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Shooting Related Anxiety


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Not sure if this is the best place for this topic but I'm curious if anyone else has the same circumstances as me:

 

In my day to day life, I'm fairly filled with anxiety from the moment I wake up.  I've been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder - years ago it was bad enough to be medicated and I spent some time learning techniques to work through panic attacks.  Thankfully, as I've gotten a bit older, the attacks have mainly subsided.  I'll still occasionally have one pop-up but we're talking one every three months at most vs. several times a day previously.

 

I hate being out in a crowd, I hate standing in lines if someone is behind me, I'm typically socially-awkward, and I generally over-think most situations.

 

But - when it comes to competitive shooting, I don't have those issues.  A lot of people talk about how they get nervous once they're in the "make ready" process or they get nervous thinking about people watching them shoot.  I just don't have those issues - I'm excited to shoot a stage and I'll question if my stage plan will work but it's never to the point of messing up my day.  I still have mental errors that pop up (missed a popper or something and suddenly the whole stage plan goes to s#!t) but I have a complete lack of anxiety on a stage.

 

I also find it easy to communicate with people I've never met before (going to a brand new club or meeting shooters I've not squadded with before) - in real life, that is 100% not the case.

 

In the end, I just think this is a bit interesting.  I wish I could replicate my mindset during a competition and apply it to the rest of my time but so far, I haven't had any luck with that.

 

Does anyone else have a similar experience?  Or am I just that weird?

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Possibly a higher level of trust among people engaged in a defined activity where you feel confident about your abilities.  Fewer unknowns than in general life activities.

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I am not for sure if this will help any or not but thought I would share since you did 😊.  I actually have the exact opposite problem. I overall have a very outgoing personality and do not experience much anxiety in normal, everyday life BUT when I shoot a stage I struggle with anxiety before I shoot.  After the first couple of stages, it tends to get better, but I still experience it.  Last year I noticed I was overly concerned about my performance and was not having as much fun as I did in the beginning, so I decided to make having more fun my goal for the year.  Over the course of the year, I focused on trying to have fun and not care as much on how I placed through varies methods.  I am still not quite where I want to be, but I am doing much better at this.  One thing I have noticed is I do not experience as much anxiety now as I used to before I shoot a stage.  I think that is because I am not as focused on my performance OR what people think of me or how I shoot.  This silly thing is no one really cares how I perform except me but for some reason I subconsciously think that.   I say all that to say I wonder if it’s possible that some of the anxiety your experience in normal life is due to you being to focused on your performance or caring too much about what other people think about you.  I may be way off but just food for thought.  Once again, thanks for your honesty!

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  • 1 month later...
On 4/28/2021 at 10:23 AM, joshdub84 said:

I also find it easy to communicate with people I've never met before (going to a brand new club or meeting shooters I've not squadded with before) - in real life, that is 100% not the case.

 

In the end, I just think this is a bit interesting.  I wish I could replicate my mindset during a competition and apply it to the rest of my time but so far, I haven't had any luck with that.

 

Does anyone else have a similar experience?  Or am I just that weird?

 

You're definitely NOT weird. I tend to be an introvert. In big crowds or at most larger social gatherings. I find myself in the corner or away from other people. I enjoy observing people in that sort of environment but NOT interacting with people. Usually after something like that I get home EXHAUSTED. 

When I go to the range for a match it's a complete 180. I am comfortable and even energized. I am a total social butterfly. I talk to tons of people and even interact with new folks as well. Every time I go to a major match the day before to recon stages the guys I am with roll their eyes at me because I stop to talk to everyone I know and oddly, that is a large number of folks. So, on the range I go from an introvert to complete extrovert. So I get that. 

Also, no. I haven't figured out how to make that happen in other places in my life either. 

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Its all about connections.  In general life you are dealing with people you have no connection with and you feel uneasy about trying to create a person to person connection out of thin air.  At a match, the connection already exists, everyone is there to shoot, enjoys shooting, so you find it much easier to connect with them person to person via that general preset connection.

 

I think everyone feels that way to some degree, with extroverts and introverts at opposite ends of the spectrum and lots of us in-between.  One of the reasons things like Talking about the Weather to strangers have become cliche is that they are a very general preset connection, we all experience the weather.

 

For me personally, my shooting anxiety is personal.  Match Day morning, my stomach is a roiling knot.  Then I pull the trigger for the first time and its like by hindmind suddenly goes "Oh Yeah, we know how to do this" and the anxiety settles out. 

 

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My solution to pre-match nerves is to clean / pack / setup everything needed the night before.  Take the time to think through what will be needed for tomorrow's match.  Sunscreen, bug repellant, tool kit, what clothes could be needed, rain gear, ammunition, magazines, backup gun(s), cart, belt rig, cooler, drinks and food.  Either load it up in the truck or have it sitting by the door. 

 

Next, plan out the travel route and make sure to determine what time to leave with plenty of time for the unexpected.  Traffic accidents and road construction happen.  If you don't allow time for those and you miss the registration deadline, your shooting day just might end very early.

 

Then get a good night's sleep.

 

Yes, after many years of competition, there are still "butterflies".  As mentioned, those leave when the first round goes downrange.

 

BC

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You are not alone. I deal with pretty much everything you describe. Once I get to a match it's like a weight being lifted off me for a few hours. If it's a very competitive match I do get a bit anxious before my first stage, but after the make ready it all disappears and I can just be me.

Even if I get moved to a squad where I don't know anyone I can quickly adapt and hold a conversation. Finding this sport when I did was literally life saving for me.

That doesn't mean I don't ever have a bad match or a squad I don't like. I still need a nap as soon as I get home and showered too, but even those days are still worth it.

 

I have noticed that I am more capable in the Mon-Friday world than I use to be,but it took several years to get here. I am still very much an introvert and all the baggage that comes with that, but I don't feel as much of an outcast as I use too.

 

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