1. Attention: We have put together a thread with tips and a tutorial video to help with using the new software. Please take a moment to check out the thread here: Trapshooters.com Tutorial & Help Video.
    Dismiss Notice

Coaching kids, the mental game

Discussion in 'Youth Trapshooting Section' started by bsd, May 18, 2017.

  1. bsd

    bsd Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Messages:
    449
    Location:
    Post 4
    My 15yo son knows how to shoot.
    There's little I can tell him at this point that will matter when it comes to form, but the mental game is another story.
    He's a 90 avg, shooting all 20-25s, mostly 22,23,24, with the occasional 20 and 25.

    How do others work on dealing with teenagers(boys specifically) learning the mental game, concentration, focus, and staying calm and relaxed?
     
  2. sportsman223

    sportsman223 Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    Messages:
    73
    First let the score keeper keep score, just focus on one bird at a time. I don't let my daughters even see score sheet while moving to next trap after there 100 its ok to look
     
    volsjp thanked this.
  3. SD Trap Family

    SD Trap Family Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Messages:
    1,387
    The mental game is so important in this sport. I had our sons doing lots of shooting and it did improve their scores but when we went to quality practice it really made huge improvements in their averages. I felt at that age it was better to have them be focused on 25 shots rather than trying to get them stay focused on 100.

    Also developed what we call perfect scoring. When we started this 16 years ago, I found out that those scoring for us in practice could help by putting in an associated number with the angle of the target the shooter missed. EX: 1 is a hard left, 2 is a mid left target, 3 is straight away, 4 is mid right and 5 is hard right. This gave me as dad and coach the chance to find out what targets they were missing and from which posts. Found out that many times it was a hold point issue from a certain post and we made adjustments as needed.

    Another key point we cover in our clinics is to develop a routine for each shooter. Try to keep this as consistent as possible. EX: getting to trap house early to watch targets, hydrate, listen to music, concentrate, eye exercises, glasses on to get eyes adjusted, etc..... Too often we see youth shooters with no routine.

    Send me a PM if you want and I will get the boys to reply to you with any thoughts on your questions.

    Wishing you and your family the best.

    Bud Bartholow
     
    Brian50BMG, Dustdevil21, N Bare and 4 others thanked this.
  4. WadHopper

    WadHopper He's not all there is he?

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,710
    Location:
    NC Ohio
    ATA Handicap, Tuesday. I broke a 20 on my first trap
    Walked back, obviously disgruntled, grabbed my box for the next round and heard my "coach" say "5-S, get your head in the game"
    Stance...
    Shoulder the gun
    Sight picture
    See the target
    Shoot the target
    Back out for my next round as I stood there, saying to myself...
    "stance" check,
    "shoulder" check - if it doesn't feel right start over because you're going to miss and you know it before you even call the target.
    "Sight picture (focused)" check,
    Pull, "see it"
    "Shoot it"
    23, 24, 24 ended with a 91 starting out with a 20...so easy to forget the basics, so glad my coach reminded me and got my head back in the game.
     
    cmccoy76, SD Trap Family and bsd thanked this.
  5. Max'sDad

    Max'sDad TS Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    I would take Bud up on this! AMAZING family that has given back a lot to the game. Brad
     
    SD Trap Family thanked this.
  6. cmccoy76

    cmccoy76 Active Member Verified Youth Coach/Director

    Joined:
    May 31, 2016
    Messages:
    212
    Location:
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    I struggle as well with my boys (age 13, 15, 17). I think Bud just filled in some blanks for me. They have a routine when they take the line. But there is no thought before that. That definitely give us something to work on.
     
    SD Trap Family thanked this.
  7. racer22x

    racer22x Member Verified Youth Coach/Director

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Messages:
    69
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Glad to hear I'm not the only coach/parent struggling with this! My 16 yr old daughter is basically in the same boat as your son.

