2007 New Year’s Resolution

I’ve made some good progress this year.

  • In last year’s 2006 New Year’s Resolution I said that “it will be nice to climb out of the Marksman ranks this year” and, effective 05/23/2006, I formally started competing in the Sharpshooter classification as per the NRA.
  • My 22 scores are up about 5 points over the year, from the upper 80s to the low-to-middle 90s range, from Sharpshooter to comfortably in the Expert range.
  • Shooting of the wad gun (CF and 45) is improved almost 5%, from just barely Sharpshooter to the high side of that classification.
  • My aggregate scores in 2700s are up a full 10%, partly owing to the oddities of statistical averaging and partly to the scarcity of 2700s as opposed to our weekly league.
  • And most significant, my efforts on the ball gun are paying off: scores are up a full 10% (from 65-75% to 75-85%).

For the coming year, I plan to continue my primary focus on the ball gun because last year’s intention of “choosing to earn the new classification primarily on that more difficult gun” (the wad gun at that time, now the ball gun) has shown that focused and regimented practice with the hardest gun helps in all my shooting.

Last year my resolution for 2006 was, “For each shot this year, I will release it cleanly with all the basics in concert together.” And over the year, that has been my overarching consideration albeit not something I was always able to accomplish. But that focus on the execution of each shot rather than accomplishing any numerical or categorical goal, has been very helpful — I owe most of this year’s progress to the execution of each single shot I’ve made this year. The progress I’ve made has quite literally been accomplished one shot at a time.

Of late, I’ve begun to see what those who are far more accomplished in this sport have been saying about the “mind game” in Bullseye, and I’m more and more inclined to agree: Bullseye is 10% physical and 90% mental. Mental preparation, visualizing the process and the desired result, and then learning to “let it happen” look like the road to follow.

An Expert classification is possible this year but, as with the past year’s advancement to Sharpshooter, I want to earn any new classification on my worst gun.

But I know I have neither mastered nor even got the better part of “trigger control” working as yet. There are many shots where it works, but there are also far too many where it doesn’t. “Trigger control” is a bear, no doubt about it. And the more I learn, the more I appreciate just how subtle, precise and fragile it is.

So, my resolution for 2007 is “focused” on just that, trigger control. And since that action is something the unconscious must do, my resolution for the new year is:

Get ready, focus my conscious attention (and eye) on the front sight or red dot, but then allow my unconscious mind to move the trigger straight back until the shot breaks.

My unconscious mind will need training to accomplish this. So, the conscious mind will have to do a little coaching. There will be lots of dry fire and shooting on blank targets as well as timed drills when “we” can’t just wait for the unconscious to get around to it: sometimes the trigger just has to be kept moving, smoothly and straight back, but my unconscious doesn’t know how to do that. I’ll have to teach it.

So, for the next year, the operative words will be

  • training, and
  • patience, and
  • perseverance, and
  • practice,
  • and practice,
  • and practice.

And it will come.

See you on the line!

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