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is why positive self-talk is so important. The article “Christmas

Tens” in this series discuss- es the “automagical” shot wherein the athlete is not controlling the shot process and the deeper mind is run- ning the process. The article provides much insight into learning to “let go” and “just be” while shooting. Athletes must build a very deep and consistent famil- iarity with their equipment, their body and their process. 6WHS RQH LV WR VWRS À [LQJ things. The article “Culture of Shooters” in this series makes clear the issues and solutions around this prob- lem. Constant change pre- vents deep mind program- ming and prevents high performance.

Once the athlete stops constant changes, familiar- ity begins and awareness is enhanced. Then the athlete may begin to build a deep fa- miliarity with their mind and emotions.

Learning to “let go” can

be very scary. The ego wants to “protect” us from danger, including embarrassment and failure. Therefore, it wants to take control. Of course, the “active thought”

About the Author

Based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, JP O’Connor (email: and blog: is involved LQ VKRRWLQJ DV D FRPSHWLWRU RIÀ FLDO DQG FRDFK +H LV D IRUPHU $VVLVWDQW 1DWLRQDO &RDFK ² 8 6 3DUDO\PSLFV 6KRRWLQJ 7HDP DQG ,66) -XGJH VHUYHV RQ WKH 1DWLRQDO &RDFK 'HYHORSPHQW 6WDII LQ ERWK ULÁ H SLVWRO DQG LV &RDFK (PHULWXV RI WKH 1&$$ ULÁ H DQG LQWHUFROOHJLDWH SLVWRO WHDPV DW WKH 8QLYHUVLW\ RI 1RUWK *HRUJLD +H HQMR\V ZRUNLQJ ZLWK D QXPEHU RI SLVWRO DQG ULÁ H DWKOHWHV DQG MXQLRU club teams from around the country, ranging from beginners to the highly advanced, in training sessions, clinics, and one-on-one private coaching. Previous installments of this series, additional resources, and book suggestions may be found at http://www. and via his blog.

All of the links in this story can be found at XVDVKRRWLQJ RUJ RQWKHÀ ULQJOLQH May 2016 | USA Shooting News 35

part of the mind is too slow for this and many other sports. If you catch yourself controlling the shot process, forcing the shot, thinking verbally during the shot, or “checking” things at certain points in the process before allowing yourself to proceed, you are in your own way. A classic example is that many athletes waste


À UVW KROG VWHDG\ VWDWH RI WKH process “checking” to see if their hold is good enough before allowing themselves to shoot the shot. Then they have to wait for the next steady state, which is almost always shorter and less steady. Timing, and con- À GHQFH LV GHVWUR\HG

Buy a pack of 9”x12”

black construction paper. Cut it down to sheets 6”x9” inches. Hang a sheet as a training target. (Horizontally IRU ULÁ H YHUWLFDOO\ IRU SLVWRO Turn down the downrange target lights if you are able, so that you can just make out the target location. Set up your position, balance, natural point of aim (NPA), and then optimize all three together. Establish the NPA somewhere in the area of the center part of the tar- get, though it need not be

precise. Really feel this posi- tion. Take your time. When you believe you can

repeat the feel on each shot, start shooting on the target. Look at your sights to get good alignment, but do NOT use any visual aiming refer- ence or trick to see where to aim. Just make sure you are on the black card and shoot by internal body feel. Do not use a scope to spot your shots. If you are able to see a group develop, do NOT aim at the group; your next shots will form a much larger group and defeat the purpose of the activity. $W À UVW PDQ\ DWKOHWHV

resist this drill. There is no score and there is no aim- ing reference. Exactly! Learn to become aware of your body and how it feels. Learn to “just shoot” for feel – af- ter all, there is no score or even an aiming reference. Soon, you will discover that you “let go” and “just shoot” and that it is very liberat- ing. Shooting becomes very pure and enjoyable. You will À QG \RXUVHOI LPPHUVHG LQ the Present Moment. Then, take this “black card feel” over to shooting on a real target. You will be tempted to abandon the “black card

feel” and go back to your old habits of shot delivery. Resist this temptation, give yourself permission to make mistakes (you are learning something new!) and be- come aware of what hap- pens.

This process takes time. Be patient. If you commit to an honest and patient exper- iment, you will be amazed at the discoveries. Enjoy! Notes: For the remain-

der of 2016, USA Shooting News will have two issues: The Olympics and Paralym- pics recap and the Year in Review. Both will be full of news and results. Therefore, the “On The Firing Line” se- ries will return in 2017

. In the

meantime, browse through the entire series (link below) and take your own journey of learning as you look through the contents and study ar- ticles of interest to you.

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