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Inconsistency and Evaluation: What’s Holding You Back?

Ask a room full of sporting clays shooters if they would like to be more consistent, and they’ll overrun you with enthusiastic responses. Few, if any, really know why they are so inconsistent. They’re good on some days and not so good on others. But there seems to be no real consistent rhyme or reason for their results.

It’s the inconsistency that keeps most shotgun shooters from practicing because they don’t know what or how to practice. That eventually creates the conclusion that they just must not be talented with a shotgun.

They love to go shoot, but they don’t know who will show up at the range on any given day. They worry about what others will think about how they shoot. So, they begin to evaluate – sometimes even before they arrive at the range. The instant they begin to evaluate, they begin to try to control something they cannot control – what others might think about them or their shooting.

“Research shows that in pressure-filled situations, when we are distracted by thinking about possible outcomes of our performance, our skills are measurably diminished,” writes Amy Cuddy in her book Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges. 

“When we explicitly monitor ourselves, second by second, any task that requires memory and focused attention will suffer. We don’t have enough intellectual bandwidth to perform at our best and simultaneously critique our performance. Instead, we’re caught in a faulty circuit of trying to anticipate, read, interpret, and reinterpret how other people are judging us, all of which prevents us from noticing and interpreting what’s actually happening in the situation.”

What is the most prevalent emotion we see that holds shooters back? FEAR!