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How to focus better?

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I've noticed that the biggest thing slowing me down in transition is that my eyes get distracted instead of focusing exactly where I want them. Any tips other than just drilling it in during dry fire?

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Define distracted in this context.

 

You end up simply focusing on the entire big brown thing? You look at the shiny white noshoot instead? Hey, look, Squirrel!

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58 minutes ago, MemphisMechanic said:

Define distracted in this context.

 

You end up simply focusing on the entire big brown thing? You look at the shiny white noshoot instead? Hey, look, Squirrel!

 

Just anything other than the center of the A zone. Could be distracted by the recoil, front sight, next target, etc.

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3 hours ago, my00wrx1 said:

Does this happen in dry fire as well?

 

Yes. 

 

I'm not talking about large distractions. I'd imagine that everyone has difficulty really focusing their vision exactly where it needs to be every shot.

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Practice focusing your attention by spending about 20-30 minutes a day sitting in a quiet place and just paying attention, on purpose, to your breathing.  Don't worry if your attention momentarily wonders away from the breathing. That happens. The important thing is to be able to re-direct your attention back to the breathing.

 

The ability to deliberately place our attention where we want is an important skill to learn. It is the basis for executing The Fundamentals. It also has many, many benefits that go beyond shooting.

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Train this in practice until it becomes an automatic skill.

 

First, to define the goal. Keep your eyes or focus moving - you only pause long enough to - see what you need to see for every shot to know you hit the target without seeing the hit (or hearing the ding). Visually, you don't care about anything else.

 

Think of what you are doing visually as shifting points or areas of focus. Say you are shooting two shots on each of four targets placed between 7 and 25 yards.

 

At the buzzer you are looking right at the A-box perfs on the first target. During the draw your focus is coming back to pick up the sight alignment. After the second shot fired and you know it was in the center of the target, immediately shift your focus to the next target's A-box perfs. Maintain that focus until you peripherally see the sights coming into that area - transfer that focus from the target to the sights and keep it there until the second shot fires. Repeat that process for every target. If the target is too far to see the perfs, your target focus becomes looking right at the center of the target.

 

To sum up, there is never a moment when you are not consciously directing your focus from one specific area to the next specific area. That has to become a shooting way of life.

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2 hours ago, benos said:

If the target is too far to see the perfs, your target focus becomes looking right at the center of the target.

Brian - Not trying to hijack the thread but I do not understand this part. One's attention is not on the sight alignment (front sight) but the target? This would typically be a long shot  and taking one's attention off the front sight means one does not keep the gun aligned on the target.

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12 hours ago, lgh said:

... but I do not understand this part ...

 

I read it again this morning. Now I get it. You are referring to step one - i.d. the target - and not suggesting the OP neglect the front sight.

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I used spray contact cement to stick with paper plates to the a zone. seems to have helped my focus /center. Instead of just brown.

 

 

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On 9/10/2017 at 5:07 PM, barebones1 said:

I used spray contact cement to stick with paper plates to the a zone. seems to have helped my focus /center. Instead of just brown.

 

 

I like that trick!  For my practice, I black out everything but the center A zone, because, well, what else is there to shoot at? :)

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During off season, we regularly shoot at A5 / half of US Letter - old printouts, stapled on top of A zone. It’s on the the paper or doesn’t count. Not exactly a direct help against distractions but clearly defines POA. Bonus - just staple next paper on top an paste errors only.

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Train this in practice until it becomes an automatic skill.
 
First, to define the goal. Keep your eyes or focus moving - you only pause long enough to - see what you need to see for every shot to know you hit the target without seeing the hit (or hearing the ding). Visually, you don't care about anything else.
 
Think of what you are doing visually as shifting points or areas of focus. Say you are shooting two shots on each of four targets placed between 7 and 25 yards.
 
At the buzzer you are looking right at the A-box perfs on the first target. During the draw your focus is coming back to pick up the sight alignment. After the second shot fired and you know it was in the center of the target, immediately shift your focus to the next target's A-box perfs. Maintain that focus until you peripherally see the sights coming into that area - transfer that focus from the target to the sights and keep it there until the second shot fires. Repeat that process for every target. If the target is too far to see the perfs, your target focus becomes looking right at the center of the target.
 
To sum up, there is never a moment when you are not consciously directing your focus from one specific area to the next specific area. That has to become a shooting way of life.

Awesome post Brian. Thank you. I wonder, would this be something that would help correct the mysterious mike? I have a tendency to experience surprise mikes during a match. Im in the hunt in other areas like raw time and accuracy - excluding the mikes of course but the mikes drop me down quite a bit in the standings. I’ve been exploring the Steve Anderson match mode concept in dry fire where he suggests you simply work to maintain your focus on an array at normal match pace over increasing periods of time and am wondering if these two approaches are getting at the problem in different ways? That is, a loss of focus during stage execution resulting in a Mike due to say coming of a target early or pulling the trigger before gaining an acceptable sight picture. Interested in your thoughts as it’s been an illusive problem.


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That is, a loss of focus during stage execution resulting in a Mike due to say coming of a target early or pulling the trigger before gaining an acceptable sight picture

 

 

You've accurately described the reason or the source of the mysterious Mike. Shoot some stages where you consciously back down 5 - 10% off the pace that you'd typically shoot at. The goal being - there is never a moment that you are not fully aware of what you are aware of. Just calmly cruising along... Seeing everything you need to see to call each shot. 

