I thought I was the best?
There are a lot of great shooters in Atlanta, Georgia. Some of the best Pro Shooters in the action sports I have had the opportunity to squad with. You truly do not understand what is possible until you see the best shoot. Outside of the Pro Shooters, I was one of the better local shooters at my club. I remember my first World Speed Shooting Championship and quickly I realized there were so many great shooters out there who were not Pro Shooters, but the best at their local clubs and State Champions. I would categorize my experience at this match as “Perspective”. I received a strong dose of perspective and where the bar of excellence was really set.
I just wrapped up a State level match and was fortunate to place 1st place in limited and 3rd place overall. It was one of my best limited performances I have shot this year, and I was very pleased with how I finished. Right after the awards ceremony, I met a mother who was working with the match FFL on a transfer from the prize table. I introduced myself to the mother. She then asked if I had met her son and I said that I know of him, but did not have the opportunity to meet him yet. She asked how I knew who he was and I mentioned the state and local match where they shoot and how well he was doing. She smiled and called her son over, and I introduced myself. He said hello but seemed to be very down. I asked him what was wrong and he looked at his mother. She said that he is used to coming in first place at his local matches and he did not make the top 10. I smiled at him, and I asked him if he knew that he was shooting against World Champions, National Champions, and multi-state Champions? He said that he did not know that. I did not focus on my shooting accomplishments, but I walked through some of the career highlights of the other three shooters making up the top spots in the match. He said that he did not realize. I asked him how old he was, and he said that he was 13. I told him he should hold his head up high, and I wished I was half as good at as he was when I was his age. With such a deep field, he should be proud of where he finished!
We then talked for a few minutes about what he needed to work on, and if he had any questions about taking his shooting to the next level to let me know what I could do to help. You can’t settle for just being at the top of the local matches, you have to know your competition around the country at the times they shoot and use them as a benchmark. It is tough with NSSF because you hardly find the same stages from match to match, but shooting Steel Challenge is a great way to compare yourself to others. In Steel Challenge, you will have the same stages setup every time and for the most part getting into the exclusive sub-70 club is the same across the country. You have to push yourself to practice to work on the fundamentals of shooting. We concluded our discussion centered around having fun at the range and focus on getting better. It will take time, but if you put in the focused effort and time even he will be amazed on what he will accomplish in the next couple of years!
See you out on the range soon!