Match Anxiety and the mind game

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Match Anxiety and the mind game

Post by Rob Kovach on 9/20/2012, 11:49 pm

I wanted to share a realization that I came to while shooting at Camp Perry this year. There were matches that I was trying so hard to shoot the highest scores I could, but couldn't keep the rounds on paper because I had a horrible tremble. The dot wasn't even there---it was a red line going from one side of the backer to the other.

All last year, I was fighting this tremor that would come and go. Some practice days I would shoot a 282. Another the shake would be there and I would shoot a 240. I thought it was diet, or blood sugar, or something else.

After both of my .22's had broken down at Perry and I recorded 25 zeros in the .22 stage as a result, I figured I'd use the rest of Perry as a learning exersize and didn't care how I shot. THe tremors were gone!!! On CF Day I started shooting great scores, without the shake! I started thinking I could win my class, and started focusing on a good score and concentration hard. Just like that the tremors returned!! Over the rest of Perry I discovered that the tremors were a symptom of Match Anxiety, and ended up learing that I could turn the tremors on and off with relaxation and proper mental state.

Crazy how the mind works in this game....
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Re: Match Anxiety and the mind game

Post by djsomers on 9/21/2012, 1:19 am

Read all you can about mental marksmanship, work on strengthening your core and shooting arm, practice (dry and live) enough that match shooting can come automatically. Develop a shot plan and work on it and use it.

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Re: Match Anxiety and the mind game

Post by sixftunda on 9/21/2012, 5:47 am

Writing out my shot process has made a huge difference in my scores.

Last month I shot a slow fire 93 in practice. My personal best. I took the paster down, grabbed a pen and immediately started writing on the back of it. I wrote down each step of what I did to shoot that score. I keep that paster with me in my range bag and review it and add notes to it.
The more automatic your shot process is the more you can alleviate nervousness.
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Re: Match Anxiety and the mind game

Post by Kermit Workman on 9/23/2012, 8:13 pm

One of the best statements I have heard about match anxiety is as follows:
Everyone has butterflies. It is your job to get them to fly in formation.

Only you can control your anxiety. There is nothing on the firing line that should upset you. Practice and shooting matches help.

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Re: Match Anxiety and the mind game

Post by Dave C. on 9/23/2012, 8:36 pm

Remember it is only a game!

Dave C.
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Re: Match Anxiety and the mind game

Post by EdStevens on 10/18/2012, 9:14 am

I have no doubt that for myself emotional control is now the most important factor in shooting well. I have the fundamentals down, and most "mechanical" issues IMO can turn a 10 into a 9 maybe, but don't account for 8's, 7's and worse. That's a result of anticipation in almost all cases for me, and the subconscious doing an extremely rapid twitch of the front sight. If I remain calm and focused all the way through the shot, it will be a 10 or a 9. If I get a twinge of anticipation (and trying too hard will do it) I end up trying to force the shot and all bets are off.

I also found that the best way to overcome match pressure is to shoot lots of matches.
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Re: Match Anxiety and the mind game

Post by DeweyHales on 1/18/2013, 9:45 am

If you pick something and concentrate on that as hard as you can, it is tough to think about much else.
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Re: Match Anxiety and the mind game

Post by Rob Kovach on 1/18/2013, 6:53 pm

I've been tremor free for a few months now. Once I knew what it was, I could conciously relax and minimize the problem.
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