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Coaching Hour – The Game Will Tell You Why You’re Underperforming – March 2015

Coaching Hour – March 2015 – EXCERPT

Skill is something you need to build on your own. We can’t stress this enough. But that’s not all you need. In the March 2015 Coaching Hour, we talked about a number of different topics related to building skill in your shooting game. As Gil says in this excerpt, “you can’t lie to the guy in your head!”


Gil: Allow success to find you. Players often get impatient and make a swing change or a shift in strategy when all they really need is perseverance. Don’t think that the game owes you anything. The amount of commitment or the amount of shells you shoot or the amount of time you put into it does not entitle you to anything. Playing the game with appreciation and in good health — those are the gifts. That realization can have a major effect on you.

Be thankful that God has given you the ability and the talent and the financial wherewithal to shoot a 30-cent bullet at a silly 40-cent target just to try to break it before it breaks when it hits the ground. You’ve got to love playing the game. If you don’t, you’re not going to get much out of it.

The game will send you a message. The game speaks to us, and it tells us why we’re underperforming. Listen up. It will tell you. The game will tell you what the problem is if your thought process is not clouded with judgmental emotion: woulda, coulda, shoulda.

You must play with a fearless edge. Don’t shoot not to miss. Be early. See it come and stabilize the picture. You know what it’s supposed to look like. Talk sense into bad shots. It doesn’t mean you have to like the shot, but you got to come to terms with it because you did it. You’ve got to accept it. It is what it is. Learn from it and move on.

The score isn’t the only measure. There is often a great lag time between practice and performance. It often takes time for improvement to show up. You need patience. Rhythm will relieve the pressure. Find the rhythm in your pre-shot routine. Soften your grip pressure. Trust the lead. Adjust the speed.

And, remember, part of the solution to every problem, a big part of it, is always slowing down. Do a mental checklist. The routines that you go through the night before you go to a shoot are important to eliminate any nuisance decisions that you might be plagued with. It’s of great importance that you establish a routine the night before, that you establish an eating routine the night before, that you establish a sleeping routine the night before, that you establish a routine when you get to the course and that you establish a routine when you go to the first station and a routine for every station thereafter.

And let me tell you something here now. Being able to accept a miss is just as much a part of your routine as enjoying the hits. As we’re going to talk about in a minute, how you react emotionally in great measure determines the quality of the filler that you’re building. You can’t lie to yourself. And Shane is going to talk about that in just a minute.

It is the quality of the fill-in that allows for you to go into the zone. It is also the quality of the fill-in that allows for you to let it happen, and the more you let it happen the less you focus on and the easier it becomes for you to really have a great performance. You can’t try to have a great performance. It’s not going to happen. You can’t try to have a great advance school. It’s not going to happen because when you’re trying, the wrong brain is in control.

So it really hit me that since it is the fill-in that allows you to focus on less and do more at a higher level, then where does this fill-in come from? Well, it occurs to me that it comes from not just the quality of your practice but the evaluations you make about everything you do on the course and off. How you emotionally react to what happens to you determines in great measure the quality of the fill-in, and you’ve got to have the fill-in.

This is why you can’t go and learn how to hit all of the targets, because if you know how to hit all of the targets, then why don’t you shoot 98 all of the time? Because you don’t have a fill-in! You haven’t paid your dues. You’re having to focus on too many things during the shot, and you can’t do that a hundred times in a row.

This is the journey from intermediate to advanced. This is learning how to compete right here, and this is why it’s so important that you look at every situation you find yourself in as a learning situation. I never equated it to building the quality of the fill-in. It was there in front of me all of the time, but I never really realized what it was.

I’ve told you oftentimes that when I get up in front of a lot of people, which is the way this happened, after it’s over, I have to turn to my lovely wife and ask her what I said. Because I don’t have a clue.

It’s all fill-in. That’s where your real talent and skill resides. It’s in your fill-in. And when you learn to trust your fill-in, you’re not worried about all the other junk everybody else is worried about. You can’t consciously create it, but it becomes a by-product of your everyday life and how you handle everything that happens to you. The quality of your practice must move to higher and higher levels as it does. So does the quality of the filler that comes in on game day. This is why if you can do it once, you just can’t go out and do it all of the time.

Being able to do it all the time when it counts comes from doing and doing and failing and learning from the failures and emotionally looking it as opportunities to grow and create quality filler.

This is why failure is so important. In fact, it is a necessity for learning and performance at higher and higher levels, but it is how you react to the failures that determines the quality of the filler. So, you better be careful how you react to what happens and not just on the course but in your everyday life. This was a huge breakthrough for me, and eventually helped me understand performance and how you can’t trick the brain into doing something if you’ve not put in your time and how performance is a gradual process. But it is tied so much to your emotional reactions and evaluations about what happens in practice and competition and in life itself.

Shane, you can’t lie to the guy in your head, can you?


Shane: You can try, but it doesn’t work well.


“You Can’t Lie to Yourself”


Gil: Tell me what you think about what I’ve said.


Shane: I can tell you that it is a very accurate description of what happened to me yesterday as far as the fill-in. I had never really thought about it as calling it “fill-in,” but I have come to realize that you have to just turn it loose and let your brain do what it can do.


Gil: I’ve got to tell you buddy, I’ve said this over and over for 25 years, but without understanding that you can turn it over to the fill-in, it’s like you’re turning it over to some void and something may happen and it may not. But understanding that you can turn it over to what you’ve filled in in the subconscious is a great comfort to me. How about you?


Shane: I had a conversation with Max earlier today, and that has been the revelation that has occurred to me in the last three to six months. I’ve heard you say it a thousand times, and it has almost become cliché, but you just have to turn it loose and let it be what it will be. And I’ve found that if you can do that and keep yourself focused on (oddly enough) process-oriented goals and immerse yourself in the game instead of the results, then the rest of it…


Gil: You said something there. You just said something there. Say that again.


Shane: Well, basically in the game, that’s what I have been striving to do recently, and it seems to be working. I totally immersed myself in the experience and stopped worrying about what’s going to happen at the end of the day. It’s the whole deal: how the day is going, the weather, the quality of the targets, the time I’m having. Everything matters and I pay attention to the minutia and everything that’s going on around me. When I do this, I find it easier to keep myself in the present and out of the future.


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