Mental Game: Get Back on the Horse and Shoot

I am sure that you have heard the old saying, if you fall off the horse the best thing you can do is get back on. I am not a fan of horses, (never actually ridden one) but I think the same concept applies to all activities, including shooting.

A post by one of my favorite bloggers, Gretchen Rubin, who was quoting Open, by Andre Agassi  talks about how winning changes nothing and how the good of a win is not as big as the bad of a loss. This blog post really spoke to me, as I recently had one of those bad matches that I was having trouble shaking.  So, I had to come up with my own  crash course plan to “Get Back on the Horse and Shoot!”.

1) Let Myself Be Upset- I think the first step in moving past a bad match is to let yourself be upset about it. For me, this means having a good cry. I am not a terribly emotional person, but a good old fashioned angry cry will let me get moving in a better direction. For my grandfather this means getting mad. Everyone is different, but you have to find a way to process it.

2) Find Some Good- They say that even in the darkest night there is a dawn. Even in my very worst matches I think there is always something good you can look on. Maybe one good hit on a difficult target, maybe one good reload or maybe even a good stage. Find a good thing and really let yourself focus on it. Don’t discount it or make it less meaningful by saying, “it was good except for…” Find a good point and focus on the good.

3) Positive Mantra- After you have been upset and then found some good it is time to keep that good going. Think of something good you can focus on when your mind starts to get away from you. For me, I have found that a mantra works really well. I can tell myself something like, “I am a smooth, confident, accurate shooter.” I tell myself this sentence over and over and over again. This is important right before I go to bed, right when I get up and right before I go shoot. This is also my go to when I start to think negative thoughts. I chase them away by saying a positive statement over and over and over again.

4) Go out and do it again- As much as I sometimes want to just hang up the belt and go home, I won’t give up. In order to change your shooting you have to keep at it. Stay at that match, keep going to practice, stay with it. It will turn around. Tell yourself that and it will be true.

Good luck keeping those bad matches at bay and only the good matches around!