The thesaurus has several words that, for me, define apprehension, among them being worry, concern and anxiety. These pretty much state its meaning as well as being some of its synonyms.
When we are competing, it is natural for us to have confidence in our skill, but along with that confidence, we may also have some level of apprehension.
About 25 years ago, my wife Saundra and I occasionally shot with Brian Holt, a gentleman and a world class skeet shooter. Brian is now deceased, but while he was shooting, he had many four-by-fours and some five-by-fives. You can see his records in the Skeet Records Annual.
At a shoot at the old Miramar Shotgun Shooting Range, we were discussing skeet and the various targets when Brian made a statement that I found profound. He stated that no matter how many 100, 400 or 500 straights he had shot, he was always apprehensive about high 2.
He was not afraid when he shot that target but he was concerned about it because that was the target that he had to work hardest at, to make sure he hit it. If you watch the greats of skeet shooting as they execute their shots, they exhibit little or no concern, but like the rest of us, they may be anxious about one target or another.
Personally, while I’m not a great (or even a good) skeet shooter, I know that I am apprehensive as I call for and shoot the low house on the double at station six, the target that I have to work at the hardest.
Apprehension is not a bad thing if you can control it, along with your other emotions, and execute your shots as you have practiced them. Practice is the key to minimizing apprehension, as well as increasing your confidence and skill level.
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.