Skip to main content

You're ready...but are you prepared?

By Shari LeGate

“My ritual is the same before every game…. Maybe I play cards with the guys or watch a movie on television, but all day I’m going back and forth between thinking about those things and thinking about the game. I start picturing the way I want to play…..” Michael Jordan, NBA All-Star

No matter what sport we compete in, we have to prepare ourselves, and so we do all the exercises that prepare our bodies. In shooting, we do stretching exercises limbering up our arms and legs, twisting our backs and waists to be able to rotate to that hard left or right. But while it’s important to physically prepare, it’s just as important to mentally to prepare. I know most of us say we do it, but seriously ask yourself ….do you…..really?

Too many of us think mental preparation will happen automatically, because we want it to. What separates the good shooter from the great shooter is those who purposely prepare both their mind and their body.

“It’s hard to separate the mental and the physical. So much of what you do physically happens because you’ve thought about it and mentally prepare for it” Dan Fouts, NFL Quarterback.

Ask any shooter and they’ll tell you they have a routine to get them ready to walk out on the line. Whether it’s listening to certain music, planning their strategy, reviewing their shot sequence, looking at targets, etc.  But is this really a purposely-developed warm up?  Most times it’s been developed by chance and when things start to go south, what do you have in place to draw on to get out of trouble? Worry, failed expectations and negative thoughts. Not a good mental game.

So what is a good mental game? A consistent routine of specific thoughts, images, words, feelings and behaviors that prepare your mind for competition. You want to reach that ideal mindset or “zone” and that takes practice and preparation. So, while your preparing your body with stretches and twists, prepare your mind at the same time.

But what kind of mental preparation routine do you need. I can’t answer that for you, but I can offer some advice on what to work on:

1) Attain the appropriate energy level.

2) Attain the appropriate focus.

3) Rehearse your competition strategy.

4) Develop a competition focus and refocusing plan.

5) Prepare for distractions and unexpected events.

6) Develop a strategy to work through discomfort, fatigue and frustration

7) Keep on task.

Do these things over and over again, the same way every time. This isn’t going to happen overnight. You didn’t get to be the good shooter you are now, overnight, did you? In order for any mental game to be effective, it takes practice, just like it took shooting practice on the range. But with honing a mental routine, you don’t have to be at the range. You can work on your mental game at home. The more you practice it, the better you’ll be.

So, start practicing and show up at this competition with a competitive edge no one is expecting. That alone will get you a few more targets!

I look forward to your thoughts.



Popular posts from this blog

Meet MEC Outdoors New Sponsored Shooter

Hi! I’m Makayla Scott from White Sulphur Springs, WV. I am 16 years old, and I’m an avid sportswoman, clay shooter, and journalist. I am MEC Outdoors newest sponsored shooter! I’m so proud and excited to be a part of this awesome team!  I started shooting shotgun at 12 with my older brother. At the time, I was quiet and introverted, and I had no expectations as to where shooting sports would lead me in the future. Now, not only am I a brave, new person- I have a job writing for Womens Outdoor News, and I am a sponsored shooter for both amazing companies of CZ-USA and MEC Outdoors! I’m really looking forward to the future with MEC! Ever since I was 12, I have been helping my dad set machines for tournaments in exchange for practice rounds, and I worked with many other brands of machines. My first experience with MEC Machines was at my 4-H club when we bought two 300E Sporter machines, and I was amazed at their reliability and dependability. The machines were easy to adju

You Can Only Find What You Are Looking For

This month Blog post is written by sponsored shooter, Dalton Kirchhoefer. Dalton and his dad, Tony practicing at his home club, Quail Run Sports.   You Can Only Find What You Are Looking For My father has always told me, “You can only find what you are looking for in life, as well as competition”. I’m not sure I grasp the entire meaning but the light is beginning to shine a little brighter at the beginning of the shooting season. Regardless of the shooter’s skill, overcoming the feeling you have after missing a target you know you can hit or one you have hit 25 out of 25 in practice, is probably the greatest challenge a competitor faces during competition. The most important target in a tournament is the one following a miss. Will you be able to wipe the image of the miss from your mind, replacing it with a good picture of you smashing the next target? Or will you choose to play backwards rather than forward and carry the miss with you to the next station? Personally,

The Cycles of Shooting

Shooting is about cycles and there are a variety of cycles; the cycle of practice, the cycle of competition, the cycle of the score and the cycle of trust. All of these cycles are interconnected, but there’s no doubt the cycle we’re all interested in is the cycle to raise the score. What does it take to raise your score? Most would say practice, practice and more practice, but there’s more to it than just practice alone. Competition shooting is all-encompassing. It’s an encompassment of your physical ability, mental mastery, emotional control and trust in your equipment.   When you step up to the line, trust is the key and that trust is two-fold. The first is trust in yourself, in your ability to make the shot and execute it exactly the same way every time. Practice builds that self-trust. The second part is trusting your equipment; trust in your gun and your ammunition. Trusting your gun to move the way you want it to, to complete the entire cycle of executing the shot from w