High level performers practice on and off the range. A University (don’t ask me which one) conducted an experiment with the basketball program. The whole team shot free throws to get a baseline score based on the number of free throws made out of 10. Half the team physically practiced improving their skills on the court for 2 weeks. The other half of the team never stepped foot on the court for the same 2 week period. The second group did nothing but in a relaxed state vividly imagined themselves shooting free throws successfully. Imagining the feel of the ball and the smell of the gym and the sound the ball made going trough the hoop. At the end of the two weeks the first group did improve their skills. The second group that didn’t touch a ball for 2 weeks but vividly imagined successfull shots improved more than the group that physically practiced. Athletes call this “skull practice”. A night or two before a big match rest your body but excecerise your mind getting mentally prepared vividly imagining yourself standing on the line, imagine the feel of the grip, watch the light come on and explode into action hiting the light, imagine your perfect trigger pull position, smell the gunpowder in the air. Your subconscieous mind can’t tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly imagined. That’s why dreams seem so real.
Mental preparedness plays a big roll in your confidence. When you are on that line you need to believe that you are the best shooter on that line. You have practiced, you know what your abilities are, you know what is going to happen, you know you can do it you’ve done it thousands of times before. Believe in yourself to be successful. Believe you are good enough not to be afraid to face anyone, your the best, nobody is better than you are. I realize for this to work for you that you have to have the skills to get yourself to believe that so practice until you develop the skills so you can believe that winning attitude.
When you are standing on that line empty your mind of everything. Flush your thoughts. You have made the decision and investment to be standing on that line at this point in time. All that matters is focusing your attention on exploding on that target when the light comes on. This is the fastest sport in the world measured in thousands of a second. You can focus 7 seconds at a time and not have a thought in your mind for that long between “Shooters on the line, shooters set” to the 3 – 5 seconds the light comes on. Then let the world rush back in until you hear “The line is ready.” Flush your mind and focus for another 7 seconds.
Relax. Relax your mind and body on the line. Loosen the grip on your gun grip, relax your shoulders, relax your arm. Explode from the relaxed position when that light comes on. Have you ever had a practice session where you are tensed up and the harder you try the worse it gets? I have. Then you give up to the point you almost don’t care anymore so your not trying as hard, your more relaxed then you just let it fly and happen on its own is when you get your fastest times ever. Easy to say relax, hard to do. Practice it.
Prepare mentally, relax, focus, develop your skills for a confident winning attitude. See you on the line.