Ask Bob: Perfecting practice in the shooting sports – Quality vs Quantity

I recently received an email from Tom, a trap shooter, with the following question:
Tom asks: During handicap I dropped 7 targets out of 50!  I had not dropped that many targets during any of my practice rounds.  I was devastated! Angry, frustrated and frankly confused.  I had been practicing well, lots of targets in the previous ten days, maybe 700 targets in total. Where was my head?
In the video below, I’ve broken down my answer to Tom’s question into two areas:
1) Practicing in the Zone, and,
2) Practicing specific drills and shots.

Here is the written version of my answer to Tom.

Bob responds: Great question Tom.   A lot of things could have happened to throw you off your game, from the shooters you were shooting with to a letdown in energy from what you had, or didn’t have, for breakfast or lunch–or simply exhaustion from the heat. I have a checklist process that usually (but not always) can come up with answer.   I’ll start with what “may” have been a contributor–practice.

Ensure that you are practicing in the Zone.  More targets in practice may not be better. I had one client increase his practice targets by about 200 each Saturday just because he had access to a range that day (and drove a long way to get there).  And his competition scores went down!   When he described how he practiced, it was clear he was doing quantity over quality.  So in practice you might do two things:  Wire up your Zone with the kind of adrenaline you might expect in a bar brawl (really!).  And then step into the post with that kind of adrenaline, and do it for every practice post.  Most people confuse calm as being adrenaline-free.  Rather, calm should be like a boat hitting its plane where adrenaline is wired to win (but consistent.)  With this type of quality practice, you can probably cut back on the number of targets you shoot and shoot quality over quantity.

Second, see if you can practice specific drills and shots on specific posts.  For most trap and skeet shooters, this is the hardest thing to do, as typically practice is done in groups and usually with rounds.  (It is a social thing.) I have a skeet shooter who has improved his game in three years to the point that he has now drawn a crowd every time he practices as they want to see what he has done different.  They won’t join him in practice because they want to practice shooting rounds, but they’ll watch and look for some silver bullet.  Aside from learning the Zone and being in it all the time, he practices the weaknesses in his game in practice (specific stations) and, as a result, his whole game improves.

Try practicing like this and see the difference it makes in competition.

And please give me your feedback!

Advertisements

Ask Bob: How to build Zone concentration in the shooting sports

I frequently get questions from readers of my book, blog and monthly articles in Trap & Field and other magazines. Shooters are stymied by some component of their game and turn to me, aka ASK BOB, the “Ann Landers” of the shooting sports.
This month I received a question from Frank:
I have a lot of concentration problems but I feel like I may have changed my mount in the last week or so and I can’t seem to get back to where I was.  What should I do?
In the video below, I’ve broken down the answer into two areas:
1) How to prevent concentration losses generally, and,
2) The need to get new techniques working subconsciously before you step up to compete.

I’ve also provided this training tip in written format below:

Stopping Zone drift 

The solution may be twofold. First concentration problems may or may not be related to your new mount.  Sometimes shooters have what I call Zone drift where they lose the Zone incrementally from post to post, station to station. A good way to cure this is to visualize yourself smoking the target before you step into the post or station, every time. It will take about two seconds. Make sure you supercharge the visualization with the good feel of adrenaline as adrenaline is an alertness booster.

Stop thinking and get subconscious

Second, the lack of concentration may be caused by your new gun mount, as any new technique requires thinking.  And thinking leads to a struggle with focus as concentrating on the new technique takes you away from concentrating on the target.  All of your technique needs to be routine and subconsciously driven.  The solution here is to practice your new gun mount repeatedly at home and on the range until it feels smooth and non-thinking. You can have a friend or coach watch and give you feedback just to be sure. Once it feels fantastic and totally routine, without any thinking, you can take it into a competition and test it out.

So, Frank, apply a quick visualization technique as one solution to building concentration and ensure all new techniques are well-practiced before you take them to a competition. Both should do the trick to turn your game around.

Do you have  a high performance training question for Bob to help you in your shooting sport?

Please fill out the contact form below to have an opportunity to have Bob answer your question.

How to get back on track after equipment malfunctions

Sacha asks Bob Palmer, High Performance Trainer for SportExcel the following question:

I find that it is very difficult to recover when the machines or the microphones malfunction.   What are your suggestions?

Bob: Great question Sacha.

