Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 23

Beginning last month, Elliott chronicles the personal solutions of 13 champions with regard to dealing with match pressure. Next month we’ll complete the 3-part series with input from Lones Wigger, Brian Zins, Bruce Piatt, Carl Bernosky and Ernie Vande Zande.
By Jock Elliott // Photo by Chip Lohman

process. The primary reason people “over try” is that they go into competition with an incomplete goal. People tend to seek out what society rewards them for, and accomplishment is easy to measure. It has a number associated with it. But it is focusing on the process that will get you there. Attaining that goal—how and what we learn from our mistakes, is valuable. There’s nothing like making a mistake to make a person realize that they need to do something about it. If you look at the only benefit of shooting in a tournament as a place on the leaderboard, then you don’t recognize the accomplishments that lead up to that score as the more important objective. Pressure is not the problem. It gets a bad rap. You don’t want to get rid of it. You’re not going to go to the Olympics without it. You better make it a friend. It’s put there for you to amplify the experience of doing something few people can do. The primary reason we compete should be so we can pay attention to who we become along the way. When outcome is primary, we’re concentrating on the wrong thing. When I stopped trying to win tournaments, I started winning. When I stopped worrying about where the bullet went, I concentrated on how well I executed the shot.

JESSIE HARRISON, Action Pistol
Say I’m at a match to defend my title. That means the other ladies are ready to go after it too and want to beat me, so I do feel a certain amount of pressure. The way I deal with it is I never look at scores during a match. If I’m behind or ahead, I don’t want to know it. I don’t want to put pressure on myself if I’m behind, and I don’t want to think I can coast if I learn that I’m ahead. Not knowing where I stand as the match progresses allows me to do my very best every time I step to the line— giving it everything I can, right there. If I am in a match and I know I have a good stage, it gives me self-confidence to shoot well. But then I tell myself that stage is over, and the next stage is a brand new one. If I do badly, I have to drop it, forget it and move on. Otherwise, dwelling on it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. One thing I’ve always said: “I can only shoot to the best of my ability.” If that’s enough to win the match, that’s great; If not, I’ll be the first to congratulate the others. I want everyone to compete at their best so we can say, “Whoever won, they were the best shooter that day.” My main job is to be on the range and shoot. I spend 4 to 5 days out of the week on the range, training for what I have coming up and making sure that my equipment and guns are working properly. I check all my equipment before I go to a match. The last thing you want is to have a problem with your gun. In my sport, there are no alibis. This preparation also helps me deal with pressure. Because each match can be unique, I don’t have set regimens. Instead, I keep a clear head when I shoot. If there
SHOOTINGSPORTSUSA.COM 23

Here’s a myth: Pressure causes performance to drop. Pressure does not cause your performance to drop. What I learned about pressure was that when you feel the physical effects of pressure, it’s real. You feel an adrenaline rush, your heart rate increases and your blood pressure goes up. I’ve seen shooters shoot extremely high scores with their legs shaking. Pressure doesn’t cause your scores to go up or down—but your attitude does. Another myth: If I could avoid pressure, I would do better. Actually, pressure is an amplifier. It is my friend. Pressure makes me realize what I’m doing is important so I pay better attention to my shooting. Be careful what you care about. It is more important to focus on your shooting


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Shooting Sports USA - October 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - October 2011

Shooting Sports USA - October 2011
Competitor’s Corner
Contents
Shooter’s News
Editor’s Diary
Score Sheets
2011 Camp Perry Pistol Champion—Phil Hemphill
2011 National Rifle Championships
How Not To Crack Under Pressure—Part II
A Page from History
Coming Events
Member Info./Classified Ads
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - Shooting Sports USA - October 2011
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - Competitor’s Corner
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - Contents
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - Shooter’s News
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 7
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - Editor’s Diary
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 9
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - Score Sheets
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 11
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 2011 Camp Perry Pistol Champion—Phil Hemphill
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 13
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 2011 National Rifle Championships
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 15
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 16
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 17
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 18
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 19
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 20
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 21
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - How Not To Crack Under Pressure—Part II
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 23
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 24
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 25
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - A Page from History
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - Coming Events
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 28
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 29
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 30
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 31
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 32
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 33
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 34
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 35
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 36
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 37
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 38
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - Member Info./Classified Ads
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - 40
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - Cover3
Shooting Sports USA - October 2011 - Cover4
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