One recent morning I went to the Tulsa Gun Club to practice. The usual group of shooters were there, and we shot a couple of regular rounds and some doubles, with all of us shooting a few extras where we needed more practice. After we completed our basic practice, we decided to shoot regular rounds in preparation for a shoot that weekend.
One of the guys did something I had never before seen him do. He missed the first target on doubles at station 2 and proceeded to get angry with himself and then quit working at the other targets. He had given up after a single miss, and as a result, he missed several more.
One thing I tell students of mine is that even the greats in our sport miss occasionally and that a 99 or maybe less will sometimes win an event; that when you miss a target, don’t stop working the remaining targets as another miss could take you out of contention. Additionally, getting angry does nothing but hurt the mental part of your game.
Giving up in practice is as bad or maybe worse than doing so in a competition. Practice is where your mental game becomes ingrained. When you give up in practice, you’re not training to win.
The purpose of practice is to become proficient at whatever you’re trying to do, not to lose your temper and therefore your focus.
Barry Hartmann is an NSSA Master Level and NRA Certified shotgun instructor who teaches American skeet and wingshooting. You can contact Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-803-2393.