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Match Focus : Serious or Loose


b1gcountry

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I shot a match last month where I was very focused. I spent a lot of time before my spot rehearsing the stages in my mind and getting focused and relaxed for my turn. I did ok.

This month I focused less on the shooting, and just gave myself one shooter's worth of stage prep and did much better.

What about it? Can you over focus and psyche yourself out, or was it just luck of the draw?

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I personally like to be as prepared as possible for the stage. I show up early, walk stages, use my 5 minutes then rehearse in my head until I'm up. It also takes a little extra planning shooting SS.

I don't think about results, my scores or who else is shooting, just focus on the process of executing my stage plan.

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one data point is not enough to draw any conclusions .... any 2 matches are completely different ... that being said .... I doubt you'll ever find a top shooter tell you the path to shooting greatness lies with being unfocused, unprepared & just shoot and see what happens ... :)

I treat every match like it was the Nationals. You can't expect to do well at big matches if you don't take matches seriously until you get to the big match ....

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I wasn't un focused at the last match, I just let myself loosen up between my spots. I still went into focus mode one or two shooters before my runs.

It is hard to do a 1:1 between these two matches especially because it was 100+ degrees at my match last month. I can't say how that affected me exactly, but it is likely it did.

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I find that my scores are much better if I truly focus on a stage. I shoot single stack, so there aren't really any extra bullets for make up shots and reloads need to be made at certain spots.

So, I do try to rehearse the stage as much as possible physically, then mentally while others are shooting. Every so often I will find myself in the shooters box thinking "I'm really not prepared for this" and my score will reflect it. It is usually because I was talking to friends before my turn and wasn't mentally focusing on shooting.

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I find that my scores are much better if I truly focus on a stage. I shoot single stack, so there aren't really any extra bullets for make up shots and reloads need to be made at certain spots.

So, I do try to rehearse the stage as much as possible physically, then mentally while others are shooting. Every so often I will find myself in the shooters box thinking "I'm really not prepared for this" and my score will reflect it. It is usually because I was talking to friends before my turn and wasn't mentally focusing on shooting.

+1 on all points above.

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While having focus and being mentally prepared for the stage, match, etc. is good, I believe there is a point where you can become too focused and it will start to negatively effect your performance. In the past, I was so concerned about beating so and so and telling myself I had to beat a certain time, that I would become almost hyper-focused. This situation negatively affected my shooting. Once I started running my own game plan and stopped focusing on everyone else and their scores, my performance greatly improved. You need to find the balance between focused and consumed.

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I don't believe you can ever be "too" focused .... however, as you discovered, you can easily focus on the wrong things with disasterous results .....

speaking of which, focusing on results is exactly what you never want to do ....

there is only the shooting, nothing else matters .... results always take care of themselves ....

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In the past, I was so concerned about beating so and so and telling myself I had to beat a certain time, that I would become almost hyper-focused.

This is the opposite of focus. True focus is a concentration on the awareness of surroundings and accomplishing the task at hand as efficiently as possible. The results will be whatever they will be.
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Actually, I would focus so hard on doing absolutely everything perfectly that I forgot to focus on just shooting. As Nimitz stated, I was focusing on the wrong things, which can be very detrimental. Theoretically, your subconscious should be able to take over and you can focus on your game plan and not on everything else.

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The more I cared about the outcome, the worse I shot. The less I cared about the outcome, the better I shot.

But ask yourself - what shouldn't I care about?

My performance? The results? Did I call every shot?

I found that I performed to my ability if I didn't care about anything at all. At that point you become more of a "witnesser" than a "performer." Just calmly watching, or witnessing, the activity as it unfolds.

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Last weekend I shot a very good match (for me) on 5 stages by just basically stepping to the line and doing what I needed to do without giving much thought to anything. My mind was pretty much blank as I shot, on autopilot based on my stage plan visualizatons.

The sixth stage was a convoluted design with two swingers. It took forever to re-set between shooters so the entire match was backed up on that stage at the end with my squad one of the last to go. After a 1.5 hour wait in 100 degree heat, nobody in my squad could concentrate when we stepped to the line. My shooting partner is an M, and he had enough sense to come up with a waaaay better stage plan than me, but then he failed to engage a target, which he NEVER does. As for me, I literally felt myself thinking in one array of three targets with a single no-shoot, "I need to focus so I don't tag the no-shoot," so of course I tagged that no-shoot.

For me, the match was a perfect affirmation of where my focus needs to be along with an example of what it shouldn't be. Good learning experience!

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