I’ve been struggling with keeping my head in the game at matches. I’m sure many of you have felt some or all of the following mental challenges during a match:
- Develop a plan (memory)
- Committing it to subconscious
- Saw someone DQ or hit a no-shoot (fear)
- Competing with another shooter (pushing yourself more than your ability OR worrying about the competition)
- Getting distracted (fumbling with camera, gear, magazines etc)
- Distraction from peanut gallery
- Trying to recover from a disastrous previous stage
- Trying to recover from a slow stage because you know you can be “faster”.
- Feeling high from a fantastic previous stage performance (over confidence)
- Running shooters as an RO and not getting enough time to prepare
Giving in to these changes in mental states is not only taxing but will affect your shooting. It’s even worse the larger or more important the match becomes. I told myself that throughout the day, my only job is to :
- Think of a plan
- Commit to subconscious
- Call my shots (ala Steve Anderson).
I must not feel the need to go faster, slower, do better, or anything of that sort. Just performs steps 1-3 on every stage.
I felt that I stayed true to it the whole match. There were times where I catch myself thinking I could have gone faster, could have stayed lower, or tried a different plan. I quickly quelled that “feeling” and moved on.
Also, Throughout the day a buddy of mine who flew in to shoot our local match was competing with me (as any good friend should) and that was an added distraction. I can proudly say that although I enjoyed the competition, I managed to ignore it and not let it affect my match performance.
Now that said, I could have won the match if I did “push” a little bit at the end but that wasn’t what I set out to do. I could have lost the match by a larger margin too if I made more errors.
So my takeaway from this match was that I know how it feels to play this mental game and I will be able to unlock this at every match. (hopefully)
Now I just need to work on the weak stuff and keep pushing my speed during practice/dryfire.