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Performance Anxiety

As the different state shoots are coming up and then Nationals in October, there seems to be some performance anxiety rearing its ugly head.

You can’t let that control what you do. This anxiety is fear and expectations. You have prepared all year and you are ready. Now you must go into these shoots knowing you can win.

But there are so many other variables that could happen that would cause you not to win. You have to go and do the same thing you have done all year to get you competent for this journey. Your thought process must be that this is just another practice and do what you do in your practice. Take your practice game to the show!

This goes back to how you practice: each shot with a plan and running five pairs in a row. Winning is about running stations, so the drill of five pairs in a row is a good one to practice.  This means if you get to the fourth pair and miss one, start over. The drill to stay focused for the entire five pairs. That way if you only have to shoot three, you know you can stay in your zone.

Everyone puts too much pressure on themselves. In one of our clinics, we had a good morning then some folks were going to their state shoot. So I told them we would shoot the course and keep score. Wow, what a difference in performance!

I remember doing this drill years ago with a group in California and they, too, were shocked at how that scorecard made such a difference in their performance. They went from enjoying the breaks to “please don’t let me miss.”

You need to have that number on your back and get the experience so that a tournament is just another day at the range.

We tell all our students that are going to their first national tournament that they will lose ten targets off their average when they go into the front gate and another ten targets at the first station because they don’t have the experience to not let it bother them.

It’s all about being process-oriented and making the process a learning experience. “What did I learn today?”

And remember to have fun. Enjoy the people and the targets and the experience. You will perform better with a smile on your face and you will be a whole lot easier to be around.


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