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Pre stage mental rituals?


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Ok, to all you Pros out there, this one is for you. I have maybe a stupid question, but its a question I need help on. What are you looking for, trying to accomplish, and what should you include in a pre stage ritual, pre shoot ritual. Trying to form my own and just wanted to see some of your advice on things. I have read Brian's book, and Ben Stoeger's book, so I am educated as to what they are saying, just wanted to get some more advice from other people. The more advice the better.

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I'm not a "Pro" just yet, but over the years the following has addressed some of the common match screw-ups:


1. Unload all magazines used in the previous stage

2. If a magazine dropped to the ground, dis-assemble and clean it

3. Reload all magazines to capacity

4. Make sure you have enough ammunition on your belt to recover from a multiple magazine problem

5. Verify the round count of the upcoming stage

6. Verify your stage plan has accounted for all targets / steel

At "Make Ready"

1. Draw and verify that the dot is on and is set to the correct intensity

2. Rack the slide to verify is is correctly lubricated and still moves smoothly (cracked ones don't)

3. Load the gun

4. Check that there is a round in the chamber

5. Drop the magazine and verify that the top round has not crept forward, reset as necessary

6. Visualize the stage plan one more time

7. Get comfortable, relax

8. Assume the start position

9. Take a deep breath and slowly let it out

10. Draw / Move at the very beginning of the beep


Edited by BillChunn
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  • 1 month later...

The content of your "ritual" isint nearly as important as the consistency and focus you apply.

There are requisite tasks (loading) and tasks aiding mental preparation (I shake out my arms and exhale for exactly 3 seconds, serves no purpose other than to prepare my conscious mind to STFU) combining the requisite with the mental in a precise repeatable manner is a good start.

Lanny Bashams book "with winning in mind" has a chapter on pre shot ritual. You can adapt / develop that content into something that works for you.

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I am certainly no pro but mine follows Bills almost exactly. The only thing I do differently is after loading the gun I take a loaded sight picture so I can feel the weight of the gun with the mag. I like to have that in my memory. I like to keep mine close to that because I can not tell you how many people I have seen forget to turn on their dot.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I walk a stage no less than a half dozen times. Then before make ready I have visually run the stage in my head no less than a dozen times. After make ready I keep my hand on my gun in the holster ( so the RO/SO knows I am not Ready ) and go over the stage one last time mentally. This allows me to shoot the stage subconsciously basically in auto pilot.

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Cock it, Lock it, and Rock it?

If your talking about when you come to the line I try not to take all day once there. What I will do is get a good draw and sight picture on far away plate or the first few targets. Load up the gun and make sure that a round chambered. I also leave my hand on the gun until I'm ready as a signal to the RO and just to give me the warm and fuzzy of where my guns at lol. Remove gun, take a deep breath and go.

When I get done shooting the stages, I.E before I shot the next stage, I'm doing several things but its always the same. Grab all my used mags and unload and clean if need be. Top them all off and put them where they go, either on my belt or back in my bag. Pretty simple.

While I'm not resetting the stage I'm pretty much visualizing what I need to be doing on the stage over and over again.

In my opinion you just need to be consistent. When your consistent you don't forget things or think your forgetting something.

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Ive bought Mike Seeklanders books and i find myself going back to the mental side of the books and sport.

During my walkthrough i gather my game plan, which targets to shoot from one spot, reloads etc etc.

Then while waiting for my turn i visualize myself running my game plan, then visualize myself running as if i was part of the onlookers.

When im up to bat, i look at stage and get a flash image of where ill step, reload, move etc etc.

I hear beep and the next thing i hear is "if you are finished...."

I truely believe this works for me. Up until last weekend ive had 1 stage win in a year of shooting and saturday i had 3 of 6 stages. Not a big deal to some experienced shooters but it is proof of what im doing is paying off.

The bad is the inconsistancy...the other 3 stages it felt like the wheels fell off compared to the other 3. 100% my fault, i suppose it was the lack of importance in using the method after seeing a stage that was very vanilla. Not an excuse, just seeing what i did do wrong and work to fix it.

After im done shooting i walk back to my stuff, clean mags if need be, top off and check holster screws to make sure they didnt move out. After that i know my gear is good, no need to worry about it for the next stage and i can get back in to tape, RO,or score.

I initially joined this sight for the cool upgrades, guns, gear etc, but have quickly turned to reading more about the mental side of the sport. Its addicting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I like to prep all my gear when I have 2 shooters in front of me and then mentally go through the stage. When I'm on deck, I'll try to relax and start some deep breathing and calm both my mind and body. I'll walk through as the targets are being scored and go back to the start position. At make ready, I load up and take another deep breath and release all the tension in my body and stop thinking about anything, which is the hard part. Then hopefully the body takes over as rehearsed.

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