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JesseM

The Thrill Is Gone. Struggling to find the fun.

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I got Lanny Basshams book "with winning in mind " it is a must read and it's relevance is in everything we do in life.

I like many others here cannot recommend this book enough, I have also got Brians book and Steve Andersons "refinement and repitition". The reason I have these books is two fold one I wanted to shoot at a level or reach a level that I was happy with plus the mental game for me has been a killer from time to time across all spheres of life.

Many of us are never happy at any level we are shooting at because we never focus on what we did really well at and continue to reinforce the crap.

I have other hobbies that take a lot of time and on a fine warm day it is difficult to decide whether to shoot or get out on the highway on the old Night Train and just ride. I like all of us here have the potential and resources to go as far as I want to in shooting but I'm not yet willing to give up other aspects of my life which I enjoy to dedicate to shooting. I'm being honest here if I really really wanted to get to the top I would sell the bike, cut back on other areas of life so I would then have the time and money to channel into the sport.

I'm not willing to do that yet and I'm not going to beat myself up over that. I used to spend 14 hours a day with my dog and I enjoyed this more than any other sport or hobby - shooting did not even come close to it.

You need to honestly ask yourself why are you shooting and what do you get out of it and where do you want to go with it?

Did I say read Lanny Basshams " with winning in mind"

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I have other hobbies that take a lot of time and on a fine warm day it is difficult to decide whether to shoot or get out on the highway on the old Night Train and just ride.

Dude, easy solution--RIDE TO THE MATCH! :goof:

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I am just a Joe Average shooter so take this for what it is worth. What you are suffering from is the destructive impact of ego. In this sense I mean ego as the expectations your inner voice puts on you. You have said that even as you struggle with your shooting now it is still clearly better than when you started, but you were having fun when you started. What has changed is your ego now tells you that you should be able to do this or that, shoot a higher percentage than you did last month, that THIS time you better not screw up on the steel, that you should be a "insert next higher class here" shooter, that you are too good a shooter to have 3 mikes and a NS on that stage.

Not a single word of that is the truth. Ever. However you shoot on that day is exactly how good a shooter you are that day. You just now have an expectation of how well you should do. This means you are now not shooting because you like to shoot but rather to meet some artificial goal you have established, normally at the very best level you have ever shot or even better. In small doses this isn't bad but when it becomes the reason we shoot it is often the path to discontent.

I've been where you are. I tried taking a break but when I came back i thought that I was refreshed so should do better. I switched divisions but then thought I should be doing better in the new division that the old one. I trained hard with the best in the sport thinking if I improved to the next level I would be happy. Didn't happen.

What finally made the difference is when I realized if I just went out to shoot as well as I could without expectation or attachment I started having fun again. A lot more fun. I had come back to the mindset I had when I started this sport. Every time I stray from this approach my level of enjoyment starts to drop.

This may not be a popular approach among the really great shooters as you might not reach your ultimate potential, whatever that is, but as you stated this is a hobby for me and I pursue hobbies for enjoyment. I am happy to say I really enjoy this one.

That's really good.

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I am just a Joe Average shooter so take this for what it is worth. What you are suffering from is the destructive impact of ego. In this sense I mean ego as the expectations your inner voice puts on you. You have said that even as you struggle with your shooting now it is still clearly better than when you started, but you were having fun when you started. What has changed is your ego now tells you that you should be able to do this or that, shoot a higher percentage than you did last month, that THIS time you better not screw up on the steel, that you should be a "insert next higher class here" shooter, that you are too good a shooter to have 3 mikes and a NS on that stage.

Not a single word of that is the truth. Ever. However you shoot on that day is exactly how good a shooter you are that day. You just now have an expectation of how well you should do. This means you are now not shooting because you like to shoot but rather to meet some artificial goal you have established, normally at the very best level you have ever shot or even better. In small doses this isn't bad but when it becomes the reason we shoot it is often the path to discontent.

I've been where you are. I tried taking a break but when I came back i thought that I was refreshed so should do better. I switched divisions but then thought I should be doing better in the new division that the old one. I trained hard with the best in the sport thinking if I improved to the next level I would be happy. Didn't happen.

What finally made the difference is when I realized if I just went out to shoot as well as I could without expectation or attachment I started having fun again. A lot more fun. I had come back to the mindset I had when I started this sport. Every time I stray from this approach my level of enjoyment starts to drop.

This may not be a popular approach among the really great shooters as you might not reach your ultimate potential, whatever that is, but as you stated this is a hobby for me and I pursue hobbies for enjoyment. I am happy to say I really enjoy this one.

Dude it's like you're inside my head. You just nailed it completely. I have this voice inside my head and some other shooters telling me how I should have done X different/better.

I was talking with a friend that flys RC planes at a competitive level, won nationals last year. I was talking with him about it and he said I need to go away long enough that I enjoy doing it again and that he gets the same way. He takes the winter off from training, he just flys to fly not to work on anything specifically.

I might say screw it, bust out the lederhosen for this weekend's match and just have a laugh.

Edited by JesseM

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Lederhosen?

Prost!

Well, yes, very good writeup Neomet!

