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Shooting at Nationals

Lots of people and a lot going on. I’m still mystified at the number of people who are looking down the gun when they mount the gun!

We shot the orange course, which was set by Neil Chadwick. We shot well and ran some stations. I missed a few – more than I should have – but all in all, I was pleased with how I shot. Neil got me on seven targets the same way: missed them in front, and when I began to shorten up on them I got caught looking at the lead. This is nothing more than a lack of shooting tournaments.

I felt good about my ability to walk into the cage and just shoot the targets. I was able to block out the world behind me while in the cage. It felt so good to be able to do that. My routine was a little erratic timing-wise, but it will be better today and continue to get better as we shoot the rest of the week.

The course was a little longer than normal. Targets were farther away than usual, but very hittable. Same speed at the end is lethal. In the two squads ahead of us and in our squads, muzzle awareness in the setup is killing so many shooters. They look at the muzzle when they load and close the gun and really look at it in the setup. And most people have their nose over the barrel and cut their eyes at the last second to pick up the target. This causes third pair problems and leads to great emotional outbursts. It also causes problems when you try to pull away from the target – even in young shooters.

Mounting the gun on the target and looking at it in the setup really confuses the brain. The shooter looks intently at the bead as they close the gun and in getting ready to call “pull.” They see the bird and when they mount, they are looking down the barrel so they see the bead and the bird at the same time.

This is what has been programmed by looking at the bead in the setup. So when the shooter tries to separate the gun from the bird, the brain does not know what to do and can do it on the first three or four targets of an eight-bird set. But on the third pair, the setup is in such conflict with reality that eventually the misses come, And man, is the shooter confused. I saw this over and over in shooters.

I’m looking forward to today because after we finished I shared with one of the shooters on our squad the sight picture with three rocks on the ground. He was shocked at the simplicity and the reality of the two pictures. He had never seen them and admitted he really didn’t know what he was trying to do when he shot.

Today should be an interesting day with them. We shoot the Green at 3:30. Dennis Manuel will be with us and will be watching as we shoot.

John Poe and his mom and dad came by and visited. His dad remarked at how so many of the things we talked about on the Coaching Hour did indeed happen to John. I explained (as I have to many other shooters) that it’s something you just have to go through to learn to compete.

All of you out there, stop resisting the problems you encounter. They are there for you to learn from.

Never give up your right to fail and learn. And having learned, move on. Always be better on the other side of every encounter you have – both the successes and the failures.

Enough for now. We will see how it goes today.

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