Practice is Different to Different People
Here’s something you might want to consider. I will use our coaching experience as an example.
We don’t need to practice coaching anymore. But that does not mean that we stop learning. Younger shooters or shooters who
have been competitive for 15-20 years don’t have to practice as much to stay on their games. Due to the number of rounds they’ve shot, they eventually reach a level of competence where every time they pick up the gun to go shoot, they don’t look at it as practice. But they will still be improving.
Learning to Move and Mount
Vicki said something the other day in a seminar when the subject of shooting with a mounted gun came up. Someone reasoned that if you shot with a mounted gun it would eliminate a possible mismount and lost target as a result.
Now, on the surface this is true. But her answer floored the crowd.
“Shooters who can move and mount the gun and have put in their time to enable them to do so are safer sooner,” Vicki responded. “And they learn as much as three to four times faster.”
Then came the inevitable question: “Why?”
“Eventually to shoot a shotgun well and at a consistently high level at a moving target, you must develop an awareness of
where the gun is pointing without looking at it!” she said. “Shooters who can move and mount the gun don’t have to look at the gun to know where it is pointed. They don’t even have to think about it to put it in the right place as they shoot.”
Vicki continued: “They are safer because they always know where the gun is pointing. They don’t even have to think about what they are doing with the gun, so they can concentrate on what they are learning. And they learn faster and as a result, perform better and more consistently.”
Learning to Compete
So I would submit to you that when your game gets to a certain level, if you shot tournaments twice every weekend you could say you never practiced. It’s because your practice would have become your tournament play.
Learning to shoot is about learning how to move and mount the gun. Learning how to compete is about learning how to
think. It’s impossible to really learn to compete regardless of how much you practice if you’re still stuck behind having to think about what you’re going to do with the gun!
I hope this makes some sense. On our journey, the same words mean something different at each level you achieve. Therefore, you might not have the database to truly understand the answer you get from an experienced top shooter.
The Evolution of Focus
Here are two quick examples.
In the beginning, your focus is about a sharp, acute focus on the target. In the end, it’s about concentration on the target.
Visualization is about what it looks like to break the target. In the end, it’s more about how it feels to break the target, not the lead!
I’m typing this on my phone coming back from the Rio inauguration of their new 105,000 square-foot facility in Marshall. What a place! By this time next year, they will be making everything that goes into the shotgun shell. Everything. It’s an amazing facility.