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.

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See the Target…Hit the Target: Using Peripheral Vision to pick up the Target

Trap and Field Magazine

SportExcel Inc.

How do I stop my bad habit of moving my gun before I see the bird come out of the house?

This is a great question from Alex.  The reason we develop this bad habit is because the bird usually comes out very close to the time we call for it, and we can get often get away with moving early.  It is only when there is a delay that we start noticing our bad habit.

The best way to avoid this is to have your gun movement triggered not by the “pull” but by the moving target.  And the means to do this is by using Quiet Eye, a technique introduced to me by Olympic shooting development Coach, Les Greevy.

When you set this up in a soft or quiet eye vision, it is extremely fast picking up the target.  According to Coach Steve Brown of East Texas, far and away the best expert on the eyes I’ve ever met for Clay target sports, one’s peripheral gaze picks up movement faster than a focused one.

So, here’s what you do to set this up.  Look out a window toward a distant item like a tree or flag pole and look through your fingers.  Then bring your fingers around to the sides so you can see both the distant object and your fingers.  This is quiet eye.  It triggers your mind to go into optimum readiness mode.

Hold your eyes in the manner and drop your fingers.  Practice it in your home and get used to how it feels, and then take it to the range.  When it becomes a natural feeling and your default way of looking for the target, take it to your competition.

Set QE up as part of your routine and rehearse it.  When you call for the target, your eyes will pick up the target quickly and it, not your pull call, will trigger your body to move the gun to the target.

If you want to learn more about the art of winning in clay target sports, give me a call at SportExcel.  Or check out my website and see when one of my clinics is going to be in your vicinity.

SportExcel trains 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 or to find out when SportExcel will be in your area delivering high performance clinics.  We also have a new ebook for high performance in the clay target sports due for release in the next number of weeks.   Call us at 877.967.5747 or email: bpalmer@sportexcel.ca.

So much advice on trap shooting but so little improvement. Why?

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This question comes from Duncan in Phoenix, AZ who asks how it is possible to be getting so much advice on trap shooting at the club, but it doesn’t translate into improved performance.   In this video Bob Palmer answers Duncan’s question and provides some strategies on how to deal with well-meaning or unsolicited advice.

Thoughts? Questions? Please post your comments below and I’ll reply personally.

Bob Palmer, SportExcel

Click here to find out more about our online training series starting January 18, 2012:

What does a Mental Coach do?

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The question: What does a mental coach do? is answered by Bob Palmer in this video with a very basic answer. Mental coaches help you to make your game fun and easy:

Fun, because you learn the tools to fix virtually any problem and;

Easy, because you learn to make training a fun challenge.

Thoughts? Questions? Please post your comments below and I’ll reply personally.

Bob Palmer, SportExcel

Click here to find out more about our online training series starting January 18, 2012:

Is Trap shooting 90% Mental?

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Spencer asks if shooting clay targets is 90% mental.  Bob answers with a big YES.  Very skillful athletes can collapse in the big game because they become intimidated, feel bad when they make a mistake, think about a past loss, etc.

They can keep practicing harder or they can use mental exercises to make the next  competition seem exciting and familiar, and they can use various strategies to make their “fearsome” opponents disappear when they step into the are in the post.

Thoughts? Questions? Please post your comments below and I’ll reply personally.

Hit the Like button or leave a comment below to get notified when I post more videos.

Bob Palmer, SportExcel

SportExcel works all over the world via Skype – contact us today.

What is different about SportExcel?

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By learning a system and the proper tools to use the Zone as a High Performance Engine that drives your game, the athlete or sports team can get great results and avoid talk therapy and talking about problems and emotions. What does the athlete want? The Zone now, so he or she can play their game with passion and have success.

SportExcel works all over the world via Skype – contact us today.
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