 

The next time you have a mysterious Mike, search your memory for the stage and see if you can find a "blank spot" - just a brief moment when there was not a sense of certainty about what you did or did not see.

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On 9/6/2017 at 5:48 PM, benos said:

Train this in practice until it becomes an automatic skill.

 

First, to define the goal. Keep your eyes or focus moving - you only pause long enough to - see what you need to see for every shot to know you hit the target without seeing the hit (or hearing the ding). Visually, you don't care about anything else.

 

Think of what you are doing visually as shifting points or areas of focus. Say you are shooting two shots on each of four targets placed between 7 and 25 yards.

 

At the buzzer you are looking right at the A-box perfs on the first target. During the draw your focus is coming back to pick up the sight alignment. After the second shot fired and you know it was in the center of the target, immediately shift your focus to the next target's A-box perfs. Maintain that focus until you peripherally see the sights coming into that area - transfer that focus from the target to the sights and keep it there until the second shot fires. Repeat that process for every target. If the target is too far to see the perfs, your target focus becomes looking right at the center of the target.

 

To sum up, there is never a moment when you are not consciously directing your focus from one specific area to the next specific area. That has to become a shooting way of life.

So, what you have describe is the eye focus transition, move to new target focus, then change to incoming sight focus?

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Yes. See the target (perfs if you can), then back to the sights as the come into the target, stay on the sights until you call the second shot, then shift the focus to the next target, and repeat. The key being that you knew you saw the target before the sights appeared on it.

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4 hours ago, benos said:

 

 

 

You've accurately described the reason or the source of the mysterious Mike. Shoot some stages where you consciously back down 5 - 10% off the pace that you'd typically shoot at. The goal being - there is never a moment that you are not fully aware of what you are aware of. Just calmly cruising along... Seeing everything you need to see to call each shot. 

 

The next time you have a mysterious Mike, search your memory for the stage and see if you can find a "blank spot" - just a brief moment when there was not a sense of certainty about what you did or did not see.

 

Wow!!! This is gold. I believe I have also heard this described as match mode as well. Everything just sounds cooler coming from Brain.

 

Take this one to the bank people!

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Wow!!! This is gold. I believe I have also heard this described as match mode as well. Everything just sounds cooler coming from Brain.
 
Take this one to the bank people!

Going to go dig out my worn copy of Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals, right now.


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That is, a loss of focus during stage execution resulting in a Mike due to say coming of a target early or pulling the trigger before gaining an acceptable sight picture
 
 
You've accurately described the reason or the source of the mysterious Mike. Shoot some stages where you consciously back down 5 - 10% off the pace that you'd typically shoot at. The goal being - there is never a moment that you are not fully aware of what you are aware of. Just calmly cruising along... Seeing everything you need to see to call each shot. 
 
The next time you have a mysterious Mike, search your memory for the stage and see if you can find a "blank spot" - just a brief moment when there was not a sense of certainty about what you did or did not see.

Yes. I definitely experience “ blank spots”. Will certainly be experimenting with your suggestions. Thanks again.


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Great input in this thread.  Is there a way to follow a thread for new replies and to keep in a place to reference other than replying to it and getting notifications of further responses?  

 

Posting something relevant too :)...  

 

Brief story on something that just happened to me that provided an "aha moment" and an immediate "that Enos guy is a freaking wizard!" thought.

I was shooting a practice session where we blacked out all of the target except the lower A zone on 4 targets and shot 4 per (oddly, not a target set up I've shot much at all).  Initially running the drill I was shooting at a pace I knew that I could shoot at that distance (roughly 10 yds) and get all alphas but I was still throwing multiple mikes.  I took a break to reload and relaxed and analyzed what I was seeing and not seeing as well as other possibilities.  In getting back at it I just posted up on one of the targets and shot about 90-100 rds at it.  Purpose being to shoot only when I saw what was needed and could truly call the shot accurately.  For the first 15-20 shots this slowed my cadence down but I also noticed as speeding up (as I knew I could) that my hits while being in the center of the A zone were starting to move to the lower half of the A zone (typically when the entire lower A is open I aim at the upper center of the A zone).  What I realized over the next 80 or so rds by being aware and just allowing my shooting to essentially be automatic based on what I was seeing was that my subconscious took over (or whatever else you want to describe it as) and then slightly moved my primary point of aim lower which allowed me to track the sights easier as instead of my black sight rising into black, more difficult to see there, and having to deal with the change in sight picture while tracking the sight from brown to black back into the brown again, by moving point of aim lower allowed me to track the sight easier never leaving the brown of the A zone and thus allowing for a faster cadence/splits.  In hindsight it seems a rather elementary switch, but how the aha realization occurred was the detachment from "thinking while shooting" and allowing myself to be in the moment and increase awareness, thus being the main point... I think.      

 

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5 hours ago, MrT_shootsAcz said:

it seems a rather elementary switch, but how the aha realization occurred was the detachment from "thinking while shooting" and allowing myself to be in the moment and increase awareness,

Good one. Indeed, you cannot be (aware of the) shooting if you are thinking.

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