Mental Skills Part – II - Foresight Shooting

The Subconscious Mind.

The Subconscious Mind is like the RAM (Random Access Memory) in a computer. For example, when you are brushing your teeth, you are consciously planning out your day or the next activity.

You do not consciously focus your attention on physically brushing your teeth. You brush your teeth automatically while you are thinking of something else. This automatic brushing of your teeth is a program which is being run by your subconscious mind.

There are millions of programs which the subconscious mind is running automatically throughout the day. When you are changing your clothes or driving to your office, you continue thinking on the serious tasks of the day while you change your clothes or drive on your way to office.

Once a skill is learned (driving a car, brushing your teeth etc), this skill which is a set of movements is recorded in your subconscious mind and is played out or used automatically. This frees your conscious mind to mentally focus on important tasks or activities in your day to day life.

Thus there are millions of such programmes written in your subconscious mind.

The Subconscious Mind therefore has a memory bank where all the above programs are stored.

Fight or Flight Response:

Match pressure is a response of the body when the conscious mind recognises a ‘threat’ situation. For example, if you are opening the door of the car in a parking lot, and you see a mugger (s) approaching you with the intention of robbing you, the conscious mind relays this threat to the Subconscious which responds by preparing your body to handle the situation by either fighting or running away from the muggers.

This response by your body is called as the ‘fight or flight’ response which is a programme stored in the subconscious mind and the body reacts in the following manner;

On detecting a threat by the conscious mind, the adrenaline glands based on the top of your kidneys secrete adrenaline into the blood thereby causing the following;

1. The heart rate increases.

2. The increase in heart rate enables blood to be pumped faster.

3. This blood is pumped from the abdominal region towards the arms, shoulder and neck muscles. It is also diverted to the thighs and leg muscles.

4. Thus the specific muscles for fighting and or running are adequately supplied with oxygen through the blood.

5. The temperature of the body rises and to cool it down, the body sweats to lower the increased temperature.

These are some of the bodily reactions to the fight or flight response which is a program run by the subconscious mind. The purpose of this fight or flight response is to protect you by preparing your body to take survival actions – running or fighting.

Match Pressure in a 10 M air pistol event.

The fight or flight response kicks in when you face the first record shot in a match (some times it kicks in during the sighters itself).

Due to the physical reaction of your body stated above, the shooter experiences the following;

1. Sight alignment is unsteady.

2. Arc of movement becomes wider.

3. The focus is blurred.

4. The above three points lead to the trigger freezing.

When the shooter is experiencing the above, we say that he is under ‘match pressure’.

In the next blog article we will see how Match pressure is handled. Module No. 5 Mental Skills help the shooter to understand the working of the Subconscious Mind and how to reprogram match pressure.