    She set some lofty goals (which is great!) at the start of the season and shot her best scores (23/24) the first week and told me she had never felt so confident in her shooting. Since then it's been all down hill so bad last night that she was in tears. We had a great talk after we got home and she admitted that this year has been very difficult for her to be focused during our shoots. School, grades, stress, lofty goals, work, stress, pressure, coaches kids, more stress. I believe all of these factors came together this season and created the 'perfect storm'.

    So yes, how do we help them with their mental game? We can tell them all we want about relaxing, forget the misses, break the target with your eyes before you break it with the gun and on & on. But WE are not them and their mind is not our mind (thank god for that for my daughter!!)

    It's been extremely difficult/challenging for me being the head coach & a father and keeping them 'separated'. I'd like some advice on how other coaches/parents handle this as well.
     
    SD Trap Family and cmccoy76 thanked this.
  8. SD Trap Family

    SD Trap Family Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Messages:
    1,387
    Racer, I just sent you a PM. Would like to chat with you if you have time.

    Bud
     
  9. Spartazoo

    Spartazoo TS Member Verified Youth Coach/Director

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2017
    Messages:
    21
    My 14 year old son had a mid-bead fall out of his gun mid-round... It has taken 100's of targets to get the mental side back. He was a top 4 shooter on the team averaging 22ish... he bottomed out shooting a 3 along with some tears! Last week in our team shoot he went 18,23,23. So we will see what this week brings.

    It can be the strangest things. LOL
     
  10. gdkng

    gdkng TS Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2017
    Messages:
    13
    There is a lot of good advice in this post. Thank you.
     
  11. Stephen Benson

    Stephen Benson Member Verified Youth Coach/Director

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I feel you Racer. My daughter is the typical 1st born, type A, and very goal oriented. She has post-it notes of all her current life goals plastered all over the ceiling above her bed. Last year she got focused on trap - top girl in state, top 10 over all. She was mentally focused (I really think girls mature this way much faster than boys) and you could see her get in the zone when she was shooting. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view) she accomplished a bigger goal this spring, elected State FFA Pres, so her HS trap career ended in April. She had to pass on state shoots for trap and skeet and 4H Nationals for shotgun for FFA.

    My 15 yr old son, on the other hand, is actually a better shotgun shooter than my daughter, but has more trouble with mental focus on the trap or skeet field. He knows how to break every target, but lacks the discipline and focus to be really consistent. Father/coach thing is in real conflict there as he is not very willing to listen dad as a coach. So, I feel your pain and am living it for a couple of more years.
     
  12. Dustdevil21

    Dustdevil21 TS Supporters TS Supporters Verified Youth Coach/Director

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Grand Forks, ND
    As having two boys myself shooting, like most kids, they don't like dad telling them what to do. I think some kids even if they won't admit it, feel the pressure of not shooting good and letting Dad or Mom down even when we try to give them advice. It really takes a good relationship between parent/child to work through those issues and I applaud those that do!

    What I found to work is I use another coach that they look up to and listen too. If I see something I let the other coach know what I saw and have them watch and make suggestions to them. My youngest is now letting me work a bit with him, but I still use another coach to help me. I also quit shooting on the same squad with them as I get to worrying about their shooting and not concentrating on mine.

    Bud, I like your tracking method on missed target. I started marking those targets that only had edge breaks to see if there was a pattern to where they were looking at the target when they didn't have a clean break.
     
    SD Trap Family and racer22x thanked this.
  13. racer22x

    racer22x Member Verified Youth Coach/Director

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Messages:
    69
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I also had another coach help my daughter and they work very well together. We usually shoot on the same squad for practice rounds & I completely agree with you that that is very difficult.

    I received some excellent advice and recommendations from Bud (thank you Bud!!) that my daughter and I discussed. She listened to music while shooting on Thursday and while her scores remained about the same, she liked it for a couple of reasons 1) it was relaxing & 2) she couldn't hear the word 'lost'. I consider that a win for her and now music will become part of her shooting routine.

    Another big part for her is putting the "fun" back into shooting. We talked about having her and her brother go to the range this summer and just have "fun" together while shooting.
     
    SD Trap Family thanked this.