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Your Comfort Zone and Closing an Eye

Getting out of Your Comfort Zone

Well, another successful clinic at our field in Houston at American Shooting Centers.

I realized yet another answer to another mystery (or maybe just said it another way) this last weekend. Have you ever stepped up to a station and without thought, called for the bird and smashed it? Then all of a sudden you were aware of how far out in front of the bird you were. But try as you may, you just could not make the gun go out there and hit it again?

Well, this past weekend I saw that happen several times and it dawned on me that “You cannot consistently put the gun out in front of a target any farther than you are comfortable seeing it there!”

The brain’s job is to make us comfortable and it constantly tries to do this job. It wants to keep our bodies and minds in a comfortable place at all times. This, in great measure, is why so few people ever get good at anything. They are afraid to get out of their comfort zone.

Having dinner with Jeff Wolfe and Vicki last night, we discussed this with Jeff. He said that is why you can’t get the mental game from reading a book or listening to a tape. It’s something that must be experienced. This, by the way, is why always practicing at the edges of your ability with a willingness to fail is so critical for skill development. Most shooters will not try anything they deem is beyond their comfort zone.

Said another way, most shooters are looking for the easy way out or the easy way to get better. There is no such destination. The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary. As Vicki says, ”It’s not what you know that makes you better. It is what you’re willing to learn!”

Mounting the Gun and Closing an Eye

I am still amazed at the number of shooters who are trying to learn this game without learning to mount the gun – especially women. There, I said it.

If your gun mount sucks, then your scores and ability to shoot will suck. Learn to mount the gun.

I’m also amazed at the number of shooters who, at the first sign of adversity, resort to closing an eye. Remember, it’s the brain that interprets the data. The eyes don’t see. You can train the brain to react any way you want to, and how your brain interprets the data today can be different tomorrow.

The shooters who close an eye look at how their brain interprets the data as unchangeable. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

If you are in a tournament and have to score the break and your eyes are playing tricks on you, then close an eye. Hell, Scott Robertson does it, so why shouldn’t you? But on the next station, he opens both eyes and shoots with both eyes wide open.

I had John and Max from Rochester, New York this past weekend and after seeing the animations and understanding where the eyes were supposed to be during the shot, John took the tape off his glasses. And man, what a difference out to a measly 60 yards on crossers. Both of them blew them up, baby!

On Sunday, John confided to me that he had shot a 31 in the last tournament at his home club. Well, John, you can kiss that stuff goodbye. When we were discussing what he was going to say when asked what had happened, his response will be “OSP, baby!”

And the response to “how much lead?” will be either “three feet” or “I was not looking at the lead; I was looking at the target.”

What a country. I do love my job. You become what you remember, and if you are comfortable, you are not learning anything. It’s like enjoying the scenery on a detour.

When you are comfortable being uncomfortable, you are there.

One more thing: if you need a root canal don’t go do a stress test. Your jaw will feel like it’s gonna explode. I must sign off; it’s time to go to get a root canal.

Your not so humble, willing to be uncomfortable coach and friend,
Gil Ash