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Trap Shooting Psychology

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by rhymeswithorange, Sep 14, 2009.

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  1. rhymeswithorange

    rhymeswithorange Member

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    I've been dealt a couple of lessons on how important the mental game is in trap shooting. Often heard that trap is 90% mental, 10% equipment. I'm interested in what you do to prepare for a significant shoot and how you maintain focus once you are in it. Thanks in advance.

    Dave Eberhart
     
  2. vpr80

    vpr80 Active Member

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    For one thing, reading other people's problems on this forum does NOT help. I was reading last week about how people notice other shooter's movements when they are up to shoot so yesterday I noticed myself paying attention to it as well when I have NEVER before paid any attention to other shooters.
     
  3. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    In the afternoon when I start to lose focus, I drink a can of No Fear (sugar free). I don't know if it is a placebo effect, but it does seem to help me maintain my focus.
     
  4. Bucko43

    Bucko43 Well-Known Member

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    Now you know what those blinders are for...they use them for horses to keep them looking forward and trap shooters to not pay attention to the person next to you...
     
  5. gdbabin

    gdbabin TS Member

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    Lanny Bassham's books "Freedom Flight" & "With Winning in Mind" have helped me.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanny_Bassham


    Guy Babin
     
  6. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

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    A shooter MUST be aware of unsafe gun handling when on the line. Fiddling with gear is one thing, carelessly waving the gun around is another.

    I have had more than one round dumped immediately in front of my feet while on the firing line. Perhaps I take gun safety more seriously than some.

    As far as the psych end of shooting, don't over think or micro manage the shot. No matter how good a shot you are, basics and fundamentals are always the key to success.
     
  7. Old Cowboy

    Old Cowboy Active Member

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    Don't try to stay focused all the time, you only need to maintain your focus approximatly 5 seconds, then you can relax your focus for 20 seconds while the other four squadmembers shoot.

    John C. Saubak
     
  8. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

    What I mean to say is, we all deal with this and as soon you think you have it ironed out, another scenario pops up. Something new steps in and says, "look at me" and off you go and have to decide, is this a blind alley...

    My coach always comes back to the visual basics. Are you seeing the angles, picking a spot on the target and popping it when you get there? He always comes back to this in our discussions. He's a remarkable guy in terms of this consistency and that has helped me a lot.

    It is such a good question. What are your thoughts in relation to what you've been dealt?
     
  9. Rick Barker

    Rick Barker Well-Known Member

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    " I'm interested in what you do to prepare for a significant shoot and how you maintain focus once you are in it. Thanks in advance. "

    rhymeswithorange

    First part of your question. Check all your gear the night before. Use a list if it will help, so you don't forget anything. Other than that, don't think about it. If you can get a copy of the program in advance, check out the events and the fees and know what you want to shoot before you arrive.

    As to the second part of your question. An old adage goes something like "One bird at a time." Focus and concentrate only, after you mount your gun and call for your bird. After your shot, relax. The rest of the time, keep your attention out front. Watch all the birds and don't let anything else distract you. Blinders help as well as a baseball cap and the best ear protection you can get to eliminate all the noise you can. If you wear electronic muffs, turn them off before your first shot, and wear some ear plugs as well.

    If you cannot improve your game, seek out a qualified instructor. You might need some help with the mechanics such as foot position, gun mount, etc. etc.
     
  10. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    We should mentally prepair for a trap event the same way a professional football player prepares for a game. Or even better, go to a professional baseball game and carefully watch the shortstop just before the pitcher throws the ball. You can feel his intensity way up in the bleacher seats. I am able to come close to this level of intensity for 2-3 targets per hundred. Phil K. can do it for 100 targets. Kay O. has told me that the most important thing in the world is his next shot. He is thinking about that while I am thinking about where to have dinner. Few of us are willing to pay the price required to be a top shooter.

    Pat Ireland
     
  11. BBMAX

    BBMAX TS Member

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    Good morning Dave -

    The folks above have some great thoughts regarding dealing with stress of competition and trapshooting in general. I have coached several very good shooters and find that they all have certain approaches in common. They might arrive from different points of view (since we are all wired differently) but the thread is common with all of them. If you are interested please email me and I will forward some thoughts I Instruct which seems to have been helpful for competitive shooting. I have studied this phase of trapshooting for years talking to "mental coaches" in Professional Tennis and Golf and find there are some interesting similarities which, as I said, some of the folks above touched on. Have a great day and good shooting in this Fall.

    Bruce Maxwell
     
  12. rhymeswithorange

    rhymeswithorange Member

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    I got a lesson in my mind's games at my second ATA handicap event. I shot a 96 at singles, was 72 for 75 at my handicap and then crumbled in the last round of 25 to end up with an 88. So I realized how important the head game is.

    For the last several weeks, I have used a lot of visualization in the weeks leading up to an event and have been able to maintain focus better. I read a quote from Drew Brees where he rehearses in his mind all the possible outcomes. Shot two 95s now at my handicap. So that is reinforcing the importance of psychology to me.

    I appreciate the book suggestion, I just ordered With Winning in Mind.

    I also like the idea of focussing for that few seconds to shoot and then relaxing until i am one or two shooters away from shooting again.

    Thanks everybody
     
  13. Rollin Oswald

    Rollin Oswald Active Member

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    Pre-arrival preparation is important. Make sure you have everything with you that you will need or want when you are shooting (gun, choke tubes, plenty of shells, well marked if they are different, glasses, vest and/or shell bag, towel, gloves, hearing protection, spare car keys, sugarless drink, a Bandaid or two and anything else that you even suspect you "might" need - a spare cap, pair of shoes, shirt and pair of socks, maybe. (What if you break your shooting glasses or lose your hearing protection? (There are a lot of "what-ifs" - consider them. Is there a price to pay for being over prepared?)

