Monday, March 26, 2012

On Talking to Oneself While Shooting a Stage

I've read a number of the books by the top shots (Seeklander, Steve Anderson, Brian Enos, etc.) about competition shooting.  I've also tried to follow the blogs of guys like Ben Stoeger and others.  I've learned a ton from these guys.  But I don't think I've ever read anything about them talking to themselves while shooting.  I suspect that's because they don't do it and therefore it's probably not a good idea.

My suspicion is that the conventional wisdom is to keep quiet, suppress your feelings, and get on the with shooting the stage after you make a mistake.  I'm sure that's good advice.  But I often end up muttering to myself, expressing frustration, or even yelling when something doesn't go the way I envisioned it in my mental walk-through before the start signal.

And here's the deal: when I verbally express my annoyance or anger, I seem to be able to refocus and reengage the targets with better concentration.  I don't know if that's just me.  Or I may be just trying to justify my own idiosyncratic silliness.

For example, look at what happens in Stage #4 about 23 seconds into the stage when I have an incredibly squirrelly reload in the middle of the stage.  Did I lose my composure the rest of the stage?  Did I melt down and miss the rest of the targets?  Well, no.  I think you can see that I actually increased my effectiveness for the last half of the stage.  (– ignoring my uneconomical use of rounds. How do you get around that on stages with over 40 targets? It's almost impossible to remebmer which one's you've already engaged, especially the paper targets.)  It's like I said to myself, "This will not stop me from tearing up this stage.  Get back to it, Meyers.  Blast the hell out of those targets.  Don't let a squirrelly reload ruin your score."

I expressed myself verbally while shooting 4 of the 6 stages on Saturday.  Each time it seems to have helped me get my head back in the game after a slight setback with reloading or just missing some targets I counted on hitting (curse the Texas Star on Stage #5).

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