I hear what you're saying but don't understand part of it and also don't agree with part of it. I agree that competiton is important and helps, though I'm not so sure that any and all competition helps. However, I certainly agree there is pressure, though not necessarily stress. But let me explain.
The pressure of competition, or anything else, may create a certain amount of stress. If you can actually do something about it, the stress should be less, at least in theory. By this I mean only that with your practice and preparation, you have taken steps to reduce the stress. But perhaps stress is not the right word for what I'm trying to say, but there is a certain amount of management of the stress involved.
I was expecting you to say when you were speaking of it getting easier but it doesn't, that the competiton is getting better, too, or that what you have to lose is getting bigger. I do understand the part about the surprise, which I remember very well on the rifle range in the army, at my surprise at hitting the longer range targets. I was equally surprised at missing the closest one but I wasn't the only one, judging from what the ground looked like in front of the target. Lots of us were overcompensating, apparently.
On the other hand, I'd worry about acting without thinking.
Shoot low, sheriff. They're riding Shetlands!
Underneath the starry flag, civilize 'em with a Krag,
and return us to our own beloved homes!
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