Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 23

From Dr. Tant:
"This is different than telling yourself to stop
doing something, which perversely increases
the emphasis on it. It is more a process which is
a byproduct of focusing; the brain adjusts by reducing firing in nonessential or interfering areas.
"
Finally, from Brock, a slightly different take
on the concept of being in the zone: "Here's a
big takeaway from all this. Manage what you
focus on. Pay attention to your attention, and
stop yourself from getting on the wrong train of
thought early, before it takes over. This is the
opposite of being mindless: It's being mindful.
"
From Dr. Keyes:
"As for focus, there is a large range of ability
to focus among people in general, and probably
includes a genetic component. I did an accidental
experiment with U.S. pistol shooters in which I
asked them to work with a biofeedback machine.
Originally I was going to teach them relaxation,
but they all beat the machine right away. In fact
they had races to see who could do it the fastest. There was no need to teach relaxation-they
all had that talent (none had ever been taught a
technique), but none had a way to use it when
they were at the world championships or the
Olympics. They also had the ability to focus
intensely, but again were not able to use that
ability to their advantage. Focus can be learned,
but most shooters are self-selected and have the
talent to focus in the first place. The trick is to be
able to use that ability in high stress situations
which does require a lot of training and coaching.
As for the SEAL study [see Part 1], it's not surprising that they found that conclusion as these
men were not only chosen in a vigorous selection
environment, but are very highly trained to the
point of brain change, the way classical musicians and a lot of other athletes are.

"In addition, classroom teachers and trainers
often refer to a student's attention span or inability to focus, when describing their ability to learn.
An inexperienced person's mind may wander
during stress with thoughts such as "Will I win?
Will my teammate do better than me? What will
my parents or friends think? Will I be embarrassed?" With experience and maturity, we begin
to collate what is important and exclude that
which is not. Put another way, we learn to focus.
"

THE NEUROSCIENCE
OF BELIEF
Yale Professor Steven Novella's Your Deceptive
Mind explains the many flaws in our mind's
emotions and its tendency to take the path of
least resistance as a self-protective measure.
"The default mode of human psychology is to
arrive at beliefs for largely emotional reasons
and then to employ our reason, more to justify
those beliefs, rather than to arrive at those
beliefs in the first place. An example of this is
"
when we rationalize or attribute our behavior
to external causes. Without the use of critical
thinking (the frontal lobes), it is easy to give in
to deep-seated emotions to protect our selfesteem. "I lost because of ______, rather than
"
"I wasn't prepared.
"
Like practicing the fundamentals, the habit of
critical thinking can become ingrained in the plastic mind. While we can't change the evolved emotions rooted in our "lizard brain, we can change
"
how we respond to those emotions by "engaging
the executive function of our frontal lobes. As an
"
example, rather than label pre-match nerves as
a flaw that threatens our shooting performance,
instead, view the excess adrenaline as our body's
attempt to prepare us for the match with better
eyesight and reflexes.

precise to say they have spent more time in the "brain gym,
"
ing the part of the mind that keeps out unwanted distractions.
SHOOTINGSPORTSUSA.COM 23


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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
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 30
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Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 39
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - Cover4
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