@JesseM:

In my opinion you are not sick of shooting, you are sick of the pressure, that you and your surrounders built up.

Change something.

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I have been going through the expectations trap recently, but I think I am coming out of it. I am trying to stop thinking about score percentages and starting to think about performing tasks. I have some control over how well I perform a specific task, but I have no control over the winner's hit factor. I'm not wasting any more energy on the things that I can't influence.

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Try going out to the range by yourself with a pile of ammo and smash that steel and drill those alphas, and you will walk away pumped and excited. Shoot a couple of hundred plus rds at least doing this. Trust me this works wonders.

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Lederhosen?

Prost!

Well, yes, very good writeup Neomet!

@JesseM:

In my opinion you are not sick of shooting, you are sick of the pressure, that you and your surrounders built up.

Change something.

You're completely right. I need to stop trying to win and stop letting that pressure get to me.

Yeah well it's either lederhosen or the kilt and Oktoberfest having just finished recently and the fact that it's looking like rain for this match leather pants seems to make sense to me.

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You should shoot for your fun, not for results and not for others.

When I did precision shooting it was never good enough.

I knew that I can reach two rings more here and five rings more there, but I never made it in competition.

So I lost all my fun in competition shooting, being nervous before and through the match and being frustrated after the match - which was before the next match.

I was too shooting in a very ambitioned team, where everyone looked on the fingers of his neighbour.

That´s the way I lost my fun there.

When I say "change something" I rather mean change the people you shoot with or go for a different discipline and so on.

Otherwise you may not come out of this turning wheel.

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I take what I call "Winter Break" every year!!! I won't shoot any matches between November-January. I may hit the range for a little practice here or there though. I am usually spending my time snowboarding, on other hobbies, and on trying to stay in shape during the holidays. When I come back to the matches in February, I feel refreshed and ready. I am ususually very excited to shoot matches and practice at this time.

I have done this for the past 3 years and never feel like I have gotten worse. In fact, most people assume I have been practicing like crazy or shooting elsewhere because I shoot well, if not better then usual..

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Jesse,

I got up and went to my first match in over 4 months yesterday. It was fun, lots of fun and I picked up HOA in Limited as a bonus. Keep in mind, I haven't even dry fired in months so maybe the break did me some good. I had absolutely no expectations other than to have a good time with my friends. And I did.......

Give it a try.

Trace

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Lederhosen?

Prost!

Well, yes, very good writeup Neomet!

@JesseM:

In my opinion you are not sick of shooting, you are sick of the pressure, that you and your surrounders built up.

Change something.

You're completely right. I need to stop trying to win and stop letting that pressure get to me.

Yeah well it's either lederhosen or the kilt and Oktoberfest having just finished recently and the fact that it's looking like rain for this match leather pants seems to make sense to me.

You do not have to win to feel a victory...

Right now your problem is pressure. Think of steps to alleviate that pressure, than do those things. and have fun. Basically have a plan, before you go to a match! You shoot better when you are relaxed. Physiologically your muscles, brain and all the rest of the systems required to shoot well, work better when in a relaxed state.

Having a match that you had a lot of fun at, may just be the remedy for the funk that you are in.. and thus becoming an internal victory..

I guess the main thing is to stay positive, and learn from the experience and don't give up. Giving up is the easy route! Sometimes the easy route is not always the best..

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Jesse,

I got up and went to my first match in over 4 months yesterday. It was fun, lots of fun and I picked up HOA in Limited as a bonus. Keep in mind, I haven't even dry fired in months so maybe the break did me some good. I had absolutely no expectations other than to have a good time with my friends. And I did.......

Give it a try.

Trace

Nice work!

:cheers:

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Ah I felt this a few months back. We focus too much on the match and not the fun. I took time off from shooting without stopping the shooting! I have made it a point in the last three matches to bring new shooters with me.

It help me focus on making the match fun from them, focusing on fundamentals and just playing the game with safety and accuracy in mind.

I revisited a guerrilla steel match just this last weekend with 3 fairly new shooters and it was A Complete BLAST!

Really I didn't get to your level but understand that when you get too engrossed with your hobby it stops being fun. Try introducing a buddy to the sport and I bet their enthusiasm will rub off.

Edited by jonb.

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I think we all get like this sometime. I got really heavy into 3 gun, and was spending more time and energy on that than eating. I would go to the range and run drills, beat myself up, and I wasn't having a good time of it. This year I had a lot happen in my life, all good (but time consuming). A new job, a cross country move, a new life with a good woman. I have gone from shooting a match and a practice a week and working some national 3 gun stuff to just plinking at the local matches. I actually walked away from a steel match because I wasn't having fun.

I made the decision to not shoot anything major all yeah but a night zombie match. The ammo crunch, not loading, my old press always breaking, not having time to practice, all this life stuff took a toll for sure. I was just not enjoying even our little matches, and would pass them up to spend time with the family or just relax at home. Well I just had that night match. The kind of match that let me wear night vision goggles for a while. Sure, some Masters and greats were there, but I hadn't fired a rifle round in 10 months or practiced reloading a shotgun in a year. I'm not a night guy (bed time is 9!) and we got 3 inches of rain, turned everything into a muddy mess, and I just shot for fun. You know what, I had a blast! wasn't worried about anything but dropping gear into muck that would eat it forever. Didn't care how I placed, and just enjoyed the bullshitting that goes with a night match on halloween.

