By Naomi Moss
The bad day. It happens. Even though most days are average, where you walk away and think, “Meh. I could have done better, but I ended up where I normally do”, some days are not. There will be a few phenomenal days when others notice, “Wow! You’re doing great!” And then there are those days. You know, those days when nothing goes right. While they may be few and far between, those stinky, rotten, horrible, procedural-filled, penalty-ridden stages that keep getting worse as the match goes on are the days you just want to bury your head under the pile of used targets. Those days are hard to come back from. Most professional athletes have those days. Usually, they have them more than we think. Coming back stronger and better is what sets them apart from the rest. Here are a few tips for the rest of us to come back as not just a stronger shooter, but as a stronger person.
First of all, accept it. You had a bad day. One day does not define who you are—good or bad. Odds are, nobody noticed anyways. They are probably too focused on their own mistakes to care about someone else’s mistakes. It can be humbling, but you are just a name in a list of shooters. On a bad day shooting, that can be a good thing. It will all be quickly forgotten.
Second. You know you are better than one bad day, so figure out what went wrong. Were you distracted? Did you get caught off guard? Were there other environmental factors like extreme temperatures, rain, mud or equipment failures? Any of these can be frustrating and cause you to lose focus. An average shooter says, “Stupid rain!” A good shooter says, “I need more practice.” A great shooter says, “Bring on more rain for more practice!”
Which brings me to my third point: Learn from your mistakes. Did you have a lot of misses because you were trying to go too fast? Practice going a little slower and get a good sight picture. One-handed shooting got you? Then practice one-handed shooting. Distractions got you wound up so you got a few procedurals? Then remember to focus on one target at a time.
Fourth, don’t quit! Keep going! If you catch yourself in a stinky stage, remember these tips and you may just have one bad stage, not a bad match. Catch those problems early and remind yourself that each shot counts! But if the day gets out of hand and becomes one of those matches, don’t let too much time lapse before shooting again. The longer you wait, the harder you’ll be on yourself.
Lastly, remember why you went in the first place. Shooting is fun. Even thinking of that bad day might put a smile on your face because you had a gun in your hand and lead flying down range. And if you can’t quite smile over it yet, take your kids out shooting and watch them smile.
After all, there is something about a bad day shooting that just won’t keep an average girl down. The average girl with a gun in her hand is more powerful than she realizes, inside and out. Keep going. Keep shooting. And have fun.
By Naomi Moss