Confidence is not a thing, it is a feel. Find that feel and you have everyone telling you that you look confident.
Terrie writes: Everyone tells me that I have to be more confident in my sport. How do I do that?
Bob – Great question Terrie. The need to be confident is often the first thing you’ll read in books on the mental game. It seems like pretty sound advice as we do admire the confidence we see in others. But what is confidence anyway? How does one go about being confident? All-Americans and world champions apparently have it, but what is it and how do we get it as well?
First of all, I’m not sure why you’d even want to be confident, as it seems so unstable. Yes, even All-Americans and world champions can lose it after a couple of missed targets. So we may need to adjust our view of confidence. Just how does someone lose confidence? I know how I lose my car keys and my wallet and my spare change down through the car seat. But how is it that something which apparently takes years to build up can be lost in mere fractions of a second? Confidence is truly a strange concept and a strange way to look at high performance where “now I have it, now I don’t.” I’m not sure I even would want something so fragile.
Trying to be confident just makes you conscious in the post or station
Well, sadly, there is no way to try to be confident, and happily no way to lose your confidence, for that matter. Go ahead and try and it will only make you conscious in the post or station and it will likely have the opposite effect on you, as you’ll be thinking. And to shoot effectively, we all know that you have to just point at the target and pull the trigger, no thinking, no thoughts, as it is all subconsciously driven, based on your practice.
“I wasn’t confident…I was just smoking targets”
So, do you have to give up on trying to be confident and just trust that the lousy feeling of missing targets will go away when you start smoking them? No. Confidence is an external observation. Go up to any great shooter when they have just finished winning a shoot (and when YOU think they look confident) and tell them that they look confident, and you’d like to know what it is so you can buy some of it too. I think you’ll find some modesty and likely get the comment: “I wasn’t confident…I was just smoking targets.”
It is MERELY — sorry, wrong descriptor — it is ABSOLUTELY the most powerful feeling you will ever feel and if you want to shoot like an All-American or world champion, you had better learn what it is and learn to stay in it ALL THE TIME, in practice and in competition.
Getting the Zone “Feel”
The FEEL for the Zone is so important that I spend the first hour of my one-on-one Skype program and a good half of the morning in my group clinics figuring it out by having each participant search for it their past MOMENTS OF BRILLIANCE.
Because I want them (you) to notice what it feels like to be in a state of mind that OTHERS will call confident.
And when you get finally get it, others might even come up and ask, in hushed tones, what vitamins you are on or what modifications you have made to your gun. And they will sometimes even try desperately to get you out of that “confident” look by talking about wind, rain, lousy trap machines, etc., etc., etc. Because your look tells it all. And you’ll know that they will fail to distract you, because you know what they are trying to do and you know you are still in the Zone by FEEL (or not, in which case you might have to go for a walk and get it back). Your high performance game is all about the FEEL, and confidence is what everyone else sees.
And you’ll never have to think. You will just smoke targets. And you will laugh when others talk about losing their confidence; you’ll pat your car keys and wallet to make sure they are where they should be; and you’ll get away to where you can build your Zone so that you can be prepared to crush targets.
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