bal, analytical, and slow. It is also where our ego oper- ates. Operating with this part of our mind takes us through


one morning while hunting with her father, one of my students looked down at her hunting boots and realized she had laced them using the same pattern she used IRU KHU ULÁ H VKRRWLQJ ERRWV When we are overly tired, distracted, or under pres- sure, we will do what is most programmed into the “deep- er thought” part of our mind. On a side note, because


the “deeper thought” part of the mind is not analyti- cal, it cannot process nega- tion. Thus, saying or thinking “Don’t shoot an eight” pro- grams the thought “Shoot an eight.” into our mind. This


By: JP O’Connor


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