If most things are "80% mental", why aren't we spending 80% of our time training in the mental game?
Shotgun sports, such as skeet, trap, and sporting clays, are not only physically demanding but also mentally challenging. These sports require the ability to stay focused, maintain composure under pressure, and make quick decisions. Therefore, having a strong mental game is just as important as having excellent physical skills. In this blog, we will discuss why the mental game is crucial in shotgun sports and how you can improve your mental skills to enhance your performance.
Firstly, most shotgun sports are unpredictable, and the shooter needs to adjust quickly to hit the targets consistently. In Sporting for example, the targets can come from any direction, at any speed, and in any order. To hit these targets, the shooter must stay focused and be mentally tough. Mental toughness is the ability to stay composed and perform optimally under pressure. It means being able to block out distractions and negative thoughts and maintain confidence in your ability.
Be a Cyborg
I remember being at a national shoot and one of my friends asked another friend, "what did you think about that wind, crazy, aye?" He replied, "what wind?" Mental toughness is an essential aspect of shotgun sports as it allows the shooter to remain calm under pressure. In these sports, a single missed shot can make a significant difference in the final outcome. This situation can cause the shooter to become anxious, leading to a further decline in their performance. To prevent this from happening, the shooter needs to stay mentally strong and avoid negative self-talk. Instead, the shooter should focus on their strengths and visualize hitting the targets.
You become what you think about
Visualization is another critical mental skill in shotgun sports. It involves creating a mental image of the desired outcome. In shotgun sports, visualization means mentally rehearsing the shot before taking it. This mental rehearsal can help the shooter to react faster and more accurately when the target appears. Visualization is particularly useful when the shooter is facing a challenging target or in a high-pressure situation. Studies have shown that visualization can improve performance and reduce anxiety in athletes.
Whether you think you can or can't, you're right
Self-talk is another crucial mental skill that can make a significant difference in shotgun sports. Self-talk is the internal dialogue that the shooter has with themselves. In shotgun sports, self-talk means using positive self-talk to boost confidence and focus. For example, instead of thinking, "I hope I don't miss," the shooter should say to themselves, "I am going to hit this target." Positive self-talk can help the shooter stay focused, maintain confidence, and perform at their best.
Another aspect of the mental game in shotgun sports is having a pre-shot routine. A pre-shot routine is a series of mental and physical actions that the shooter takes before taking the shot. A good pre-shot routine should help the shooter get into the right mindset for the shot, visualize the target, and prepare their body for the shot. By having a consistent pre-shot routine, the shooter can train their mind to get into the right state for every shot, improving their consistency and accuracy. How can you know what's wrong with your shot if your approach is different every time?
Physical Helps Mental
Lastly, shotgun sports can be physically demanding, and fatigue can affect the shooter's mental game. Therefore, the shooter must take care of their physical health and fitness. Physical fitness can have a significant impact on mental toughness, focus, and concentration. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate rest can help the shooter to perform optimally in these sports.
In conclusion, the mental game is an essential aspect of shotgun sports. Mental toughness, visualization, positive self-talk, and pre-shot routines are critical mental skills that can help the shooter to improve their performance. The shooter must stay mentally strong, focused, and composed to perform optimally in these sports. It is essential to practice mental skills along with physical skills to achieve success in shotgun sports. By incorporating mental training into their practice routine, any shooter can enhance their mental game and achieve their goals in shotgun sports.