I see more and more articles and posts these days from “Mental Training Experts” on the importance of having the right attitude and approach when it comes to shooting Competition Sporting Clays and how all this modern “technobable” will, if followed with rigid adherement help some shooters in their quest to become a “Champion” shot.
Now I am not challenging their professional advice, as I’m sure it is well founded but I don’t see why it has to be so highly elaborate and explained in a “Rocket Science” type of way and you have to attend seminars or courses to understand it.
When I was working for and being mentored by Roger Silcox, he gave me the following advise on “Competition Psychology”, basically the right mental approach and the simplicity of it, so here are his words which I recorded in my Coaching diary:
The secret is absolute concentration, not on the competition, not on the number of targets, not on the score or what is going on around you but on each individual shot without reference or thought to its predecessors or those to come.
Concentrate on each shot as an entirely independent all important thing in itself, forget and shut out everything else! It is totally immaterial to you what the other competitors are doing, the less you know about them the better.
When you go into the stand concentrate on preparing yourself, never allow yourself to become over confident as this breeds carelessness, focus on every shot and creating the perfect technique and think of each shot as the start of the competition as far as you are concerned.
Ignore YOUR SCORE and, of course, that of others, target by target that is the only thing to focus on.
Forget there is a finish, the score card only shows up the man who counts his score, he usually starts well and normally finishes badly, there is only one competitor to beat and that is the target!
You do not have to beat others, their success or failure is their own business, not yours, the best shot out there cannot do more than break every target and if you keep on breaking them there is no one on earth who can beat you.
This is me (left) and good shooting friend Tony Paddon who has just told me I had won my County Sporting Championships for the first time, hence the big smile.
If you treat your last best scores as your true competitor you will attain the correct mental approach to achieve consistent success.
My own addition to Roger words would be this:
Always focus on creating the “Perfect Technique”; if the technique is perfect the end result is inevitable, if you create 100 perfect techniques then that will mean 100 perfect shots, which will mean 100 targets broken!!!
This article is dedicated to my personal friend and Coaching Mentor, Roger Silcox, who I worked for at the Roses Wood Shooting School from 1991 to 1993 fulltime, and then as a Locum Coach till 1998 when he retired.
I will forever owe this great man an immeasurable debt of gratitude in making me the Coach that I am today.
Keith Coyle, ©2019.