Saturday, September 17, 2005

On Winning - and Losing........

I don't claim to be much of an expert on winning, but I know a lot about losing. Sometimes I amaze myself with my ability to find new ways to beat myself.

One of my most embarrassing moments was in a pin shoot when I still had the slide back and locked when the commence fire buzzer went off. No matter how hard you pull on the trigger, it just won't fire!

First, lets get the obvious out of the way. If your gun is dirty, not working properly, not sighted in, or whatever, you have to take care of that first. A competition handgun should get a thorough going over before a match. After you've cleaned it and checked it over, go put a few rounds theough it to make sure you didn't mess something up when you cleaned it.

Second, you need to shoot regularly. You need to shoot enough that it becomes automatic, relying on "muscle memory" rather than thinking about what you are trying to do. You should not only practice shooting, but also practice reloading, clearing mis-fires, and dealing with whatever else might go wrong.

If you've got those things out of the way, you are ready to consider how to win, or more specifically, how to not lose. The trick is to not beat yourself by compounding your problems.

When helping a new shooter, or any other type of competitor, for that matter, I tell them that there will often be situations where you are up against someone faster and/or more accurate than you are. If they do their best, and you do your best, you are gonna get beat.

However, very few competitors are able to do their best every single time. The important thing is that you put yourself in a position to win. Don't try to do more than what you can do. Don't beat yourself, put yourself in a position to win, and let the faster person beat themselves. If they do win, at least you made them earn it!

A lot of head to head competition is mental, and it never hurts for a faster shooter to realize that if they bobble even a little, you are going to be right there.

One other thing. Don't pay too much attention to watching other shooters. For some reason, when you are shooting, it seems like you are always shooting a whole lot slower than you actually are. It also seems like everyone you watch looks like they are shooting a whole lot faster than they actually are.

A final word: Always remember that misses, no matter how fast you got them off, don't count for much........


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