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Why do we have good shooting days and bad?


PaulW
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Was reading through the thread about competition being irrelevant and noticed a lot of people talking about instances when they shot well and when they shot bad.

That brought me to thinking about why do we have such roller coaster days. One bad day, one good day. or even on good stage, one bad stage. Whether it is shooting, golf, or other sports it seems to hold true. The best in their respective sports preform at a high level more often. Is it physical, mental, or a combination of these two?

How do we unlock the key to those days where we shot lights out so we can shoot like that more often?

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I know exactly what you mean Paul. I was shooting a local match one time, and was up against some other equally talented GMs and after 3 or 4 Great stages, and 1 bad stage, o asked myself "I am capable of winning every stage here today, so why do I always seem to have 1 or more bad stages?" In fact it's unusual that I have a local match where I do extremely well on every stage. Of course that spills over into major matches as well. So what's the answer? Do we "try too hard"?

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Bad days or a bad stage on a single day, two different things to me.

I haven't had a bad day (whole day) shooting in a long, long time. I might have a stage where I could have done better, all of them in fact, but to me that is different? Has anyone had a day where everything was perfect? I would guess not, I would think that they would go back and tweak a few things if they could even if they won overall.

If you are having bad days, like the whole day just stinks then you either have something rattling around in your head that shouldn't be there (conscious mind) or you aren't putting in the work (practice).

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Was just thinking maybe it is experience? If we don't have successful experiences to draw upon then possibly that seed of doubt sets in? Are maybe like Chris said, are we "trying to hard"? Lack of focus perhaps?

I remember when Dirtypool was close to making GM in limited and he was trying so hard on the classifiers you could see the tension oozing from him. I had to keep reminding him to stop trying so hard and just let it happen, and it finally did.

Edited by PaulW
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I think a lot of it has to do with timing. Its impossible to always maintain the high level of focus that allows you to shoot your best every time you shoot. The better shooters always appear to have good days because there skill/talent are above the majority of shooters, but I'll bet they don't always shoot to the best of there ability. They are skilled and talented enough to manage a bad day and still eek out a win. If you look at other sports like golf, the top players follow a strict Periodization schedule leading up to a big match. Periodization is a method of training that helps you peak at the right time leading up to a big event. It also allows you to bottom out so you can start your next climb up for the next event. It works on the theory of wave making. You need lulls in the action in order to peak. The goal is to hit the big match on a high. In time (experience) you learn to push the right buttons at the right times so that you are ready when you need to be ready and take time off when you need to.

After a big match I'm mentally and physically spent. Many times I can already tell that my performance the next weekend will not be my best. Sometimes I don't shoot at all, and if I do, I understand where I am in my training schedule and accept it.

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Lack of focus is a big thing for me when I have a bad stage. You are trying to do too much or out-shoot your own skill set which will lead to disaster almost every time. There are times when sometimes, a stage will exploit a weakness in a shooter that they either knew about and just haven't developed fully yet (SHO/WHO is a biggie for a lot of people) or maybe exploit a weakness that wasn't as well known (transitioning from near to far targets, trigger prepping, true shot calling, etc).

The question for me isn't about what causes these bad days, but rather how can I correct and hopefully eliminate them? Answering that usually answers the first anyway.

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Maybe I should rephrase it to why do we not shoot our best more often?

Because you have not created a self image that makes it "Normal" when you are shooting your best more often than not. If you are going into a match and have thoughts of "I hope that I shoot good today" then your self image is ingrained to second guess your ability to perform. If you go to a match with a mindset of "I am going to shoot good today because I always shoot good" your subconscious thoughts and actions will drive you to that result.

Edited by CHA-LEE
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Paul,

I don't think the key is figuring out what was done on the good days compared to bad days because with shooting the answer is always is simple.

I think how to handle the bad days it the key. Toothguy points out he focuses on execution. So, in a sense to him the bad day he might be having isn't bad to him yet because he hasn't considered good or bad yet.

I start to think of the people who keep score during the match. It is a lot of fun to see who is winning but I think that's a distraction to good execution.

When I have less than desirable results I ask myself: What is getting in the way of shooting well? Am I actually screwing myself up somehow?

Sometimes the answer is that I haven't picked up a gun in a couple months.

There will always be errors, what they affect and how much they affect unrelated things later in time is up to me.

I believe if I do this correctly the "bad day" might just end up a "bad stage" or even just a "bad shot".

DNH

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Maybe I should rephrase it to why do we not shoot our best more often?

Because you have not created a self image that makes it "Normal" when you are shooting your best more often than not. If you are going into a match and have thoughts of "I hope that I shoot good today" then your self image is ingrained to second guess your ability to perform. If you go to a match with a mindset of "I am going to shoot good today because I always shoot good" your subconscious thoughts and actions will drive you to that result.

+1

Also

It has a lot to do with our mental ability and more importantly our subconscious mind. I was real bad at Major's and did very well at local matches. Then after I read Saul's book, Thinking Practical Shooting: A Guide to outstanding Match Performance, I have gotten better. I am not saying that I am killing everyone, I am just saying that I have gotten better. I know my physical ability is fine, it's just mostly mental with us. Someone brought up pro golfers, they have mental coaches that help them over come this and they also PRACTICE A LOT, I am sure that we normal humans can't and don't have that luxury. But, my suggestion is to get Saul's book and read it.

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Paul,

I don't think the key is figuring out what was done on the good days compared to bad days because with shooting the answer is always is simple.

I think how to handle the bad days it the key. Toothguy points out he focuses on execution. So, in a sense to him the bad day he might be having isn't bad to him yet because he hasn't considered good or bad yet.

I start to think of the people who keep score during the match. It is a lot of fun to see who is winning but I think that's a distraction to good execution.

When I have less than desirable results I ask myself: What is getting in the way of shooting well? Am I actually screwing myself up somehow?

Sometimes the answer is that I haven't picked up a gun in a couple months.

There will always be errors, what they affect and how much they affect unrelated things later in time is up to me.

I believe if I do this correctly the "bad day" might just end up a "bad stage" or even just a "bad shot".

DNH

When I started shooting I had an emotional attachment to every shot. I would get pissed at myself for the bad shots and I was my elated at the good shots even if it was luck. I came across this guy that shot a revolver. He wasn't particularly fast but he was deliberate and shot like a robot, He almost never missed but when he did he showed no emotion no judgement to the shot. A good or bad shot never effected subsequent shots. He would beat many of the auto shooters even though they were faster. I still deal with the same issues but the more I am able to separate myself from anything that causes expectations the more consistent I shoot.

Thoughts of expectations, doubt, pride ect. will come into my mind if I'm not engaged in executing the shot plan.

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Toothguy,

One of the reasons I currently shoot revolver is because of those guys.

The revolver keeps you honest. There's nowhere to hide from a bad shot, you don't have the rounds to make up anything.

We have a guy here that consistently beats everyone except for the DM.

DNH

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Because we think too much.

I think that's it, but I would say that we can't stop thinking, so think about the things that add to the performance. Direct your attention to the present. Focus on executing your shot plan and your mind won't wander.

Edited by toothguy
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