As with any form of advanced competition, the margin for error is extremely small, which is what makes competition so much fun. The ability to perform under pressure involves more than just showing up and going through the motions. If you’re a competitive shooter, then you already know what it’s like to feel the pressure and perform anyway. Most of what you do on the course is second nature, making slight adjustments as you go. Nonetheless, if you can find a competitive advantage, even if it makes you one percent more likely to claim victory, it’s best to take it. One shot, one step, or one breath could mean the difference between first and second place.
In this post, we’ll be sharing the top five ways you can gain that competitive advantage to shoot better and shoot smoother during competition.
The purpose of this post is to hopefully give you some quick tips on how to increase your shooting performance. Furthermore, these quick tips do not necessarily mean quick results. As with any elite competition, it takes time, training, and effort to master some of the techniques we’re offering. Also, some of these techniques you can add to your training in the first session. Finally, these are not hard and fast rules that can guarantee a performance boost. You, as a top-performing shooter, will need to implement them as you see fit to increase your performance.
One of the most powerful practices you can implement is taking the time to mentally visualize the course, you completing the course, and working on areas you seem to struggle with. What this does is allows you to create positive context in your mind before your next performance. Do you have trouble reloading your shotgun. Does a certain maneuver still give you trouble, adding valuable seconds to your overall time? Take fifteen to thirty minutes every training session to sit and visualize completing the course, successfully beating your current best time, and mastering the areas you struggle with before you attempt them again.
Compare any other time sensitive sport to competitive shooting, and you’ll notice a common focus: smooth movements. A formula one driver doesn’t jerk the car back and forth around corners. They drive smooth. A batter in the MLB doesn’t use sudden, strained movements to hit a 95 mile per hour fastball; their swing is smooth–almost effortless. Remember, slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
As you strategically and effectively complete the course, take a rest where you can afford one. This means, taking a knee at a waist-high barrier or resting your rifle on an object when available. In some competitions, you’re not allowed to “rest,” but using your knee, barriers, or objects to rest your firearm can increase accuracy, which is metric in every shooting competition.
If you’re a competitive shooter, then you know better than anyone else, an event is usually decided by one or two skills. The skill we want to focus on is loading your scattergun. You can visualize all you want on how to load the gun faster, but you have to pair that mental game with actually practicing it. Consider watching some videos. Read some articles. Visit some competition shooting forums. Find a method that works for you and master it. You could go as far as asking the competitor who beat you in the last event for some tips.
Your eyes can only focus on one target at a time. This means you need to learn what to focus on while shooting, moving, and more. Typically, while shooting your scattergun, it’s best to focus on the target while shooting. Shooting your handgun will be different. You’ll most likely want to focus on the front sight, allowing rear sight and target to be slightly blurry. Take the time to discover where your focus suits you to achieve the best score.
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