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Desirable Difficulty

In our 31 years now as professional coaches, we have seen thousands of performers who have had differing degrees of skill with a shotgun, fishing rod, golf club, tennis racket, public speaking and many more activities. The ones who eventually end up being really good are the ones that attack skill building as “desirable difficulty!” They know they’re going to have to put in the time and effort – and like our long-time friend Craig Hill said, “you get out of it what you put into it!”

People like Craig and many other peak performers we have worked with all have something that we see in few shooters: the ability and desire to embrace the struggle! Most shooters would like to have a good shotgun game, but so few are willing to really embrace what it takes to become the best they can be at something.

They know getting better involves change and with change comes struggle and missing targets. At this point they must make a decision: “am I willing to stop trying to hit the target and concentrate on the new process/sequence I’m trying to learn?”
If hitting the target is more important than learning something that will take their game to a new desired level of performance, then trying to hit the target keeps them from learning to implement the change necessary to improve.

The fear of embracing the struggle that change brings keeps 90-95% of shooters not only from improving, but beginning. They make excuses that we hear on an ongoing basis.

Phrases like:
“I’m six inches away from becoming a champion… the six inches between my ears!”
“I’m not going to be a world champion; I just want to be able to shoot mid-80s any time I go out and shoot.”
“Now, I don’t want you to change me. Just tweak me a little bit and get me in the 90s!”
“It’s three weeks before Nationals. Can you get me four or five more targets on my average by then?”

These are just a few of the comments we have heard in the past 31+ years. I’m sure you have heard similar ones. They all have something in common. They’re based on an inflated evaluation of just how good a shooter’s game really is and an underlying desire to be better without a commitment to embrace the struggle!

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