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Old September 16, 2002, 07:32 PM   #1
beastman
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Join Date: April 16, 2000
Location: San Diego, CA
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Humbled at GSSF indoor

I shot competitively for the first time in my life on Sunday. Ouch! The term "competitively" is only appropriate as a description of the attempt, not the outcome!

I am actually a decent shot when I have no adrenaline and lots of time, but when the clock started ticking, I choked.

Any hints from those who do this more often as to how to relax and just shoot? It is amazing how my shooting skills went out the window when the pressure was on.

However, I did have fun. Also, my eyes are opened as to how pressure affects accuracy. I now need to practice, practice, practice.

Any suggestions from those more experienced are most warmly welcomed!
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Old September 16, 2002, 07:42 PM   #2
Stephen A. Camp
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Hello, sir. Kudos to you for taking part in a competition! Though I no longer compete much at all, back when I did, I learned the very same thing as you: Two equivalent shots will not shoot the same; the one who can control his mind and focus on the match, the shooting, the defensive situation, will come out the winner. To me, this is a real advantage to competition. You shoot under some degree of stress. It will not match that found in a life or death situation most likely, but at least the competitor has been exposed.

Best.
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Old September 16, 2002, 07:56 PM   #3
Pendragon
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Well, I still want to try that - have yet to do so.

My best experience in this department is playing FPS games on a team on a league on the internet.

Not shooting for blood or money - only for pride, but I remember when I started that I was such and such good in casual play or in practice, but when the game started and the adrenaline hit (funny how a computer game can trigger that ancient response...) I would throw my shots, I would trip up, I would forget my orders, etc.

Others did this too.

After a time, this went away, although never completely.

When I felt confident, I could channel it into an edge. When I felt outgunned, I had to fight not to let it mess with my head.

So much of a conflict is mental.

You should study some of Boyds ideas on OODA loops - its really a very simple model for what happens in competition.

http://www.belisarius.com
http://www.belisarius.com/theory_of_mc.htm

Funny - it was just a game, but it taught me so much about myself, about conflict, strategy, teamwork, leadership and so much more....
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Old September 17, 2002, 12:11 AM   #4
Jeff OTMG
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All I can suggest is to keep doing it. Once you are use to shooting competitively the stress will be less. It takes some people longer than others to aclimate to the stress of competition, but eventually you will be more concerned with getting your time down than worrying about your hits. The hits will be there, but you can't win if you go through the matches and bullseye everything.
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Old September 17, 2002, 08:53 AM   #5
Jack Carson
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Join Date: July 13, 2001
Location: Central Oklahoma
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No "expert" on the subject, but some suggestions:

I went through the same thing over 25 years ago when I started shooting IPSC. It took several matches before I got over the match nerves you are describing. Interestingly, after an 18 year break from competition, the match nerves returned when I shot my first couple of IDPA matches recently.

Fortunately, there is a cure. It's really simple. Just keep shooting matches. Don't worry about anyone else, just concentrate on your performance. The other shooters, unless they are a group of real sphincters, are not going to be putting you down, thinking you're an inept boob or anything else derogatory. (Unless you are handling your firearm in an unsafe manner, in which case they will show you the door.)

The other thing you can do is modify your practice habits. Make every practice session a competition even if you are alone. If you are shooting with a buddy, put something on the line. Loser buys the cokes or beers after practice, etc. Shooting for fun is, well, fun, but it doesn't help your performance in competition all that much. Competing is the real answer to improving your performance in competition.

For now, I have to take my own advice and get out and practice competitively. Have just shot two IDPA matches and still stink the place up due to lack of good practice and 18 years behind in competing. I'll get it (at least partially) back and you'll come along as well.

Good luck and good shooting!
Jack
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