Having the right mind set for shooting.

Diamondback 2/2

Verified Military
Jan 24, 2008
Military Mentor
In all aspects of life, everything is driven with success and failures or good and bad days. Well it is the same in shooting. Shooting is a thinking mans game, it is said to be 95% mental and 5% skill. All though I do not agree with the percentage break down, I do agree with having a mental edge to become a more proficient shooter.

 So what is the mental aspect’s of shooting?
 What is having proper mindset?
 How will it affect my shooting?
 How do I put it all together?

The MENTAL aspects of shooting is nothing more then having a mental plan of what you want to accomplish in shooting. Either for a day at the range, or a long term goal. Telling your self what you want to accomplish (in a realistic manner) and achieving it. Nothing more then a goal in shooting. Preparing your self to achieve your goal.

For an example: Tom has been shooting for a few years, he has never had any formal training other then his friend Bob showing him something’s at the range. Well Tom is getting more involved with shooting and had watched a IPSC match on TV. He did some research and found a local club, he decided to attend a match and see how well he could do. Well as the match started, he realized that he was way out of his skill setting. He was discouraged and left early. Tom calls his Friend Bob and tells him of the disappointment, and Bob tells Tom not to worry those people are ass holes. (As most friend will do) Tom and Bob go back to there once a month range day, and forget about the shooting club.

Well what was the problem? The problem is Tom was never taught proper fundamentals, he never planned for the match. He did not research the type of match it would be and the different stages, he did not have a realistic goal of performance. He just showed up and tried out, with out even being a where of what he was trying out for. After realizing he was not able to perform to the level of the other competitors, he simply gave up and never looked back.

Proper MINDSET is having a positive attitude toward the mental goal. In most cases a person will make a goal, and mentally be focused on that goal, but has no idea how to keep a positive mindset to achieve the goal. A positive mind set covers a large portion of every thing you do in shooting. (i.e. how you prepare for the range, how you set up at the range, and how you view you performance) Mindset is easily disrupted by anything and everything. Something as simple as a phone call on the range, your wife says little Johnny is acting up. You say I will deal with when I get home, and go back to shooting. Well before the phone call you were meeting your goals for the day, and after you are performing worse and worse. Thus making you more upset, and sending you in to a downward spiral from that point forward. Another example, would be firing 10 shots at your target and 1 of the shots are out of the group or off the target. As you see that nice tight group you are happy, but as soon as you realize you through a shot. You start wondering how you did it. (now you just changed your focus) You were focused on a great group and thinking how well you did, positive thinking. But now you have started to focus on a bad shot, negative thinking. When you return to the firing line and fire your next 10 shots, they are no where near the group you fired before and now you are upset.

When anything negative is allowed into your preparation, you will receive less then positive results.

So how will it AFFECT your shooting? It will make it or break it... The best shooters in the world will always tell you, stay focused, positive, have a plan, and stick to what you know. The more mental preparation you do, the more focused you will be. The more you focus on the positive, the less you allow the negative to affect the mental goals and preparation. If you have that god awful day at the range, forget about it. Tell your self about what went good, and just forget the rest.

How to put it all together, is the most important piece of the puzzle. As always keeping and open mind, and being able to put the ego, or cockiness away is step one. Then giving your self a realistic goal (i.e. 10 shot’s in a 3-inch group at 10 yards) Now preparing to achieve the goal, finding the proper training. Be focused on the goal, and planning the steps to achieve the goal. Keep a positive mindset in all the aspects of the preparation of achieving the goal, reinforce the positive and get rid of the negative. Allow your self to progress in the most positive sense. STAY POSITIVE!!!

This is just a quick few words of wisdom from opinions focus preparations and me. There are many good books on the subject.