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Esther

Which is Harder - Overcoming Gobbling or Making GM?

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Damn. Awesome stuff here Esther. You are very lucky to get this feedback. I've been shooting for a while and that's awesome stuff from TGO.

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Rob - Thanks for clarifying. I'm re-allocating my ammo between practice and matches. Will report on my assignment. :)

I'm understanding, I think, what you meant by, "Grip gun MUCH tighter" and "Do not start aiming when you see [the gun] stop, shoot." I've been working on gripping hard not just with the fingers of my left hand, but with the palm as well (not letting my palm lose pressure as I transition between shots). And in my last match, there were times when I saw my sights linger on a target before I released a shot.

I made it to day 14 without mega gobbling. That is a new record for me by 5 days. And then I noticed that I was on day 14, and getting a little thin (my body hasn't quite figured out how much energy it needs when I'm not dousing it with tens of thousands of sugar calories every few days), and I've been feeling unsettled and a little anxious about our upcoming move back to California, and... I mega gobbled. Oh well. Onward, I guess.

I'm not one of those people who naturally goes with the flow and can move, or travel, or have a kid, without it upsetting them too much. I like to be in control, to know where I'm going to live long-term (hard when you're married to an academic), to have reliable Internet and access to healthy foods, time to exercise and write and sleep 9 hours a night. I've been reading about the Jews of Warsaw from 1939 (the start of the Nazi occupation) to 1943 (the Jewish uprising and final razing of the ghetto). I like reading about people who lived in extraordinary circumstances because it reminds me that people can get uprooted from their homes, lose their jobs, be forced to live 7 to a room in unsanitary conditions and on meager rations, and do it.

Maybe - certainly - with life, as with shooting, the changes I need to make are not what I want to work on. Having faith and living in the moment - accepting the things that are given to me right here, right now (like Rob Leatham posting in my range diary), being open to how I can give of myself right here, right now - are weaknesses, not strengths. But maybe, with practice, they will become strengths.

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You aren't weak, just judging yourself as such when you fail. I would say you are rather strong in many ways. Most people never confront and recognize their weaknesses as they fear the knowledge of self awareness. Making progress is more important than performing well. Constant progress in any endeavor will lead you to a better understanding of what is really important anyway. Remember that when the journey ends, let it be because you ran out of road, not gas.

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This advice kinda reminds me of the old kung-fu show where grasshopper asked his master how can you hear the grasshopper at my feet and the master says how is it that you can not... :-)

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Rob - That means a lot.

You aren't weak, just judging yourself as such when you fail. I would say you are rather strong in many ways. Most people never confront and recognize their weaknesses as they fear the knowledge of self awareness. Making progress is more important than performing well. Constant progress in any endeavor will lead you to a better understanding of what is really important anyway. Remember that when the journey ends, let it be because you ran out of road, not gas.

Rick88 - :)

I'm reading The Inner Game of Tennis. It took me a long time to get around to it even though everyone seems to recommend it on the forums. I had read With Winning in Mind a while back and thought it was OK. Like a lot of popular psychology and business books that have one major somewhat counter-intuitive idea that they spend 200 pages illustrating with examples (e.g., Malcolm Gladwell). So I figured IGoT would be more of the same. But I'm really liking it so far.

To me, IGoT is about how to learn a motor skill. Tim Gallwey sounds a lot like Brian (and Bo) do sometimes. Have your mind give your body the intention - the image or the feeling - of what it wants the body to do, and letting the body figure out its way of doing it.

I think that learning - and teaching - motor skills is very different from learning and teaching representational knowledge.* My main experience has been with academic/symbolic subjects, where the instruction and learning process is much more conscious. I don't think the best way to teach, say, algebra to most students is to have them visualize the right answer and have their body intuit their way to it. (Kids following what "feels right" is how they end up canceling the "2" in top and bottom of an expression like (2x + 1)/2.)

I've never really had to learn how to learn a motor skill before.**

In some ways, learning motor skills seems more similar to learning to draw and paint than it is to learning higher math. You (or at least I, when I draw) have an image in my mind that I'm constantly refining, and as I'm refining it, I keep comparing my in-progress drawing to the mental image and conforming it. Though, now that I think of it, writing poetry has a similar intuitive, "Self 2" feel to it. And I'm guessing that my friends who are really good chemists and theoretical physicists have a similar creative, not-entirely-dictated-by-the-conscious way of working. So maybe when you get deep enough into anything, ways of learning and exploring are more alike than not.

Or maybe not. I'm just thinking aloud here.

I also really like how Gallwey talks about observing "errors" without judging:

When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as "rootless and stemless." We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don't condemn it as immature or underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. [...] Similarly, the errors we make can be seen as an important part of the developing process.

* I struggled to find the right word here. I mean skills like math, physics, logic... in which the student is learning to manipulate symbols and think analytically.

** as a non-child. Obviously, I learned to walk - and later, ride a bike and swim. But I was very young, and I never strove for the same kind of excellence in those skills as I do in shooting.

Edited by Esther

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Chris Rhines is an awesome practice buddy.

