Hello, friends, in this video and the following videos, I will be suggesting a few steps and a few techniques for improving your mental focus. I would like to start off with a short story.
When Swami Vivekananda was in America. One day, he went out for a walk and he saw a few boys standing on a bridge, taking aim and shooting at eggshells, which were floating in the water below.
The boys fired several times but they missed hitting the egg shells each time, so Swami Vivekananda asked the boys if he could try a few shots. The boys sportingly handed the gun over to him. Swamiji fired 12 shots and each of the shots fragmented and broke the egg shells each time.
The boys were surprised, when Swamiji gave the gun back to the boys, one of the boys asked him, how did you manage to do it? Have you done any shooting before? Swamiji replied that he had never, ever fired a gun in his life. The boys asked him. How did you manage to do this? Swamiji said “whatever you do, if you concentrate your mind, 100 percent and if you are mentally focused, 100 percent, you will never, ever miss the target.”
In our case, we have to concentrate 100 percent on mentally focusing on our sights.
To achieve mental focus 100 percent on each and every shot you fire, the first thing that you must do is to keep your emotions aside. Unfortunately, this does not happen with most shooters when they’re firing a shot. Their mind is on the result of the last shot. If the last shot is an ‘8’, then they are emotionally disturbed, they become emotionally unstable. Instead of maintaining a clear state of mind, the emotions related to the shot clouds their thinking, as a result, this has an effect on the next shot. Now they want to shoot a ‘10’. So, again, the emotions come into the picture.
If the last shot was a ‘10’. then they get excited and once again the emotions get ruffled and disturbs the mind. This prevents you from focusing 100 percent on your next shot. The first step that you must take in order to develop one hundred percent mental focus on your shot execution is to avoid ‘scoring’.
Now in the SIUS systems or electronic target systems. This becomes a little difficult because the score is on the monitor. And the series-by-series score is also provided, however not scoring on the SIUS systems is not impossible. You can train yourself not to score.
Ninety nine percent of the shooters, when they’re shooting a training match or an actual match. They are stuck in their scores, when they start off, they start counting the score of each shot and the effect it will have on the result of the first series or the second series, the third series and so on to the sixth series. Thus, you get stuck in ‘scoring’ and the result of what it is going to have on your ultimate score. Thus, you get emotionally disturbed.
You have to train yourself not to score.
When you fire a shot, you know what the result is, but it should not arouse any emotions in your mind and body. If you overcome this habit of scoring, you will find that every shot you shoot, you will be free of this emotion and you will be able to concentrate 100 percent.
Now, I know this will not happen from tomorrow, but you have to start training yourself, start with each series, try not to score a couple of series, gradually learn not to score the entire record series. After some time, what will happen is you will realize that your mental ability to focus 100 percent on your short execution improves hugely.
Now, I will tell you the biggest problem, the biggest hurdle that a shooter faces. Ninety nine percent of shooters are stuck in scoring, as a result, they get embroiled or get involved in this in this emotional cycle of up and down, the good feeling and bad feeling, which, as I told you, disturbs your mental clarity.
When the shooter decides that he would like to adopt the system of not scoring, suddenly he will feel completely flat, like a soda bottle whose cap has been opened and has been left out for a few hours. As a result, all the carbon dioxide gas escapes. And when you taste it, it is completely flat. This is what is going to happen to shooters who decide not to score. The whole essence of their shooting will disappear. And this is something that they do not like at all. So, they will go back to scoring.
But if you persist, if you continue, if you develop this habit, slowly and gradually, you will learn to replace this emotion with another emotion which is the joy of executing each shot as perfectly as possible. This should be our goal. Instead of getting emotionally entangled with the score of the last shot and spoiling the next shot with expectations of shooting better or a higher score, you will be able to have the mental clarity and the mental focus on each step of your shot execution.
Now, shot execution in pistol shooting comprises of several steps. The first step is taking your stance and position, the second is gripping. The third is lifting the pistol on to the target, coordinated with your breathing. The fourth step is getting your sight alignment, correct. The fifth step is to get a very good focus. The sixth step is to reduce the arc of movement when the sights come into the aiming area. The seventh step is your trigger operation. And the eighth step is the follow through of the first seven steps.
If you don’t change your grip and stance for each and every shot, then the first two steps can be avoided. After each shot, you can go straight to adjusting your grip slightly, very slightly, just to relax the tension in your grip. Then the second step would be lifting the pistol onto the target and so on alignment, focus, reducing the arc of movement, trigger operation and then follow through. This could happen for 10, 12 shots or depending upon the ability of each shooter.
These are the steps in your shot execution. Once you remove the emotions out of your system, you will be able to concentrate far better on each of these steps.
When you take a grip. Concentrate 100 percent on getting the feel of the grip.
When you lift a pistol up coordinated with your breathing, you should be 100 percent concentrating on lifting a pistol up and onto the target.
When you’re concentrating on sight alignment, it should be 100 percent making sure the sights are aligned. And so also with focus, arc of movement and then the final trigger operation. And finally, the continuation of all steps, which is follow through.
But if you’re emotionally clouded with the result of the last shot. You’re not going to be 100 percent focused, so even where you’re taking your grip. You are thinking of the next shot or you’re thinking of the last shot and that 100 percent concentration on getting the correct feel of that grip, will be slightly less than 100 hundred percent. When you’re lifting the pistol up and follow the next few steps if you’re still emotionally clouded, with a little bit of tension or negativity, it is going to affect all these steps, the hundred percent which is required for short execution of each of these steps, mentioned before will not be there. As a result, your shooting is not going to be phenomenal, its not going to be great.
When you keep your pistol down and check the result of your next shot, once again you get emotionally clouded and this vicious cycle goes on. But if you keep your emotions aside, don’t score at all, you will find a lot of improvement in your mental stability and clarity. You will be a little bit more relaxed; you will be more focussed and this what you need to develop.
Stop scoring, yes check the result, it is inevitable and unavoidable. You can be aware of the result but don’t think of the effect it will have on the score of the series and how the score of the series will affect the ultimate score of your match. This as I had said earlier that it is easier said than done. It takes a lot of discipline, a lot of mental discipline. This what most shooters find it extremely difficult to adopt because their entire shooting career, two years, three years, four years whatever is based completely on scoring. So, their entire psyche, their shooting system, their mental shooting system is based on their scoring which is like the carbon dioxide gas in the soda. It charges them up.
And if you remove this gas, the scoring out of their system, their entire drive towards their shooting will become flat, like the soda bottle which has been opened and kept aside for a few hours resulting in a very tepid taste. There is no taste to it.
And this inner discipline is the most difficult thing to achieve and I find that shooters will continue scoring. They may try it for a few sessions, they may try not scoring for a few sessions, for a few shots for a few series but then they feel like a fish out of water. They are in their comfort zone, which is really not a comfort zone. It is just a vicious cycle. You need to break out of it, you need to imbibe this discipline. To get out of this vicious cycle you need to change.
Try out this suggestion, sincerely and seriously. The results don’t happen immediately but you will see the results of not scoring, you will see a great improvement in your mental focus and your shooting will definitely improve, by and by. Don’t expect the results overnight. They will happen after one week, two weeks, three weeks maybe it will take you months. But if you are prepared to do this, you will see the results for yourself. So, till the next video, thank you and goodbye.