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?

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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.
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