Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 22

FEATURE // MENTAL TRAINING II

BRAIN SPEED

Observation:
If I don't over-think things and just let my eye
trigger the shot, I shoot better.
Research:
Scientists believe that the newer frontal
lobe may not be able to keep up with "deep"
brain signals that transmit at nearly 300 mph.
This is explained when athletes talk about
"letting go, rather than over-thinking the shot.
"
As Tim Conrad explained in his January, 2013,
article on muzzle flip, this conscious signal can
take up to 0.3 seconds from recognizing the
desired sight picture to moving the trigger
finger-too long to capture the opportunity for
a perfect shot. However, if the signal is initiated
spontaneously in the cerebellum where such procedures are thought to be stored through repetition, the reaction speed is much quicker. Signals
are processed by the "deep brain" almost twice
as fast as the problem-solving frontal lobes.
From Dr. Tant:
"Instructions, however well-meaning, from
the conscious (left brain, frontal lobe) are a sure
recipe for suboptimal shots (producing a donut
pattern, for instance). Working with an electronic
training system can illustrate this concretely.
Often, I have found that the best possible score
would have come about 0.3 seconds before the
actual 'shot' was released. Diagnosis: I forced the
shot and lowered my score.
"
As an example of how patterns can be embedded
into the "deep brain" without direct control from
the frontal lobes, consider how very experienced
amateur radio operators have learned to recognize
the Morse code. While the highest level of licensing
requires that amateur radio operators copy Morse
code at 20 words per minute, very experienced
"Hams" can copy signals at 100 words per minute,
while reading a separate message out loud from a
newspaper. With years of repetition, the deep brain
for these radio operators has learned to translate

22 SSUSA JULY 2014

the sound of Morse code dots and dashes directly
to the written symbol, while the conscious brain
reads concurrently from the newspaper. From
Lones Wigger's interview, "It takes 3-4 years to learn
how to shoot, and another 3-4 years to learn how to
win-to deal with match pressure. It takes several
more years to learn how to do it when it counts.
"

FOCUS

Observation:
When I'm in "the zone, I shoot my best.
"
But, it's hard to get there on demand.
Research:
This condition has been studied neurologically
in a number of studies showing how the brain
works when an expert is viewing an action in
their area of expertise or when they are working at a high level. From David Rock's Your Brain
at Work: "A key part of maintaining good focus
occurs based on how well we inhibit the wrong
things from coming into focus. There's that
"
concept again-inhibiting what comes naturally,
like subduing the instinct to flinch. Brock continues: "Using scanning technologies, neuroscientists have observed people inhibiting their
natural responses, and discovered the brain
networks that are activated when this happens.
There is one specific region within the prefrontal
cortex that keeps showing up as being central
for all types of inhibition. It's called the right
and left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. So it
"
is with well-practiced shooters-this part of
the brain that inhibits unwanted activity is
stronger than in less-practiced athletes. While
we might say these athletes really know how
to focus, it may be more precise to say they
have spent more time in the "brain gym,
"
strengthening the part of the mind that keeps
out unwanted distractions.

...it may be more
strengtheni


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Shooting Sports USA - July 2014

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

Contents
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - Cover2
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - Contents
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 6
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 7
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 8
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 9
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 10
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 11
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 12
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 13
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 14
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 15
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 16
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 17
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 18
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 19
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 20
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 21
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 22
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 23
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 24
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 25
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 26
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 27
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 28
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 29
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Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 31
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Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 35
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Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 38
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 39
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - Cover4
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