Of all the distractions to one’s game, a malfunctioning trap machines is one of the hardest things to overcome as it is so unexpected, erratic and out of your control. You don’t know if it will happen in the next shot or ever again. Continue reading

Fitness is Important to Clay Target Sports: Improve endurance, fun and health

Dale Gerlich, a trap shooter, asks: Is fitness important to great trap shooting?
Bob Palmer, High Performance Trainer and CEO of SportExcel, http://www.sportexcel.ca answers:
Fitness is important for any sport because of the impact it has on vision, endurance and overall feeling.  It also affects your longevity and enjoyment in your sport.    Lack of fitness eventually catches up with you in terms health problems.Fitness in clay target sports is a touchy subject as these sports require very little movement.  So, theoretically, one could be very much out of shape and still turn in a very good score.  As a matter of fact, some very good shooters are heavy people.
However, I am going to suggest that the more fit you are, the easier time you’ll have shooting, especially on very hot or demanding days.  As well, fitness and stamina go hand in hand, especially as you grow older.   Most of my clients have regular walking and exercise routines or hit the gym a couple of times a week.Usually young shooters such as yourself, play high school sports and very little thought is given to cross training.  However when high school ends it is different.   I took up karate at that time in my life and a regular trip to the gym kept me sharp and feeling good.So my vote goes to being fit, having great stamina and staying healthy.  I think you’ll find it is a wise policy.
Ignition TrainingSportExcel assists trap shooters from all over North America in the art of winning so that they can own their game.  Call us to find out about our small group Skype training with 2-4 friends.  It’s cost-effective and effective!    Call us at 877.967.5747 or email: bpalmer@sportexcel.ca.

Comments that Distract your Focus in Trap Shooting

Three tools to stop the mind games that people play

Q   Trap shooter Gloria asks Bob:  The other day I was going out to shoot and someone made a comment.   How do I get that out of my mind and get my mind back on shooting?

That is a great question from the point of view of both you and the person who distracted you.

The first thing you need to do is to realize that the person who made the comment knew what they were doing, either consciously or subconsciously.  In North America we are a very competitive lot and we do a lot of things to mess others up.  Now this person who did this would likely be appalled if you accused them of throwing you off your game.  It is so automatic that we can’t help it sometimes.  So, for starters, if the person who made the comment is hearing this, or you are someone who is prone to giving advice because you think it is helpful, don’t – because it isn’t.

For you, since you’ll never muzzle all the comments, you have to learn how to deal with them.  Here are three suggestions to try out:

1)  See if you can get away for 30 minutes before your round.   I call it the 30-minute rule and it works to avoid most of the chatter.  I teach various strategies you can do in this period of time but just getting away from comments can help.

2)  After every conversation, before you head off to do your 30 minutes of prep, take a mental shower.  I imagine reaching up to pull the chain and all this imaginary water pours down and cleanses me of whatever comments were made to me.  I’ve taught this to medical practitioners and other professionals who need to stay unaffected by some seriously sick people (and I’m not suggesting people who make comments to you are seriously sick).

3) Replay the comment in your head and then “play” it backward in a way where you imagine it all garbled up.  Play it forward, then backward again.  Do this several times faster and faster.  This is a bit like running a nail across an old vinyl LP and after a while you’ll make no sense of it.   You may even forget the original troublesome comment!

Have fun with these strategies and see which one works best for you.  And if you’d like to make people like this disappear, not like Tony Soprano does, but with the strategies as a part of my program, give me a call.

Bob Palmer, SportExcel

Click here to find out more about our one-one-one mental high performance training to get you ready for your trap season.
QR Code

Trap Shooters Ask: Why is Post One so Difficult?

In this video, Desira asks Bob why the first post in trap shooting is so difficult.     Bob’s answer in this video gives suggestions to make the first post easy and comfortable so that you don’t have to go in cold.

 

Bob Palmer, SportExcel

Click here to find out more about our one-one-one mental high performance training to get you ready for your trap season.
QR Code

Why do we do well in practice but panic in competition?

Bob Palmer answers a trap shooter’s question about why we can shoot so well in practice but then panic and shoot poorly in competition.

Bob Palmer, SportExcel

Click here to find out more about our online training seminar to kickstart your training:

Own the Zone Series: Seminar One – ‘It starts with the Zone’

Wed., January 25, 2012  from 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. EST

* only $ 45.00 CAD/per person + applicable tax