How Shooters’ Perception Evolves
December 29, 2023
Let’s get back to the evolution of perceptions shooters go through as they gain more and more experience in deliberate practice and shooting tournaments.
Everyone has a sequence in their brain that has been fired many times to point at something they are looking at. When a new shooter tries to look at the target but point the gun in front of the target, the pointing sequence crashes. Adding to the confusion, when looking at the target with two eyes, the shooter sees two barrels in their periphery, so they instantly focus back on the barrel. They only see one barrel but then they notice that they see two targets in their periphery. This is really confusing if the shooter is looking down the barrel when they mount the gun, which every new shooter does because of the aiming perception.
This is why we introduce the sight picture concept of seeing the target behind where the barrel is pointed. As soon as the paradigm shift occurs in the shooter’s brain to seeing the target behind where the barrel is pointed, the pictures all of a sudden begin to make sense.
The other big thing that evolves is how far in front of the target the shooter perceives the muzzle to be. This also will evolve with experience and practice. The more you shoot, the more you begin to develop memory of what it looks like to you when the gun is in front to the left or right of the barrel, and with experience comes a comforting feeling that this new picture is okay and it’s okay for the muzzle to be in front of the target.
In the beginning, the distance will seem enormous, but with time and experience on the practice course you will develop files in your brain’s memory, and as you become more accustomed to the separation between the muzzle and the target, the perception of the distance will become smaller.
With this experience will come memories of targets you have hit in the past. The more memory you develop through deliberate practice, the easier if becomes for the brain to put the muzzle where it needs to be to hit the target with less and less conscious input.
If you ever want to have this type of experience, you must make a visual prediction of where and how you want the shot to come together and then execute the prediction. Eventually, it will become the amount of detail in your prediction before you close the gun and call “pull “that allows for you to shoot without thinking – which is what everyone out there wants to do.