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Hi all:
I've been trap shooting for 9 years. Enjoy shooting and I shoot well. The problem I'm having, I've always had, is when someone starts counting, scoring, timing me, I change. I become nervous, shaking, sweating, and a big knot forms in my stomach. I start flinching, jabbing, every shooting problem that there is I now have when I step up to that line. When I'm done for the day, whether I shot a 100 straight or 50/100 I'm exhausted. I really don't even care, I'm just glad to be done. I guess I thought if I shot more, these feelings will go away or diminish. Not so. Everyone gets nervous in competition. But not like this. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe everyone is like this.
Any thoughts? Dave T.
 

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Dave, read the book by Lanny Basham, "With Winning in Mind", he is a former Gold medalist in Rifle, it is a great read, you will likely read it in one night, great insight into competition and winning (or just competeing better) and being more focused.
 

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I'd start worrying when/if I didn't get like this.

If I shoot 100x100 it seems like the first post is the problem, after that it's a breeze.

WW
 

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Drink a beer before each round....ok BAD advice. Personally, I try to treat every round as practice. I know im not gonna get rich doin this so I just go at it to have fun.

Forrest
 

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Just as famill00 said... Don't forget you're out there to have FUN. Just relax, concentrate on what you're doing and enjoy it! John
 

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DaveT- I frequently have the opposite problem. I will go to the line at a major shoot with the attitude that I am just shooting some practice and not concentrate on my job. I shoot a lot of targets and sometimes it becomes difficult for me to get into a proper mental zone.

I leave tomorrow for a 4 day shoot in North Carolina. On a few events at this shoot, I will be shooting well and then begin to think about th best place to have dinner. On another event, probably about the third day, I will begin to worry about things that may have come up at the office or wounder if the person who drops by my home every day is feeding the 20-30 squirrels that come to my yard every day.

You need to become just a very little bit more like me, and I need to become a whole bunch more like you.

Pat Ireland
 

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Go to Briley web site, good article, it's called " Nothing Special". Remember
to breath, take deep breaths between shots. Also flex muscles while holding
a deep breath. Hope this helps you. Wayne Quandt
 

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Good morning "DavidT" - Your reaction to competitive Trapshooting is not unique (as you can see from the folks who responded). Everyone wants to be perfect. Couple that with the fact that we are not machines and therefore there are no 100% averages - even among the "big dogs" and you might realize that this wonderful sport (like many others) is a constant challenge.

Perhaps, if you take a long term view with goals (long term and short term), get good coaching which suits you, and as Bob Rotella (Professional Mental Coach for Golf) says "work on the process and not the results". Take one target at a time (shooting one target is a lot easier than trying 100 or even 25 at a time). This takes time and training but is a lot easier on you as a competitor.

If you want to email me I would be glad to send you some material I use with my shooters - a flexible system to replace the pressure and tension when competing. Above all enjoy this wonderful sport of Trapshooting.

Bruce Maxwell

Bruce Maxwell
 

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Remember that trapshooting is a one target event, repeated 100 times.

You have broken everything that the trap can throw. So, just concentrate on breaking that one target, and then the next target, etc.

In case you didn't get it. One target event, repeated 100 times.

Simple, isn't it?
 

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As basic as this may sound, you must prepare yourself ahead of time. Get a good night's sleep the night prior to shooting. Limit your caffeine/smoking and go to the line hungry, in other words, don't have a big meal before you shoot. Get to your starting trap one squad or two squads early so you won't be rushed, study the targets and decide how you would have shot each target. Smile and breath deeply, this is a fun thing and no matter how your score ends up, it will all be over in about 20 minutes.
 

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Pat Ireland has it right...in morning events, I begin thinking: "cheeseburgers"; in afternoon events, I begin thinking about supper. Hard to concentrate... Ed
 

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Dave Trykow,

Check on eBay or Amazon and get a copy of "The Breakout Principle" by Herbert Benson, M.D. and William Proctor. (ISBN 0-7432-2397-7)Pay close attention to chapter nine "The Fourth Peak-Athleticism" as it deals with the problem you are experiencing.

Jim
 

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Valium?? Back in the early 70's when I was competing more I had similar problems. I had a Dr. friend who suggested that I try Valium. He gave me two tablets - to make a long story short, I didn't give a crap if I hit the target or not. End of that experiment. RG
 

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A natural method is always preferred; however, many who suffer stage freight and other anxiety issues use Beta-blockers. My Doctor said she'd consider a prescription for me if my pre-shoot jitters didn't get better with time. They did with more experience so I never tried them out. The below link provides general info on them.

Guy


http://heart.health.ivillage.com/bloodpressure/betablockers2.cfm
 

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DTrykow;
If you don't have competition jitters then you aren't competing, you are just shooting. It is how you handle the jitters that makes the differences between the winners and losers. A pre-shot routine works for me to get my mind on "this" target, mine is Look, See, Kill, I do this just before I call pull.
Another trick to get rid of non shooting mind clutter is what I call the Silver Lever. I tell myself to flush those thoughts out of my brain, I visulize a toilet handle and the flushing stroke. Depending on the day, event or whatever I may have to flush often, I have a lot of clutter.

Good luck and don't give up. For all of you non-bird counters, how many of you don't know you are straight at 98 or maybe you have never been there.

Don
 
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"Competition jitters" is nothing more than other words for "fear"...fear of failure, fear of humiliation, fear of a lot of things rooted somewhere in the individual's past. Little mantras and slogans and rituals may distract the individual for a moment but they won't address the causes which are always rooted in events way in the past and deep in the mind. Some people can recall the roots of their feelings without professional help, others can't. Some people will overcome them by themselves, others won't. Some people get over their jitters, some perform in spite of them and some never do.

Mike
 

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If you are so nervous and continually jammed up about shooting competivity, then you should think about stepping back a bit. I am sure no one broke your arm to get you to do it, you did it on your own because you thought it would be fun. If you ain't having any fun then stop doing it (atleast for a while). You said you are "just glad to be done" is a sign you are not having any fun. Why waste a Saturday or Sunday money in entrance fees, gas, food for something you "are just glad to be done"???

Pregame jitters are not being scared to fail or look like a buffoon, its your body just getting ready to get into it. Once the first target flies, your body should relax, settle down, and forget everything except what your are attempting to do. But... it seems like you are jamed up the entire time and that is not good.

Why don't you try this. Walk up to your squad, introduce yourself, talk about anything except actually shooting. You then may relax a bit because you kind of befriend the group and may get a feeling of you are all in it together.

But by all means, if you are too jammed up, and not having any fun, step back a while and maybe just go and watch a few events before you shoot. You will find you are your own worst critic and enemy and after seeing everyone else missing targets now and then, some all the time, some not many at all, you will see you are no different than everyone else. You are one of the other 30-1000 guys and girls out there having a blast.

Its supposed to be fun, if it ain't fun stop doing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks everyone: Some good advise was given. I've been dealing with this for 9 years and need to regroup. I'm rapping up a local tournament and I think I'll take a break for awhile and gather up as much info as possible. Try to take a different approach. I'm not quiting. I'll never quit. Thanks again. Dave T.
 

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believe in yourself and your ability to beat the competition and you will achieve your goal. I always bet on myself to the limit and when I shoot, I never let anyone imtimidate me.
 
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