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Lower heart rate

Chris Miceli
Jon Eulette
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Post by Jwhelan939 8/20/2018, 10:10 am

First topic message reminder :

Looking for some advice. My summer league shoots 2 rf and 2 cf matches each night. I have horrific issues with a pounding, rapid heart beat during the entire first nmc. It takes me a while for my heart rate to lower to a level in which it is not effecting my hold. It's entirely nerves. 

I already show up an hour before to "relax" before the match. I also try to focus in on my process and not think about anything else.

Would anyone happen to have any tips, thoughts, or advice? Thank you for your help.


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Post by Allgoodhits 8/21/2018, 11:40 am

Chris Miceli wrote:
Jwhelan939 wrote:285, Allgood, Tim, and Jack

Thank you all for your thoughts. I will definitely try some of them out and see if they help. Some really great advice that makes a ton of sense. I am so close to expert that I think I am too focused and letting that get my nerves up. It didn't happen when I was a marksman shooting low marksman scores with little chance of advancement. I need to just stay focused on the process of each shot.   Thank you all again!
I’ve heard or read it somewhere.. I doubt I came up with it. Tell yourself it’s like me to shoot well and believe it!
I think Lanny Bassham is credited with "just like me". I am pretty sure he talks about that in WITH WINNING IN MIND which I suggest reading. It has much good material for most people.

I personally believe that there are too many people who have as an objective or goal to shoot a 10. Although this is a desire which would be favorable, it may not be realistic if their hold at any given distance is not that tight. If your hold, call it wobble, is about 8" at 50 yds, then the expectation to shoot a 10 each shot is unrealistic and sets one up for experienced failure. 

From a mental perspective, if your physical ability is about an 8" hold, then a realistic expectation should be that all of your shots should be about an 8 or better. Yes some will likely be X, 10, or 9 . If you can manage no wide 7's or worse then that should be a success. Success leads to more success, and may help prevent elevated HR/BP/anxiety since you are performing as expected, by causing the shot to break without making the hold/wobble worse than simply the hold. Again an 8" or 8 ring hold will not generate a 10 with each shot. Don't expect it.

From a training standpoint, IMO, scoring rings are the worst thing that can be put on a "training" target. A training target only needs an aiming reference. Call it a 5.5" or 8" bullseye.  Too many get wrapped around the score instead of the shot process of delivering each shot as close to the center of the desired target's aiming area as physically possible for you! This is all that matters. Shoot each shot as good as you can make it, independent of other shots. If you did as good as you can with each shot, then you can't be disappointed, because you did your best each time. This is gratifying. After you have finished shooting all shots, then if you want to score it fine, but it really doesn't matter. If the group represents your wobble without wild and crazy shots, and if it is centered on the target, you can't ask for more than that. Stop beating yourself up. It is supposed to be fun.  As your physical skill increases, or your ammo or gun get better, then the expectation may be a 6" hold or wobble. The most shots will be tight 8's, 9's or better.

Keeping one's scoring expectation in check with their physical skill and equipment quality is a hard to do, but it need not be. We permit it to happen.

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Post by joy2shoot 8/21/2018, 3:01 pm

Chris Miceli wrote:... Tell yourself it’s like me to shoot well and believe it!
Well, I went to the range and I said over and over 'Its like Chris to shoot well', but it didn't seem to help.

p.s. I think that is something that Lanny Bassham preaches.


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Post by VonKarman 9/8/2018, 6:03 pm

I learned a breathing exercise from an interview with an Olympic rifle shooter that has helped me to lower my heart rate during matches. The exercise includes: breathing in slowly over a count between 3 and 5, holding that breath over the same count, and then slowly exhaling over the same count. I experience a decrease in my heart rate during the hold and exhale phases of the exercise.

When I feel nervous, I find it helpful to occupy my conscious thought with a task like counting backward from 100 by 7’s or some other arbitrary number that requires concentration, or reciting a memorized passage in my head. Conscious thought gets in the way, and it helps me to send conscious thought elsewhere with an occupying task.

Finally, I avoid looking through my scope during a match. Seeing confirmation of bad shots or especially good groups forming can cause my heart rate to increase - it cuts both ways for me. I check my first slow fire shot just to make sure there are no tragedies in my pistol setup, but then don’t look again until the end of the strings. During the indoor winter league (22s at 50 ft), I also try not to check the targets through the scope after the first TF and RF strings. I can’t help but see my 45 ACP shot groups at 25 yds.


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