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Building Zone concentration in the shooting sports

Dec 13, 2018

This month I received a question from trapshooter Frank:

I have a lot of concentration problems but I feel like I may have changed my mount in the last week or so and I can't seem to get back to where I was. What should I do?

I frequently get questions from readers of my book, blog and monthly articles in Trap & Field and other magazines. Shooters are stymied by some component of their game and turn to me, aka ASK BOB, the "Ann Landers" of the shooting sports.

In the video below, I've broken down the answer into two areas:

1) How to prevent concentration losses generally, and,

2) The need to get new techniques working subconsciously before you step up to compete. Enjoy.

And if you have a question and want it answered in "ASK BOB," please send it (with or without a video) to bpalmer@sportexcel.ca.

Here is the written format of my answer to Frank:

Hi Frank, The solution may be twofold. First, concentration problems may or may not be related to your new mount. Sometimes shooters have what I call Zone Drift, where they lose the Zone incrementally from post to post, station to station.

A good way to cure this is to visualize yourself smoking the target before you step into the post or station, every time. It will take about two seconds. Make sure you supercharge the visualization with the good feeling of adrenaline as adrenaline is an alertness booster.

Second, the lack of concentration may be caused by your new gun mount, as any new technique requires thinking. And thinking leads to a struggle with focus as concentrating on the new technique takes you away from concentrating on the target. All of your technique needs to be routine and subconsciously driven.

The solution here is to practice your new gun mount repeatedly at home and on the range until it feels smooth and non-thinking. You can have a friend or coach watch and give you feedback just to be sure. Once it feels fantastic and totally routine, without any thinking, you can take it into a competition and test it out.

So, Frank, apply a quick visualization technique as one solution to building concentration and ensure all new techniques are well practiced before you take them to a competition. Both should do the trick to turn your game around.

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