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jkrispies

I need to get out of my own way... (Start Rituals)

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I shot a typical beginning of season crapfest today.

Every missed steel and slaughtered no-shoot was a mental mistake, pure and simple. Half the stages, I was in the zone and shot pretty well. The other half (especially the classifier!!!) I felt myself "being aware of what I was doing" and completely choked. This score report is going to be painful.

Lanny Bassham talks about having a routine that designates "this is the start of my game" to clear the mind. Think about the silly rituals that baseball players go through when they step into the batting box. Last season I had a routine of swapping through a Barney mag that I used when loading, but now I've changed that up due to a more efficient magazine system. I'm wondering if I should go back to that mag dance, or create a new ritual. Or maybe it's just shoot more matches to get my game face back on the for the season??? (Had some cancellations and missed matches so far, so haven't shot hardly at all since last November...) Argh...

Anybody have a ritual to share? I may be in need. (Sorry, dumb topic... just thinking outloud in an effort not to beat myself up, I guess...)

Edited by jkrispies

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I usually look at a target exhale, load my mag into my gun, cock hammer, rack slide, safety on, holster hold the gun exhale, remove hand and wait.

The one I can't stand is the guy who does hand to gun like 30 freaking times before they are ready like it ran away or something since the put it in the holster LOL

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Curious if you see a difference in performance on stages that force you out of the ritual, such as unloaded gun on barrel?

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my sports psychologist called this "keying". he wanted me to do the exact same thing every time before it was time to shoot. it didn't need to be a shooting specific thing. i could be a hand clap, a word, hat adjustment or whatever. but it is a very clear body signal to your body that it is time to begin and focus. the 'break' between being at the match and being iiinnn that match.

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Its not the ritual choreography of what you are doing. No extra points for using Mag2 to barney, left hand on belt, adjust hat, touch grip…….

Doing it is what is important. Don't get lost in the forest and for the sanity of us all it also doesn't need to be two minutes, it can be, but doesn't need to.

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my sports psychologist called this "keying". he wanted me to do the exact same thing every time before it was time to shoot. it didn't need to be a shooting specific thing. i could be a hand clap, a word, hat adjustment or whatever. but it is a very clear body signal to your body that it is time to begin and focus. the 'break' between being at the match and being iiinnn that match.

this is the same thing Lanny Bassem teaches with his mental program. It doesn't matter what the first step is as long as it is always the same since it singals the start of the mental program ...

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I always take a sight picture and trigger pull prior to loading the gun. If I can work through my first array of target I will. When I first started shooting USPSA I only shot SS. So I did the sight picture, loaded the gun, mag release, holster gun, top off mag and then get the gun out and reinsert mag. That was my standard until Prod, now I just do the sight picture. It lets me know that its now time to block everything else out and focus. If I hurry this ritual or don't do it I seem to mess up the stage each time.

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Here's the mental program I run before shooting a Steel Challenge stage ...

point of initiation: after stepping in the box I grip the gun while it is in the holster (this signals the start of the program)

point of attitude: I mentally rehearse shooting the entire stage with my eyes closed while maintaining a grip on the gun

point of direction: Next, I dryfire the entire stage once, making sure I see my sights on every target

point of focus: Finally, with my weak hand in the surrender position and my strong hand gripping the gun in the holster, I look at the first target I plan to shoot and say to myself " grip, eyes first" which is what I want my conscious mind to focus on while shooting

I then raise my strong hand into the surrender position and give a nod that I'm ready ....

For a USPSA stage the mental program is slightly different but with the same 4 elements ...

Edited by Nimitz

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Its not the ritual choreography of what you are doing. No extra points for using Mag2 to barney, left hand on belt, adjust hat, touch grip…….

Doing it is what is important. Don't get lost in the forest and for the sanity of us all it also doesn't need to be two minutes, it can be, but doesn't need to.

+1

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I get nervous right before a stage, and sometimes more than others from mere butterflies to fairly amped up. I don't have a pre-set ritual, but for some reason when the RO says "Stand by." All the stress just drops away. Happens every time, and I know I can count on it no matter how wound up I get walking to the line.

If my brain wasn't wired like this, I'd be all over a ritual. Anything to calm the mind.

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I get nervous right before a stage, and sometimes more than others from mere butterflies to fairly amped up. I don't have a pre-set ritual, but for some reason when the RO says "Stand by." All the stress just drops away. Happens every time, and I know I can count on it no matter how wound up I get walking to the line.

If my brain wasn't wired like this, I'd be all over a ritual. Anything to calm the mind.

Interesting. Brian says the same thing, that being nervous is irrelevant as long as you do not tense up. Matt Burkett had a nice piece of advice I use myself successfully. He will NOT stare at the targets or anything, and simply looks down at the ground after making ready, until the "are you ready command.' Then he breathes deeply and moves his eyes to the first target, thus avoiding both eye strain and getting tense. Also says if you can wiggle your toes at that point, you are not tense. A nice "routine" which has great benefits and no distractions.

