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1st stage nervousness ...how to shrug it off?

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I've found as some here have that often I do very well on the first stage. I'm more relaxed and just letting it happen.

Then the following stages, I seem to fall apart trying to go faster and begin playing catch up which makes it worse. Often I'll think about how I'm going to approach and shoot a stage only to completely forget all that when the buzzer sounds.

At times when I work as SO I'll see where guys are making mistakes and think ok remember when your up don't do that, only to completely blow the stage just like I said I wouldn't do.

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There is no first stage. ( paraphrasing the Matrix ).

I don't look at my points, or times until I get home after the match. It's very freeing, at times surprising, and occasionally frustrating. It helps me not care, and just shoot.

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Every time I go out to practice I set up my targets and just jump right in. No warm ups or whatever, no mulligans. I usually use a first drill that is easy to track like bill drill or variation of the transition drill. I sort of made it a point to make myself shoot great cold on the first time. It's hard! One or two times doing it well and I found that my confidence really got a boost. I agree with PE. Kelley above, now I relish the first stage jitters! I can't wait to feel the gun jump! You know what it's going to do, you know where your mags are, prep and walk the stage like always and just poke holes in A zones!

Like many of the concepts behind shooting pistol well... I say it's all in your head.

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What I did was just went first on every stage at every match. After a while it won't matter any more.

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When I was able to stick to my plan of just shooting a solid, risk-free first stage, I always did real well on that stage. And if you do that, you will be feeling real good about the upcoming stages. Just don't let overconfidence creep in. :)

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When I was able to stick to my plan of just shooting a solid, risk-free first stage, I always did real well on that stage. And if you do that, you will be feeling real good about the upcoming stages. Just don't let overconfidence creep in. :)

Well said Sir!!!!!!!!!!

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The buzzer sets me free to do what I love to do! Like letting the dog off the leash. I love the first stage, and the second and the third. LOL

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I embrace it…In fact if it ever stops (getting butterflies) I'll quit.

Recently I started USPSA and shot my second match yesterday. I had jitters for sure and it absolutely had an impact on my performance, I totally missed a paper target. I feel that it is part of the fun though, how many times do people get that feeling sitting on a couch? If it stops, I'd quit too.

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Being nervous is natural. Accept it and use your selective attention (focus) to think only of doing the actions you have to do right now. Be in the now, be out of yourself.

Get your butterflies to fly in formation!

Breathe in for 5 count, hold for 2, exhale for 8. Repeat.

Visualize from your perspective. See it. Feel your muscles doing it perfectly. Enjoy that feeling.

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The buzzer sets me free to do what I love to do! Like letting the dog off the leash. I love the first stage, and the second and the third. LOL

I'm with you, I do t get nervous as mush as I get excited! Sure they have similar effects, but not quite. Maybe just tell yourself "this buzzer is why I'm here and switch from worry to anticipation".

Think of it Like you just hit a $200 scratch off lottery ticket and your standing in line to collect. You're not worried about collecting and having all that extra money you just won, but I guarantee you'll be excited about all the extra ammo you're about to be able to buy!!

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A lot of good info here, I try to shake the jitters by shaking my arms out before starting beep, and deep breaths.

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Spend twice as much time planning and memorizing you first stage as you need on other stages to shoot them well. Shoot stage one without aggression. Take all the time you need to take. Keep reminding yourself that it's easy to put yourself way behind on that stage, and very hard to get ahead.

My goal on the first stage is never to set the world on fire. It is to avoid digging a hole that I have to then spend the entire day trying to climb back out of. That's a crappy way to spend the day at the range.

Focus on something positive: Don't stand on the line staring at that noshoot saying "don't shoot that. Don't shoot that." Instead keep the pressure off yourself. Try to cruise through the first stage at a comfortable pace and focus on shooting a clean stage. Just shoot cleanly and deliberately. "I will shoot alphas" results in the same outcome as "no mikes no noshoots... please God, no mikes..." except that it's a positive frame of mind which is inherently less stressful.

Edited by MemphisMechanic

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I make the goal of every first stage to shoot it clean and as accurate as possible and don't worry about speed. This helps take some of the pressure off that first stage and by the second stage I'm good.

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12 hours ago, alucardus said:

I make the goal of every first stage to shoot it clean and as accurate as possible and don't worry about speed. This helps take some of the pressure off that first stage and by the second stage I'm good.

That's some pretty good advice.  I'm stealing it.

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A nice side effect is by not worrying about speed it will usually just happen on that stage. Maybe not as fast as if I'd been really pushing it but enough that the first stage is never my worst stage either.

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i usually do good on my first stage, i guess im a more worried about doing bad on the frist one that it usually works out, i guess i need to do that on all stages!

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On ‎9‎/‎1‎/‎2016 at 0:41 PM, alucardus said:

A nice side effect is by not worrying about speed it will usually just happen on that stage. Maybe not as fast as if I'd been really pushing it but enough that the first stage is never my worst stage either.

I took this advice and the first stage was my best.  Started to fall apart on 2-5 then got it back together again on the last.

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22 hours ago, superluckycat said:

I took this advice and the first stage was my best.  Started to fall apart on 2-5 then got it back together again on the last.

Nice.

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I assure you guys the top shooters are not trying to just "make it" through the first stage. When the different between 1st and 2nd is a mag fumble you can not afford to put yourself in a handicap mindset on stage 1. 

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On 10/5/2016 at 2:47 PM, superluckycat said:

I took this advice and the first stage was my best.  Started to fall apart on 2-5 then got it back together again on the last.

No personal offense, but his advice is crap! If you want to shoot consistently, why in the world would you do something different on the first stage? And then different on the second?

 

Let me ask, on stage 6-? did you tell yourself to call your shots? To shoot your speed?

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8 hours ago, SCTaylor said:

No personal offense, but his advice is crap! If you want to shoot consistently, why in the world would you do something different on the first stage? And then different on the second?

 

Let me ask, on stage 6-? did you tell yourself to call your shots? To shoot your speed?

I was first to shoot the first stage and was squaded with some good shooters.  After watching them shoot I tried to go faster on the remaining stages and we all know how that works out.

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Years ago I had a similar issue. I got over this by going first in a little local IDPA match week after week until I got over the jitters. 

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