As the New Year begins lets all begin to approach our shooting with new insight and effort. There is a famous author by the name of Malcolm Gladwell that details in his book “Outliers” that people gain all types of advantages from practice. We all have talent, but practice refines and details those talents into skills. More to the point, repeatable skills that we rely on to excel are critical to your success. Gladwell goes on to say there is a 10,000 hours of practice rule of thumb. Another way to look at this is few have natural talent. Those that become great do so with considerable practice. I say this again – CONSIDERABLE PRACTICE.
Consider a practice schedule that is consistent and with goals. Practice smart. Head to the range with a plan that is measurable and that you can experience growth. I believe there is a trend with instruction to spend less time counting broken targets and more time spent on meeting goals. Set a goal every practice and discuss this before practice with your coach.
Think about this. Start at station one and set a goal to improve your shooting of hard right targets. Lock the trap house and establish you are going to shoot 100 rounds at that station. When you miss, back off and think about why you missed, what might have been different, what did you do that was NOT consistent with good shooting. Take the time to discuss this with your coach and other shooters.
From a team perspective, talk with your team and establish those goals. Are you struggling with easy straightaway targets or hard left and rights? Take some time to dissect the process from footwork, through hold points, through acquisition to pulling the trigger. How does each of these components add up to breaking targets?
Finally, take few minutes to debrief at the end of a practice round. Close the loop of pre-practice discussion with post-practice discussion. Share what you accomplished, how you realized this success and set goals for the next practice. Don’t forget you can practice at home. Gun mounts, follow through, pre-shot routines, and review your journal of practice from the past weeks.
You can do this!
David Vaught, Ph.D.