Another thing I do, which I learned from Todd Jarret, is dropping my mag once or twice halfway out after making ready, to not only make sure it will come out (It could have been stepped on, etc) but also I find it gives my hands something to do which "warms" them up ready and coordinated right before the start signal. After not handling your gun for perhaps well over an hour between your shooting each stage, it helps get your coordination and confidence ready at the last moment. (I do NOT, Bill Seevers, test all 5 mags on my belt like Todd does during making ready, taking a lot of time and driving everyone crazy! HA!).

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I get nervous right before a stage, and sometimes more than others from mere butterflies to fairly amped up. I don't have a pre-set ritual, but for some reason when the RO says "Stand by." All the stress just drops away. Happens every time, and I know I can count on it no matter how wound up I get walking to the line.

If my brain wasn't wired like this, I'd be all over a ritual. Anything to calm the mind.

Interesting. Brian says the same thing, that being nervous is irrelevant as long as you do not tense up. Matt Burkett had a nice piece of advice I use myself successfully. He will NOT stare at the targets or anything, and simply looks down at the ground after making ready, until the "are you ready command.' Then he breathes deeply and moves his eyes to the first target, thus avoiding both eye strain and getting tense. Also says if you can wiggle your toes at that point, you are not tense. A nice "routine" which has great benefits and no distractions.

Another thing I do, which I learned from Todd Jarret, is dropping my mag once or twice halfway out after making ready, to not only make sure it will come out (It could have been stepped on, etc) but also I find it gives my hands something to do which "warms" them up ready and coordinated right before the start signal. After not handling your gun for perhaps well over an hour between your shooting each stage, it helps get your coordination and confidence ready at the last moment. (I do NOT, Bill Seevers, test all 5 mags on my belt like Todd does during making ready, taking a lot of time and driving everyone crazy! HA!).

Haha Did I say something about that one time?

Really as said its the idea of doing something, not the length of time you take doing it, that is important. In fact I think a lot of people who have 2 minute rituals really need to work on "match nerves" instead of rituals

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I guess I should probably update...

I've shot a handful of matches since starting this thread, and in the first one after writing this post I did my first stage and wasn't happy with it, then stepped into the box for the second stage, closed my eyes, and thought "Clear Mind" prior to the start. That seemed to do the trick, so I did it for the rest of the match and several more after. At a few stages, I've had to repeat it a few times, but overall it's a good one for me. The only time it got in my way was a classifier where I cleared my mind to the extent that I almost forgot a mandatory reload, lol. The only modification to this ritual that I'm thinking I'll need to work on is to do it with my hand on the gun until my mind is fully relaxed, and then I'll shift my hand to the appropriate start position to indicate to the RO that I'm prepared for the beep.

Thanks for the help, guys!

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Walk Stage

Formulate Plan

Visualize plan until time to shoot (I have never been a victim of over-visualization)

Visualize once more at LAMR

Change focus from the plan to execution by saying "Center the dot call the shot" while taking sight picture.

Center the dot, call the shot

It's still scary to set the plan aside, but I know that it works and I trust it completely.

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Make sure your visualization alwyas includes "shoot the center of each target."

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Make sure your visualization alwyas includes "shoot the center of each target."

This really resonates with me Brian. This Saturday, I shot 97.7% of possible points in a club match in Bozeman, MT which is probably as high an accuracy level as I have ever achieved. And my time was only 3 seconds behind a double GM who is very fast. I attribute this to a lot of emphasis on accuracy, and seeing every single shot in the match. A real eye opener for me. I have won the last 4 club matches I have shot (not the usual for me) so I think I have finally crossed the much desired threshold of shooting as fast as I can see, consistently. Been a long hard road getting here for me. We so often get hypnotized about speed so much that we forget to shoot well. I will shoot the VA/MD sectional in 2 weeks which should be a good test of my progress, as there will be top competition, including Phil Strader.

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Good work.

Stay sharp, and stick to your plan.

Yep. It is amazing yet ridiculous, that until now, I have NEVER actually known what my capabilities were, since I always sabotaged my match performances by "trying." Thanks Brian.

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Yep. It is amazing yet ridiculous, that until now, I have NEVER actually known what my capabilities were, since I always sabotaged my match performances by "trying." Thanks Brian.

This is a great breakthrough. A shooter with mental issues who trains ever harder without fixing the mental problem will never achieve this.

Congrats!

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Yep. It is amazing yet ridiculous, that until now, I have NEVER actually known what my capabilities were, since I always sabotaged my match performances by "trying." Thanks Brian.

This is a great breakthrough. A shooter with mental issues who trains ever harder without fixing the mental problem will never achieve this.

Congrats!

Steve- I found this out the hard way. Although I have been aware of the issue, I have for two years failed to figure out how to get out of my own way. I have repeatedly attempted to train and shoot my way to success over the mental game, making little progress despite my skills vastly improving during the same time frame. It really boiled down to honestly having confidence in my shooting, and the requisite "letting go" and trusting that my actual capability was good enough and fast enough.

Your new book, "Get To Work: The Practice of More Points Per Second" is a great source of information and has been instrumental in my finally achieving some success. Thanks!

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