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"Chicken Finger"

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mikemyers
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Ray Dash
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Post by Ray Dash 3/16/2019, 5:39 pm

I am new to bullseye shooting this year and have been at it for a few months now. At first I seemed to be getting better and better but lately my mental game is bad and seems to be getting worse and worse the more I shoot. In slow fire when I get the timing right and get the shot off while I am still lowering the dot into the black it usually ends up being a 10 or a 9. I know that feeling very well because the shot goes off and I feel like it went off early but it ends up being a good shot. When the shot doesn't go off right away I get the dreaded "chicken finger" and my mind starts going in circles. Most of the time I can still get an OK shot off but sometimes I end up shooting a 4 or a 0 and its killing me. Every week at league I end up shooting backwards and my highest scores are in rapid, timed and then slow fire. 

I am just curious how many bullseye shooters shoot their slow fire like it was a timed or rapid fire? I feel during rapid fire I don't have time to let my mind take over so I really don't pay attention to my trigger and the shots just seem to happen like they should.
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Post by mspingeld 3/16/2019, 6:38 pm

Learn to abort slow fire shots. If it doesn't feel right, put the gun down. Take a couple of breaths and start again. Aborting shots is a skill.

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Post by mikemyers 3/16/2019, 8:45 pm

If you have the time, you might enjoy reading this:
http://blog.shooting-performance.com/mental-toughness-101-thoughts-on-improving-the-mind/

Everything you do, your mind remembers.  If you take a bad shot once, your body will want to do it again.  If you abort, it will be easier to abort in the future.  Lots of ideas in that web page, including your relaxing more.  

As 'mspingeld' just wrote, if anything feels wrong, stop.  Put the gun down on the table and take your hand away.  Start all over again from the beginning.  It's hard to resist the temptation to just move your finger, or fix your grip, or whatever...  I know.  Do it the way Brian Zins writes, start over.

Also, whatever size group you're shooting now, do NOT try to do better, as you'll just do worse.  Whatever it is, and whatever your wobble is, will be the same.  Just keep doing it.   .....very little of this is my idea, the rest came from reading the forums, and reading books, and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of dry fire.  Keith Sanderson says for every live round you fire, you should fire 100 dry fire rounds.  (I'm trying to keep my own ration 20:1, not 100:1, but you get the idea.
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Post by weber1b 3/16/2019, 11:15 pm

I went to roll triggers a couple of years ago and I love them. One of the things they pointed out to me is how slow I pulled the trigger in slow fire. What I have tried to teach myself to do is commit to the trigger in slow fire. Once you get the wobble in the area you want You need to get the trigger moving and do not stop. Do not creep it. Don't jerk it obviously, but get it moving and don't stop. Even if you throw one occasionally as you develop the feel, in the long run it will get you in the middle more consistently.

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Post by mikemyers 3/17/2019, 6:40 am

Two very quick thoughts.

First, for a seemingly perfect trigger press, just close your eyes.  Smooth, and easy, and effortless.  I was told about this, tried it, and wow, there was nothing to it.  So I figured that I would (try to) replicate that from then. on, as much as possible.  Oh, and people told me I was applying the trigger WAY too slowly.  I should do it with my eyes open at the same speed as when my eyes were closed.  I think the reason for all this was that I was trying to hit the X in the middle, at the time unaware of the fact that the harder I tried to hit the X, the less likely any shots would actually go there. 

Suggestion - read these two threads:

https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t8516-area-aiming-by-dave-salyer#71061

https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t8119-area-aiming-by-paul-b-weston#67187


Some VERY talented people trying to help me do better.  Everything they were saying I learned was SO true.   As to "Chicken Finger", I had it long ago, without even knowing what it was, or why it was wrong.  As Brian Zins wrote, there are two ways of applying the trigger, "uninterrupted" and "wrong".  What I didn't realize back then, for a long time, was that if my finger was going to play chicken, the way I should fight back was by aborting the shot.  As 'mspingeld' wrote, "aborting shots is a skill".  The only way to learn it, is by doing it.

Oh, and while you're doing all this, instead of shooting at a target, shoot at a blank piece of paper.  That, and dry-fire endlessly at a white wall.  I remember thinking people who told me this long ago were deluded or something.  I was wrong. They already knew something I hadn't yet learned.  (That also cured my tendencies toward "chicken finger", as it never happened while shooting at a white wall or a blank piece of paper.)
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Post by mspingeld 3/17/2019, 6:59 am

I've been doing this for 4+ years. Made expert and I've plateaued a bit. I still struggle with the Jamaican Trigger Malady (jerk/chicken). Very Happy

But seriously folks, Mike's right. Practice trigger with eyes closed, dry fire on blank wall. Worry less about the score.

Match director said I couldn't shoot the match with my eyes closed. His fault I'm not a master yet.

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Post by eightysixCJ 3/17/2019, 4:06 pm

10- minutes is a long time. Any shot that does not feel right, don't take, rest the gun and restart.

White wall dry fire really helps with trigger squeeze.

Tom

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Post by Ray Dash 3/17/2019, 4:25 pm

When I dry fire practise I never have the problem. I know its mental because it only happens when i get to the firing line. Today in league I tried to put my focus on the dot and not think about the trigger at all and I only had the problem a couple times. I know I am over thinking things but I am going to continue to practice and dry fire as much as I can.
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Post by Jon Eulette 3/17/2019, 4:32 pm

Dry firing has no anxiety. Live fire breeds it! Dry fire training should be reinforced when live fire TRAINING to prove it works. Too many shooters think they're training but really just shooting. A good shot plan does help reduce chicken finger. Short roll trigger helps too because you know you are squeezing the trigger based on feeling it move.
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Post by mikemyers 3/17/2019, 5:19 pm

Jon, I know you're the expert, but for many of us, just having a live round in the gun about to fire causes anxiety.  :-)

Thinking about what you wrote, my Model 41 must have a "roll trigger", because I can clearly feel it as it moves, unless I speed up a little.  I guess that's a question - if I'm not "feeling" it move, does that imply I'm applying pressure too quickly?  I used to always feel it moving.  Then I changed to a little faster.  Which do you recommend?
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Post by Ray Dash 3/17/2019, 5:52 pm

Today was our last shoot in our optics league and the no optics league is going to start soon so I am going to break out my Model 41 and start using that and see how I do. Before I purchased my Hämmerli Xesse I was shooting a single stage Volquartsen Ruger Mark IV and was shooting better and better with it. After switching to the Xesse I have not shot as good since. I doubt it was the pistol but I am going to put it away for a bit and see how I do with the Model 41. My wife abducted my Mark IV so I may never get that one back.
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Post by Jon Eulette 3/17/2019, 11:20 pm

mikemyers wrote:Jon, I know you're the expert, but for many of us, just having a live round in the gun about to fire causes anxiety.  :-)
Mike, we all have anxiety, but its how we all deal with it. I know some really good pistol shots that perform well in practice but struggle shooting well in matches. We all have to develop a method to shoot on command that we can put the anxiety aside. It takes practice and lots of matches. So believe me, I deal with it too. 
Jon
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Post by Outthere 3/18/2019, 10:51 am

Jon Eulette wrote:
mikemyers wrote:Jon, I know you're the expert, but for many of us, just having a live round in the gun about to fire causes anxiety.  :-)
Mike, we all have anxiety, but its how we all deal with it. I know some really good pistol shots that perform well in practice but struggle shooting well in matches. We all have to develop a method to shoot on command that we can put the anxiety aside. It takes practice and lots of matches. So believe me, I deal with it too. 
Jon
Agreed.

I see every shot as an opportunity to get a 10.
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