Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 19

W

e generally agree that "shooting is 90 percent mental," but
apply it in very personal ways.
When a coach emphasizes the
need to focus, for example,
one shooter's interpretation may be to bear down
and think harder, while the next may visualize
"living in the moment" and relaxing.
This article touches on recent studies in critical
thinking, brain fitness and even modifying the
brain (plasticity) from the perspective of shooting sports. Drs. Judy Tant and Mike Keyes help
interpret some of the more complex clinical findings and share their own experiences, as they are
both accomplished shooting athletes in their own
right. [See endnotes for their biographies.]
From Dr. Keyes:
"I think you have a very good article in the
making that combines your previous interviews,
the Navy SEAL study, and the latest knowledge
on training and teaching. The crux of the article,
that you have to train for competition, has been
out for decades, but modern science has both
verified and localized how this is accomplished.
"I was especially interested in what Ernie
Vande Zande, Lanny Bassham and Lones Wigger
said in your referenced articles, since I met them
on a number of occasions at Ft. Benning and
had a chance to talk with them and watch them
shoot. I've also been following the Doug Koenig
TV show and it is clear that he has very actively
dealt with match pressure by training for it.
"One of the important points for your readers
is that each of these shooters has a very personal
approach that might not work for others. The
basic principles of determining your reaction to
stress, finding a set of specific answers that work
for you and practicing them both in matches
and on the practice field hold up throughout
the interviews.

"At the very highest levels, the problems of
learning to shoot and how to deal with match
pressure have been solved, more or less, but
in order to achieve this level, the resolution
of these issues has to have been worked out
in a deliberate, layered manner that sets a solid
base for the next level. Talent, i.e. a set of physical, mental and psychological attributes that
give the shooter a step up on the ladder to
success, has a place, but mostly this is a starting
point. It takes hard work-work that is specific
to the training task, to improve to an elite level.
This is the "ten thousand hours" that you read
about, and it can't be a random amount of
work. It has to be focused and deliberate,
which means that when you train you have
to have goals and a good idea about what is
going to help you.
"After a while, the very best shooters have a
good idea about what is needed to succeed and
their analytic abilities are at a peak. But even
the very best can be assisted by a good coach
who can help with that incremental increase in
training that might make all the difference in the
rarified competition that marks the very best. The
bottom line is that you have to work in order to
succeed and you have to have the right kind of
work, or you are wasting time. If you don't have
a good base of training, all the talent in the world
will not help at the edges of your talent when
stress becomes the most acute.
"In retrospect, I realized that shooters like
Lones Wigger and Lanny Bassham had these
skills and I know how hard they worked at
improving them every day. What we didn't have
back then was a broad knowledge and good
methods to make sure that every shooter had
access to what has to be done in order to be the
best. The hard part is still the amount of work
that has to be put in, but now we know more
about the direction of that hard work."

...each shooter has a very personal
approach that might not work for others.
SHOOTINGSPORTSUSA.COM 19


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Shooting Sports USA - June 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - June 2014

Contents
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - Cover2
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 4
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - Contents
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 7
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 8
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 9
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 10
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 11
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 12
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 13
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 14
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 15
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 16
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 17
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 18
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 19
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 20
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 21
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 22
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 23
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 24
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 25
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 26
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 27
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 28
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 29
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 30
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 31
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 32
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 33
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 34
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 35
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 36
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 37
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 38
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - 39
Shooting Sports USA - June 2014 - Cover4
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