    The key, in my opinion, is to reduce stress as much as possible; stress causes muscles to tighten, which can affect swings, causes fatigue to set in early and uncontrolable conditions of wind and weather to bother you more than they need to. Remember: Everyone else is dealing with the same conditions. If they aren't by shooting earlier or later, think how proud you will feel by overcoming the conditions and still shooting well.

    The night before, get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol and meals of food that you are not used to eating. Try not to eat too late; it might interfere with your getting a good night's sleep.

    Arrive early enough to avoid the worry of getting there late and the stress that accompanies rushing your preparation once you arrive.

    Make sure you know approximately when and if possible, exactly where you will be shooting.

    Keep your supplies (shells, gun, etc.) as ready as possible. Also keep then secure to avoid worrying about their being stolen.

    If you are shooting at an unfamiliar club, become familiar with the traps, their numbering system, where the numbers appear and how targets are thrown. You want as few surprises as possible.

    Stay warm or out of the sun as much as possible. Try to find a comfortable place to wait before your squad is called. If you don't hear what is said on the PA system, immediately find out by asking someone who is sure to know.

    When on the line waiting to shoot, use the same routine you have developed at other shoots and when practicing. Do things the same way. This is not the time to try anything new. (A written list will help while you are developing a routine.)

    The "next" target is the most important but imagine that target breaking before you call for it. Imagery can be important. Avoid all negative thoughts and do everything possible to reduce or eliminate the fear of the next target or the fear of shooting poorly. If you don't it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Use the eye and gun holds that targets and weather condition's dictate, changed as little as possible from the way you normally do things. Before calling for a target, imagine it breaking in your mind's eye and BELIEVE you will break it. (The power of positive thinking actually works.)

    If a target is lost, do not spend much time analyzing why you missed it. If you know, plan what to do to avoid its happening again and continue shooting with confidence. Do not dwell on a lost target, even the last target on a field.

    Once a shot is fired, relax. Stand as comfortably as possible without changing your stance very much, ideally, not at all. Think pleasant thoughts. Do not think about what you will do when you finish shooting, where you will eat or about the drive home. (Thoughts about scantily clad, blond, cheerleaders [or drum majors] are okay.)

    Each target will be like one you have broken a hundred times before. Remember that and building confidence about breaking the "next" target will be easier - just avoid overconfidence and the risk of a sloppy or rushed shor.

    Enjoy yourself. You are shooting. You love to shoot - you are doing something you love to do. Sure it's a registered or important shoot. So what? The world will not end if you miss a target or two and your dog will still love you.

    There are no doubt things I have omitted and that others will provide.

    Rollin
     
  14. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    PMA. You've broken targets just like the one coming out and you will break this one coming out next... As RO said above, pre-shot routine, nothing fancy, but enough to "clear the mechanism..." (from For Love of the Game).

    You're already doing well, keep up the good work!

    Jay
     
  15. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    Rollin: "Thoughts about scantily clad, blond, cheerleaders are okay."

    That's not going to help some of us...
     
  16. BigBruno

    BigBruno TS Member

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    After I pull the trigger, I completely relax. When the shooter before me calls for the bird, my instinctive processes take over. When I hear his shot, I am almost hypnotized. I hear nothing, I see only the field in front of me. Instictively I call for the bird and shoot. I never remember the last bird I shot. I don't know my score until I finish shooting.
     
  17. Rollin Oswald

    Rollin Oswald Active Member

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    Recurvyarcher,

    I will edit it and fix that.

    Rollin
     
  18. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    Drum Majors?!!! LOL!!!

    If I'm gonna have high school fantasies, then it's going to be about the boys that were on the archery team. We all wore short sleeves, and the guys arms popped when they drew the bow.

    Of course, if Martin is reading this, his legs are great and that's the only thing I ever think about.
     
  19. Recoil Sissy

    Recoil Sissy Well-Known Member

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    rhymeswithorange:

    You've already received some good suggestions. Here's several more...

    - Expanding on Mr. Barker's excellent reminder to "check your gear the nite before", check it AGAIN before you take the line.

    Make sure your ear and eye protection is in/on before you need it. Taking a box of shells to the line is another good idea but we've all seen shooters who forgot.

    Get to the bench early enough to retreive anything you may have left in your vehicle and early enough to watch the squad in front of you shoot at least two or three posts.

    - If you use different shells for different events, make sure you've got the correct shells. It's best to know in advance if there's a problem with a trap, the targets, or a voice call speaker.

    Those are all 'be prepared' items. The next are some 'be good to yourself' items.

    - Eat healthy including a light breakfast and light lunch. A quick bite before a late shootoff is also good. Don't skip meals.

    - Particularly during hot weather, maintain proper hydration. Take the line well watered and keep it up between sub-events.

    - Watch your caffeine and sugar intake.

    Read the label and you'll discover most sports drinks are grossly overloaded with sugar. If you're a college athlete burning 3000 calories an hour, drink as much as you want. If you're a typical trapshooter, one bottle is usually two 'servings' and both have to much sugar.

    The bottom line - Avoid taking the line with a buzz on.

    - A quick physical stretch (arms, back, legs, etc.) just before you take the line is also a good thing.

    sissy
     
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