Skip to main content

Fighting the Mid-Season Slump

Having just returned from the Grand American Trap Shoot, I talked with many shooters, both young and old, who told the same story and asked the same question. “I was shooting great at the start of the season and now I can’t hit a thing. What am I doing wrong?” The dreadful mid-season slump, we’ve all experienced it and when we do, we get the same advice, ‘just shoot your way out of it.’

Well, there’s some truth to that, but it’s how you approach shooting your way out of it that makes all the difference. The fundamentals of golf are similar to those of shooting and I play and watch a lot of golf. Not surprisingly, even pro golfers suffer from mid-season slumps, but what caught my attention was how they deal with it. 

To put it simply, they go back to the basics. Tiger Woods is a perfect example. His struggles on the golf course these days are well known, but he’s working his way out of it. How? He went back to his basics. He pulled footage of his swing when he was at the top of his game and did a comparison of then and now. To the average person, it looks the same, but not to Tiger or his coach. To him, it wasn’t even close to the same swing.  He and his coach went out to the driving range and he’s working on bringing back that swing. He is going back to the basics; going back to what made him a champion.

That’s what we shooters should do, go back to our basics. However, there’s a little more to it. First off, it’s easier said than done because we think we are doing so, but a minor little obstacle gets in the way that we’re not even conscious of. It’s called Muscle Memory.

It took a few months to get into this slump and remain in it. Over those months, we made slight changes to how we do things. Changes we don’t even notice. Whether it’s a small cant in the gun, how we make the initial move to the target or how we finish the execution of the overall shot. We did it over and over again and it’s become so ingrained in our muscle memory, it’s now habit and we don’t even realize it. It could be one thing or several.

It’s easy for the pro golfers. They have old footage from matches they can turn to and professional coaches they pay a lot of money for to watch them practice and analyze their swings. We don’t have that luxury. So, what do we do?

First, forgive yourself for shooting badly. Put aside all those bad scores and awful shots you keep remembering and give yourself permission to take the time to fix it.

Then, put down the gun and think back to the days when everything was in sync and making the shot came easily. Think about how good that felt and how you executed the shot, from start to finish. Not just pulling the trigger, but from the time you stepped on the station until you stepped off.  Go out on the practice range and most importantly, take your time and think about what you’re doing. Don’t just shoot shot after shot, throwing ammo downrange. Think about the basic fundamentals that got you to this level and make sure each shot is executed with those fundamentals. The first couple of practice rounds will take time, because you’re carefully thinking about what you’re doing.  You have to implement new muscle memory and that takes concentration and consistency. But it will happen.

Remember, you can’t pull yourself out of a slump by just shooting your way out of it. It takes patience, going back to basics, and belief in yourself and your ability to beat the slump and finish the season strong.
Shari

Comments

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