HOW TO HAVE A PERFECT PSYCHOLOGY TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS IN CLAY TARGET SHOOTINGCorsivia
Achieving success, or the success you want, in clay target shooting does not only depend on technical preparation. Yes, it is very important, but if there is not also a psychological preparation that teaches you to master stress during a competition, you are lost.
The psychological preparation of the shooter involves enhancing his positive attitude, a mental training necessary to achieve any purpose, personal or professional.
But what is attitude?
We are all born with certain aptitudes or skills that, through practice and training, we will improve throughout our lives.
However, when it comes to putting them into practice, not all of us do it with the same attitude.
HOW APTITUDE AND ATTITUDE AFFECT CLAY TARGET SHOOTING
Any athlete, not only in clay target shooting, must keep a balance between aptitude and attitude when training or competing. An imbalance between the two is very likely to end in failure and, therefore, demotivation.
A shooter who has not yet been able to develop good skills or abilities, but who, on the contrary, gives his all with a positive attitude in his training and competitions, will always manage to excel.
A shooter with very good skills or abilities, but who shows a lousy attitude, is doomed to not progress.
Attitude, like aptitude, can and should be trained. But how to do it?
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR ATTITUDE DURING THE CLAY TARGET SHOOTING SEASON
Are you one of those who, when you get to a competition, let stress or nervousness do their thing and throw away everything you have been achieving during all your training sessions?
Yes, that is one of the main causes that can lead to a 5-10% decrease in your scores in a clay target shooting competition.
If you learn to master the techniques of self-control and know the factors that can influence your mental state, you will be able to increase your effectiveness in any clay target shooting competition when that nervousness or anxiety appears.
If you are able to achieve a certain score in training, don’t you think you should achieve at least the same in a competition?
The main reason for not doing so is nothing more than a lack of stress mastery.
Preparing yourself psychologically to face it will help you to know how to analyze stressful situations during the competition.
Aspects that can help you achieve this may be:
- Develop a shooting plan and follow it.
- Create the habit of observing your breathing, posture and shooting position.
- Aim with proper focus without worrying about impact.
- Relax the muscles of the forehead, jaws, neck and abdomen.
- Relax your eyesight.
What we must never do is let the results of the first few shots, whether negative or positive, affect our attitude during the rest of the competition.
A shooter with a negative attitude tends to have low self-confidence, and the most he aspires to do is not to miss the shot. This attitude only serves to accentuate even more, if possible, the fear of failure.
However, being motivated to succeed rather than to avoid failure will make you set much higher goals and enjoy the competition.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ONLY FOCUS ON “NOT MISSING” THE SHOT
A double-edged sword that is likely to have very negative consequences on the shooter’s attitude and concentration.
But what are the main reasons that provoke such thinking?
- Analyze the result so far and think that it is no longer winnable.
- Try to secure the last shots without making mistakes, even if the results so far are very good.
- The fear of not achieving the result you are looking for.
As long as you just concentrate on not missing the shot, the best that can happen in any case is that you end up making it.
If your mind is focused on “you don’t have to make an eight” on the next shot, what do you think will end up happening?
In addition, concentrating too much on “not missing” will generate an excess of muscular tension that will only make the shooter feel cramped and stiff, a situation that will probably not allow him/her to rest the finger on the trigger with decision.
Most likely, the same thing will happen when the last shots of the competition are fired. Excessive pressure to win the championship when the results have been good up to that point can cause you to lose a competition.
HOW TO MAINTAIN A POSITIVE ATTITUDE AT ALL TIMES DURING A CLAY TARGET SHOOTING COMPETITION
Yes, you may be thinking that we are talking about an impossible mission because you have already suffered it on some occasion and, no matter how hard you have tried, you have not succeeded.
Here are some suggestions that can help you, and a lot, in those moments:
- Always focus on what you should do and not on what you want to avoid. Remember, a negative attitude is always accompanied by bad results. Concentrate and follow a good routine before the shot.
- During the competition, focus on doing things correctly and not on the result you want to achieve. Doing so will make it much more likely that you will get a good result.
- Don’t get ahead of yourself or focus on what will happen if… “I make an eight”, “what will others think if I lose”, “I’ll calculate the result of my next shots”…. This does not help you to concentrate, but also makes you more nervous than usual.
- Focus on the present, on the shot you are taking at that moment, and eliminate everything else from your mind.
- Set yourself a good mental routine before each shot and follow it to the letter. A mental routine, at that moment, is much more decisive than a physical routine.
- When your nerves get the best of you, try to control them with good breathing. That will help you to be more aware of the shot than of those nerves.
- Don’t change your strategy during the competition. Keep thinking about getting good shots and forget about the “fear of failure”. Not doing so may cause you to lose the fluency you had up to that point and start making mistakes you didn’t make before.
If you are interested in going deeper into the subject, we recommend the book “Sports psychology and clay target shooting: keys to success“, written by Juan Montero Linares, psychologist and therapist, which we are sure can help you a lot to improve your positive attitude in the shooting range.
And, while you decide whether to buy it or not, what do you think if you have a look at this other article of our blog where we talk about all the modalities of clay target shooting?
Tell us, how do you manage your attitude on the shooting range? We read you!