“When you are not sitting quietly, you may be distracted without knowing it; but once you are aware of it, distraction itself becomes a mechanism for getting rid of distraction.”
-T’ai i chin hua tsung chih
Distractions disable us because we do not prepare for them beforehand.
Examine every stage for possible distraction points. Then, create a plan to counter the potential distraction.
For example, to begin a stage, knowing you will have to move an object from point A to point B, before you begin shooting, isn’t “enough.” Visualize the movement of the object, and also visualize what you will precisely see and feel, or know, as you begin shooting.
I said know, because knowing can include more than just what you see. You can see a stopped sight picture, and you can also know it was accompanied by a calm mental state.
The King of Calm: Doug Koenig. Or as I called my training partner, Doug Buddy.
Once you’ve recognized that moving an object might distract you from the shooting, create a visual and mental plan. As the object arrives at point B, exhale slightly as the sights appear on the target; see the sights stop, and feel a calm mental pause before shooting.
Start a list of distractions (we called them “stage traps”) that stage designers regularly enjoy.
First on your list might be any stage that does not begin from a freestyle start position.
Program key thoughts that produce appropriate responses in specific places. When entering a field course position, for example, as the sights were coming onto the target, I’d hear: “exhale… calm…” before pulling the trigger.
Visualize everything you know you will need to see and do, down to the most minute detail. At the start buzzer, turn off the thinking mind and watch your visualization produce the activity.
Comments are welcome, and all questions will be answered.
A new topic will arrive each Friday afternoon, in one of two categories. One will be on shooting, and the other will be on living. Or: how I learned to live from what I learned by competing.
Thanks for coming in.