Toughness- In Mind and Body
Always keep a positive attitude and fight to the end. Avoid talking to people who want bring you down or complain about their own shooting at a tournament. Compete with heart and remember the things you did right the last time. The nice thing about practical shooting is you (for the most part) have control of the outcome. Remember there will be times where you shot fine, but someone else did better than you that day or the circumstances just did not work out in your favor. That is the nature of competition and it happens. Everyone wants to win but with the right training and mental preparation you will get the results you want more often than not.

No Excuses
Realize the hardest worker will win most of the time. It is not because the winner has it better than you or is sponsored or any other excuse made by the losing party. If you win or lose by a hundredth of a point or ten percent, those are the results and you must accept it for what it is. Once you are into competition expect to take a hit every once in a while. So long as you learn from your mistakes you’ll bounce back and be stronger next time around. Enjoy the times you do win but get back to work the next day after getting that trophy. You are only as good as your last match.

Compete To Be Better
If you are new to competition and pistol shooting, concentrate on one area until you are comfortable then branch out to new challenges. It is especially important to become familiar with your gear. Find one gun you are happy with and stick with it for a while. Shoot as many matches as you can to get the experience needed to grow. When you are in a competition, stay within the limits of your ability. No one cares about how bad you may think you are doing. Shooting too fast or out of control will accomplish nothing. I see this happen often with competitors who are in a squad with others in a higher classification. Ignore the cadence of others and pull the trigger only when you are ready. Think about what you need to do and no one else. Just shoot the best you can. With time and practice you will move up to a higher level.

While practical shooting is not entirely physical it will only benefit you to be in shape. This is especially true when competing in hot weather and consecutive days of shooting.

Find a sport or other physical activity you enjoy and find a way to fit it into your schedule. I love to shoot but I also love the game of hockey. It is a sport my father introduced to me and my three brothers at a young age. As a kid I had a passion to play goal and spent most of my time there but through the years I also played forward and defense. Currently I skate as a defenseman in two ice hockey leagues in Atlanta so I get plenty of ice time each week, usually between 30-40 minutes a game. Along with skating 2-3 times a week I work out at least three times a week at home using elliptical machines and free weights.

For me, part of being mentally prepared is to know I can handle multiple days of shooting without tiring. Keeping this fitness schedule is as important to me as regular shooting practice.

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