I shot well, with a clear head. My GF was there and watched and tended gear in the rain (keeper, right?) and said she could see that I was relaxed but focused, and when I did, I burned the stages down pretty well. Seeing my name at 4am on the same sheet as the first place winners made me realize that I love to shoot, I enjoy it, and I don't have to win to be happy. Top 3 shooters had everyone's time beat by like 60 seconds, and I know I don't want to and I'm not willing to devote my life to get there. but I will certainly enjoy shooting with them in the mean time.

Now I'm back to looking at this forum, practicing my dry fire, dremeling guns to try and get the most out of them, and I'm excited to load and shoot. It's a nice change, for sure. Maybe that's what you need, maybe not, but it's worth a shot.

Life is too short to be anything but happy... :cheers:

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I have had a similar year and although everyone is different I believe Neomet speaks truth. For me, I shoot best when I'm in an empty mind state,( not my usual empty headed state) and thoughts of well anything really get in the way. So thinking I should win this round or this guy is out of my league or I really sucked the last round or whatever just get in the way. I like to shoot well and would prefer to shoot well and lose then shoot crappy and win. That is just me. . Doing anything at a very high level takes effort and commitment. I haven't put in the effort to take my shooting to the next level, how can I be upset that I haven't improved?

Some prefer winning, but as a previous poster said, you can only control your own efforts not the results of them.

I hope for the transcendent moments when I AM the front sight and time is slow and the plates are falling down almost by magic.

That's why I shoot and I don't want anything to get in the way of that.

Pete

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I have shot three matches this year. (Reasons I won't go into but it is 90% physical 10% mental.) One pistol match, one shotgun match, one rifle match. The only one I enjoyed was the rifle match which was also the most recent. I also worked a match for 5 days without shooting it. It was a job not a good time.

I am prepping for another rifle match in a week or so and them I am taking a break until spring except for occasional range days by myself.

I have taken breaks before and come back to shoot as much as I could. This time, I will be back but but I have decided I will shoot maybe one match a month or less and if the enjoyment is not there, I will do something else. I see no sense in prepping,driving a couple hours each way and not enjoying the day. This is supposed to be fun.

Decide what you want out of it, decide how to get what you want, and do it. Read my sig line because that is where I am. Maybe ot is time you adjusted also.

No matter what you decide, make sure it is what is best for you and your family and you have my best wishes.

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I have been in a shooting funk for about 6 month. Did a lot of dry firing using Steve Anderson’s book. I did improve, but also realized how much more work I need to do. I have gone from shooting 200 rounds a week to maybe 100 rounds every 2 weeks. Even buy a new gun did not help!

I hope you get your motivation back again.

Ed

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As others have said, This is a hobby. It is supposed to be fun and exciting. Once you make it chore you might not enjoy it as much. Have fun with it and do something different. Grab your subcompact carry gun and run that. Try shooting a fun gun. When I feel a funk coming on and just want to have fun I either go super small (carry) or big (1911). Either is fun and a blast, not saying I don't enjoy shooting my tupperware gun.

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For me, when the practice becomes work and is no longer enjoyable, but something I must do. I take a break.

It's healthy to be concerned about your performance at a match. Just not to the point it infringes on the fun. If it's an actual job, then you have to be professional about it. Most of us are lucky, it's not a job.

It's time to take a break when you can't laugh about your latest match. Because the next match may be the best, or worst, you've ever shot. I want my buddies to want to be buds when I've had my worst match ever. Nobody but me needs to know I'm upset.

When the anguish takes precedence over the desire to use that last bad match to get better I'll back off.

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I sometimes feel this way in my line of work, in which I have a lot of freedom. When that happens every handful of years or so, I make some major change. Then my brain goes about trying to become my personal best at that new perspective to my same job.

If I ever get to that point in my shooting (I am very new still and haven't gotten the least bit bored yet), I'll probably just look at my safe and take out a different gun to shoot with. Or buy a new gun. If 1911, go Glock, or vice versa. How about revolver (oh kill me now!)?

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It happens. When it happened to me I was shooting limited, so I went and got an Open gun. I still like and compete with my limited gun, but the Open gun is my stress relief. Thanks.

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About a year into my initial training for USPSA my some time coach asked me if I ever just shot for fun. I was, am still am, training 3x/week plus 2-3 matches/month. I thought about it and the answer was "no". He looked at me and said, you need to just go shoot for fun from time to time. Only you can define what that is for you. For me it's the monthly 3-gun match where I get to shoot my Benelli race shotgun, CQB rifle with a red dot sight and my USPSA pistol with full mags ... I just go as fast as i possibly can and never lok at the score because it just doesn't matter ..... That has kept me from not getting bored with a the training I do ...

Edited by Nimitz

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It is good to take time off and do something different and then come back to it after a few months or a year.

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