Re: eating, from a PM:

I think sometimes it's hard because Max is the most disciplined (guy) eater I've ever met. He weighs his food, eats high protein, lots of chicken breasts, vegetables, very few starchy carbs. (Whereas, when I hang out with my range buddies, I feel like a pretty healthy eater even when I'm having dessert!*) I think that part of my development is/will be developing a way of eating that suits my temperament and body's needs. I guess it's like what Brian says about technique - you need to discover the way of shooting that works for *you* and *your* body and *your* personality and *your* gun. I don't like eating the same things all the time, I like carbs more than Max does, I probably have a faster metabolism, and I want to be balanced and happy as much as or more than I want to be fit and live as long as I possibly can if I ate perfectly all the time (Max wants to live forever -- but then, he's also an atheist so he doesn't think there's anything after this life).

* Some of my shooting buddies seem to treat beer as the base of the food pyramid. :P

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You make some really good points-if you think of food as the body's fuel, it's important to find the right mix for yourself. I get really frustrated sometimes with people offering unsolicited advice on what I "should" eat, even though their body type, age, activity level, etc. are different than mine. I think moderation and healthy stuff is the key. Sifu Feirerra put a clever little graphic on FB a few days ago, about people willing to pay $5 for a single drink at Starbucks, but thinking $5 for a dozen organic eggs is "expensive".

You have to have a treat now and then, and you also have to pay attention to how different foods affect your emotional state.

Love the comment about beer-so true of a lot of guys :-)

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"* Some of my shooting buddies seem to treat beer as the base of the food pyramid. :P"

You say that like its a bad thing?

Everything in moderation, including moderation

Oscar Wilde

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Tim - Getting the right fuel mix for your body is a good way to think about it.

Garyg19 - Well, I think that fat and happy is not a bad way to be, especially since I consistently get beat by some of those fat, happy, beer-drinking shooters. (I do think that being female generally adds (an) additional layer(s) to eating and body issues, though.)

Shot a fun match at Peacemaker on Saturday. Met Alma for the first time and got some good tips on stage planning (figure out which positions you can move through and, if possible, take farther/harder targets from places you have to make a hard stop at anyway). Video from one of the stages:

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Esther,

It was a lot of sun shooting with you and hope you end up back in the area so we can do it again sometime. You had some great performance on some very technically challenging and accuracy intensive stages and you should be extremely proud of yourself. I am glad you posted the video because it gives a lot more opportunity to analyze in depth whereas when I watched you live it looked very good (and still does) but I missed a few areas for you to consider.

In that first position you had to move your feet to get that last target on the right. One alternative for avoiding that "move" could have been to take one step forward as you were drawing your gun which should have given you a full view of those all of the targets there without having to move around as much. As we discussed, your mag changes look pretty good and are effective but there is a bit of room for improvement. You when you go to grab your magazine your hand stays down there on the mag for quite sometime. You need to see if you can make that a quick snatching motion rather than having the hand go down, get comfortable, and then finally come back up to finish the reload. I also noticed that it looks like you aren't starting your reload early enough which is what is causing the issue of not having it completed by the time you get into your new position. I sent you links to some of the videos which you were kind enough to shoot of me at the match and you will notice that as soon as I start moving my old magazine drops within one step of the shooting position and I have another one going towards the magwell. It might be that "two-step" thing again where some of your motions look very staccato and hopefully you can make those a bit more fluid. Finally, next time you get a chance for a dedicated practice session you should work on hitting targets similar to the ones on those middle positions while you are on the move. At a minimum you should have your gun training on them just before they become visible and be squeezing off shots just as they come into view and before you completely stop. Same thing goes for moving out of position. Your momentum should be starting backwards if you had a complete stop for some reason. I have no idea whether I was on the move or not when I shot those because I had some challenges of my own on that stage but I do know that ideally I shouldn't have completely stopped there.

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Alma - Thanks so much for the feedback! You, Ken, and Chris have helped me so much in refining my technique and stage breakdown. I am going to miss shooting with you guys!

I got to shoot one last Peacemaker match before heading back to California (on our road trip and in Wyoming now). Here is video from one of the stages:

I think it was C.S. Lewis who said that the devil liked to send errors into the world in pairs. I definitely feel that way in my struggle to overcome gobbling. On the one hand, gobbling sugar constantly, feeling sick and drugged and sluggish and gross, is not a good way to be. On the other hand, constantly watching what I eat and how many steps I take and trying to balance on the razor edge of my lowest healthiest weight and body fat percentage is miserable and frankly idolatrous.

The road trip so far has been challenging in terms of gobbling. I always feel unsettled around transitions, and I hate feeling cooped up, so some degree of gobbling isn't unexpected. But what feels like a huge relapse has made me realize what I had perhaps suspected (and feared) on some level - that my "progress" while in Virginia was based on a financial, emotional, and time commitment that was unsustainable.

I've written elsewhere about how the self-monitoring that many women do around eating, body-image, weight, and appearance is a constant headwind that detracts from achievement in things that really matter - shooting, for example. :) I want to be not addicted but also to have a relaxed attitude about eating - to have a few truffles or French fries without feeling guilty, to not mind if I am a few pounds heavier than I could ideally be for this sport (because not being lean enough is hardly what is keeping me from GM).

