Visualizing, or picturing MYSELF, executing the basic fundamentals formed that extra level of magic I needed in my marksmanship. Studies from other sports show that those who physically practice a skill vs. those who visualize the performance of said skill produce nearly equal outcomes at game time. With that, I gave it a try to investigate its merits. While grinding my way to nowhere on the treadmill at the gym, I found the perfect visualization arena. The physical exertion and the time clock on the machine helped set the stage. Now, visualizing myself on the line, I begin Match 1. I picture the range, my shooting box at my feet, etc. Then, I mentally place my feet in my stance and consider my entire body’s posture (stance). I purposely draw a deep breath and thoughtfully let it out; not as easy as it seems due to the treadmill counteracting the slow and steady process I execute (breath control). I picture the target turning and my hands engaging the weapon, drawing it from the holster, wrapping one hand around the grip of the gun and the other hand around that (grip). I’m breathing again, lowering my shoulders out of my ears. I mentally key my brain onto how the sights need to align with each other and on the target, “focusing” most keenly on the front sight (sights). I visualize my trigger pull, slowly and steadily pulling that trigger back towards me, using my fingerprint on the trigger, not my knuckle (trigger control). I “see” myself in this aura of total concentration and then, as it should in a match, the round “fires” and I hold my position for that breath of a hair of a second so the bullet can travel down the barrel of the gun without being disturbed (follow through). And I have just visualized firing the perfect shot. The timer on the treadmill helps me “see” myself firing consecutively for whatever match I mentally practice, training my brain to “fire” within the allotted time for each Match. This exercise forced me to concentrate at a level that helped me tremendously at my competitions. “Watch” yourself shooting and correct your errors before you get to the range. I guarantee you will experience marked improvement.
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