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Fear is a Funny Thing

Shooting with confidence and trust is a whole new and wonderful way to play our game.

It’s very typical to learn conscious sight pictures, and one day hopefully you’ll be able to trust them. But if you learn to trust from the beginning without the fear of missing, learning comes more rapidly and you learn mechanics and performance at the same time, and you will be able to marvel at the ability of your unconscious computer.

Fear is a very debilitating thing. Fear will make you do some strange things. I remember several years ago when Dean Olson was in the hunt to win the National Championship, and he came to me one night at the hotel.

“What do I do?” he asked.
“Just keep doing what you’re doing,” I said. “It’s just another day.”
“That’s easy for you to say,” he said.

“Yeah, it is,” I responded. “Something strange is going to happen to you tomorrow when you get out there. I’m just telling you. It’s going to happen. When it happens, if you can laugh at it from your gut, you’ll survive it. If you can’t, it’s going to be a tough day. The choice is yours.”

He got to the first station, loaded his gun, called “pull” and pulled the trigger twice without even mounting the gun. He was so nervous.

He said, “Gil, everybody was watching me. I didn’t even know what I was doing. When I called ‘pull,’ I just pulled the trigger twice. But I remembered what you told me. I opened the gun and put the gun on the bird in front of me. I just laughed for about 30 seconds. That was what had just happened to me.”

He ended up finishing runner-up at the next championship.

It’s an amazing thing what fear will do to you. It’ll certainly make you talk too much.

Look out for fear in your life. It’s out there. It’s going to come in. Fear will take you out of the present and take you into the future, but fear is something that’s just a reaction to a certain set of circumstances.

I’ve heard that you’ll scream just as loud if a shark bites you or if a piece of seaweed brushes across the top of your foot when you’re not expecting it. It’s the exact same fear, but you’ve got to overcome that fear.

It is just a set of circumstances. It’s just how you react to a set of circumstances, and because it’s that, you can change that. Don’t be afraid. When things start to fall apart, it’s because you’re pushing your ability to get beyond it and get to the next level.


This is an excerpt from the February 2011 Coaching Hour podcast. You can listen to it and read a written transcript, along with more than 20 years of archived episodes with your Knowledge Vault membership.