I've often admired people who subordinate everything to the pursuit of one thing that really matters. Monks and nuns who strive to simply be in the presence of God, artists who shape themselves into instruments worthy of conveying the vision they see, athletes who sacrifice comfort and leisure to perform to their potential... In my life, I've wanted to: 1) be a sign of the living God, 2) convey beauty and feeling as an artist, and, more recently, 3) to shoot really fast and accurately. 2) and 3) are not incompatible and are to some extent subsumed in 1).

I want to seek first the kingdom of God and let everything - shooting, eating, writing, Max - fall into place, but (perhaps like most humans?) I constantly find myself stuck on a local maximum. Being thin and fit and healthy, for example, but forgetting to love others as myself.

I'm not sure if this is what Bruce Lee meant by "all goals apart from the means are an illusion," but the way I understand the quote, it's that any goal, no matter how worthy in itself - excellence in shooting, art, even in loving another person or raising a family - is nothing if not undertaken in the right spirit. That is what makes overcoming gobbling AND making GM so incredibly hard. But it is also what makes both of those goals, any (non-stupid or evil) goal, a potential particular path to something much, much more.

Edited by Esther

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Esther, good shooting, but I noticed the gun isn't recoiling hard enough and somebody needs to chrono your ammo, make sure you're reaching PF. :P

Your Virginia "homeostasis" is thrown off and you're wanting to find your sweet spot. After the transition, you'll be able to establish your routines and get back into a groove that will assist you in your goal of reducing and eliminating your gobbles. Be like water and adapt. It fills and takes shape of whatever container it is put in.

Sometimes we are not capable of doing things in the time constraints we give ourselves and our timetables we set aren't met sometimes. Life plans aren't always what we thought they would be either RE our conversation from the other week.

A recent message at church focused on this aspect, "perfect timing." In short, God has a bigger plan for us and He also has His own timetable on when that will happen. That always makes me feel tiny and insignificant due to not being in control, but the path that has been set before me is so far out of left field that I never considered being an elementary PE teacher. And I'm extremely surprised that I ENJOY being around the little kids. I know that you've been down a few different paths in your life going from your different programs of study and professional experiences. Just because you're not sure what path you are on right now isn't a bad thing, God put you where He wants you to be.

Edited by GreenDragon64

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One nice thing about shooting is that it will always be there waiting and doesn't mind of you occasionally put it aside to focus on other priorities. I had 8 years off to dedicate to my family. Other than knocking off the rust from my guns and skills I think making new shooting friends was the most difficult aspect of competition shooting for me to get back into. Although we only shot a few times I think you for being my friend and wish you well on your next adventure. I am someone who has always lived by simple faith as well. I think much of happiness is learning to appreciate and be happy and thankful for your circumstances as they are while always keeping one eye open and being receptive to taking new and perhaps unexpected directions when you presented with the right opportunities.

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Esther, how "tightly wound" are you? Obviously, I have no where near the expertise of some of the folks on this thread, but, paired with your feelings about "hosing", is letting go something you struggle with?

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Tyler - Thanks for reminding me that I'll feel less gobbly (I already do, except on days when I have long drives and/or lots of makeup clients) once I establish a new California homeostasis. I know you can empathize with how it feels to have your work and education experience all over the map - I'm glad that we can see how each other's stories turn out in real time. :)

Alma - Thanks for that. I'm thankful to have you as a friend too! :)


I think much of happiness is learning to appreciate and be happy and thankful for your circumstances as they are while always keeping one eye open and being receptive to taking new and perhaps unexpected directions when you presented with the right opportunities.

Very true. I remember Paul Buchheit (creator of Gmail) saying that's how he ended up at Google and met his wife, and that being present and open to serendipity was the fun way to live.

Bradley - Very interesting way to look at it. Come to think of it, yes, "letting go" is something that pushes me out of my comfort zone, in life and in shooting. Which means I need to do more of it. :)

Move is done, new revenue streams are found; time to resume shooting!

One of my strengths as a shooter is, I think, identifying people who are not only good at shooting but also good at getting good, and not being shy about being a nuisance.

On Tuesday I practiced movement with Andre at Richmond. He noticed that when moving forward at the start, I was placing my weight on my front leg, which meant that I was shifting weight back to spring-load before I started moving forward. Placing my weight on my back leg (while still leaning forward) saved almost a second on a moving start to a close array!

Yesterday I practiced transitions with David in Oakdale. We started with three targets spread widely apart and close (to us) and gradually moved back as the sun went down and the shaded part of the bay lengthened. Rob - you are right that at this point, I benefit most from being able to try different things in practice and "fail" without consequence.

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On Tuesday I practiced movement with Andre at Richmond. He noticed that when moving forward at the start, I was placing my weight on my front leg, which meant that I was shifting weight back to spring-load before I started moving forward. Placing my weight on my back leg (while still leaning forward) saved almost a second on a moving start to a close array!

Also try weight on your forward foot, then lift to fall forward as you start your movement. Falling is fast, but if you can push off against something then I think this is the way to go!

And how is the post-it note dry fire coming?

Edited by Moltke

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