View Full Version : Mental Fatigue...long matches

May 8, 2006, 07:49 PM
Went to a 7 stage, 140 round count IPSC match last weekend. During the 1st 5 stages - I did really well, scoring in the top 25% percentile. Unfortunately, during the last 2 rounds, in the wee hours of the afternoon, my concentration started to wane and I messed up, 2 Failure to Engage, 1 dead hostage. Forgot to reload one magazine resulting in two reloads instead of a simple one mandatory reload.

So the Q's out there: What suggestions do you veterans have to combat mental fatigue? :confused:

May 8, 2006, 09:39 PM
Here's what I've learned:

Stay hydrated.

Don't overthink the match. Do your walk through a few times and get the repetition/strategy down for that stage. When that stage is over evaluate it honestly....then erase it.....whether it went well or poorly, dwelling on it will only color your perceptions. You just need to focus on the next walk through. In the down time, stay relaxed. Load your mags first and get your gear squared away, then you can focus on staying loose. Make small talk....joke around....don't dwell on anything....don't get tense. Enjoy the day. Mental fatigue is a by-product of tension.

Ever notice how talking to a high-strung, neurotic person can be tiring while talking to a positive, relaxed person is effortless for hours? Tension is your enemy.

May 8, 2006, 11:13 PM
Lycanthrope said it well. Matches should above all be fun.

I'll squad together with 2-3 friends who I'm usually in direct competition with. We'll shoot back to back, offer each other constructive criticism, advice, insults, and general BS. Between stages we'll load mags, get squared away, discuss strategy for the next stage, continue to BS, and keep smiling. Never a hurry, stress is kept to a minimum.

I bring a large convenience store style insulated mug filled with ice water to sip on and keep my whistle wet during the day.

May 9, 2006, 10:42 AM
The answer is simple yet complex. You don't need physical stamina and endurance. Learn the art of focusing your concentration on demand. You really only need to be able to focus your concentration for about 60 seconds. You should be able to do that even if you are physically tired. Often, I will shoot better when I am tired, because it keeps my conscious mind out of the way. I can't tell you the techniques here because it would take way too much space, but I can give you an idea.

Once you have learned how to focus your concentration, use key trigger words to get into the "zone". Use those words just before each stage. Until then, don't think about the match. Have a normal day. I used to man my sponsor's booth at the Nationals in between stages, sellling or talking to people. I didn't think about the match. About 10 minutes before the next stage, I would grab my gear, go to the safety area and gear up. Then I had a routine that I would use to get in the zone. Again, too lengthy an explanation for here.

After the stage was over, I would unfocus my concentration. The rest of the time, every match was a social event.

Many shooters tend to focus on the match for too long until it becomes bigger than they are. You know your ability, you know you are competent, so be that. Don't think about the last stage and don't think about the next stage - they are what they are, you can't change that. Have fun until it is time to shoot, then become a shooting machine.

Pm me and I would be happy to go into more detail or recommend some products that will help.

May 9, 2006, 01:51 PM
I like to shoot at the Internatinal Revolver Compatition every year and I get tire in my hands and slow down by the end. Two days with 6 stages on each day. By the end of day two my hands usually hurt more than my mind. It's getting better the more I shoot. Each stage is just a new mini match for me.

May 10, 2006, 11:54 AM
Physical stamina can be important, during a long day. I shot a 3-gun match last month, that required staying out in the cold and wind and rain for about nine hours. I've also shot 13 stages in a day, with 95 degrees and 95% humidity wearing me down. At neither match was I able to perform at anywhere near 100%, mentally or physically. I'm not sure that it's necessary to hit the gym on a daily basis, but getting enough sleep, eating a bit during the day, and drinking enough fluids will help your overall performance, and help you stay fresh, longer.

May 10, 2006, 08:48 PM
Our IDPA session went for nearly 3 1/2 hours and that was right through the lunch hour, by the way.

Take the equivalent of two bottled waters or one big size water, plus a soft drink and snacks that relate to protein or ooomph, i.e. healthy-type snack bar, peanuts, a few ounces of cheese. Apply each to an open mouth at regular intervals! This is a range bag in one hand, a small cooler in the other.

This beats what I carried last Saturday, and fortunately my concentration held up. Good ideas, Lurper!

May 23, 2006, 09:05 PM
(1.) Dress for the weather, whatever it might be. Nothing disturbs your focus like being wet & cold or overheated.
(2.) Stay hydrated.
(3.) Snack lightly during the match. I usually use commercial protein bars, but have also used almonds or other nuts, and bananas. I always try to remember to take handi-wipes or something similar so I can clean my hands off before I eat anything.
(4.) Moderate caffeine use if it doesn't make you too jittery or nervous.
(5.) Eat moderately before the match. Digestion redirects blood flow to the stomach and after eating a big meal you might experience a lull for a while while the digestion process is going on. An exception might be a long match in cold or wet or windy weather -- at such time fueling the furnace with lots of fuel might be a good idea.

June 5, 2006, 10:44 AM
you won't believe what a 15 minute nap can do for you.


June 6, 2006, 04:16 PM
From these really great suggestions I was able to have fun in my last match (which was Sunday) and still get some good consistent scores near the end of the match. Stages 6,7.

In fact my last stage I did very well. Exhausted but very focused.

June 17, 2006, 04:47 PM
Take a 15 minute siesta in between stages.
Don't do any work, just let all your squad buddies take care of picking up brass/mags/clips, taping, scoring and setting up props. :D
Tell you buddy to wake you up at the 15 minute mark or when the RO calls your name "In the Hole" so you can scope the stage. Better yet just do the, "It's imperative I do a shoot through, because I'm an important person" excuse. Just scope the stages and tell the RO when you're ready to go. The only drawback to that is you don't get your brass back, or if the cahones are really huge insist on someone retrieving all your brass because you are a VIP. :D :D :D