GENERAL TOPICS > The Shootin' Range

Pt. 3, Attitude and Approach to the Match


Marshal Halloway:

--- Quote from: Doc Shapiro on October 04, 2004, 03:41:49 PM ---
The attitude that you bring to the match with you will affect how you prepare for a stage and how you shoot each stage. A lot of this is anecdotal evidence from my experiences this year.

Early in the year I identified something that I needed to work on, and that’s mental preparation for approaching matches. I worked on fostering a competitive, aggressive attitude. Unfortunately, this made me a little grumpy as I was putting far too much stress on myself to perform well. I was difficult to be around, and I generally wasn’t as happy and cheerful as normal. As a result, I didn’t shoot well. This lasted through May and Mule Camp. On my flight home from Atlanta I did a lot of thinking about the match and my performance. I only shot one stage well, the rest were mediocre. I knew I needed to make a change, but wasn’t sure how or what. So I took a bit of a break.

My practice schedule just stopped, as I wasn’t sure how to proceed. I did a little bit of dry fire to keep up with gun handling skills, but that was about it. I then went and shot the Western States Championship in Fernley, NV in June. I went with no expectations and just to have a good time. I shot a little better, but still only had a couple of runs where I felt like I was shooting at my ability. I shot a clean match and ended up 4th overall, but I knew I could do better.

So I ordered a book, Brian Enos’ book – Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals ( That sure opened my eyes! I set about changing my attitude from being competitive and trying to win to being much more relaxed and just trying to shoot as well as I can. I’m also trying to be more positive in general. That is making a world of difference! I’m less grumpy and more cheerful and far less stressed. As a result, I’m much more aware of what’s going on while I’m shooting. This is allowing me to shoot subconsciously and really see my sights. I’m still working on it, and I have a long way to go. But I’m again making progress!

I know that I’m making progress because I shot a much better match this weekend at the Mason-Dixon Stampede in Maryland, the NE Regional. I shot several stages at my ability and those I didn’t shoot as well, I know why. That is a big improvement and change.

This leads to one other topic, how a bad stage affects you. When you shoot a bad stage, or have a miss, spend a few minutes analyzing what happened and why, but don’t dwell on the bad. Look for something positive to take out of the experience. This will help you to improve and keep your mental state up. You need to stay positive in order to perform well.

If you are shooting to win, then you are not going to be as focused on doing the best that you can. You will be worrying about what other shooters are doing and that will affect your performance. If you go in just trying to shoot the best that you can, you will be more relaxed and smoother. This will lead to better, faster shooting.

I hope that you can take something from these experiences.


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