I remember the first time I saw the Rubin Vase in Psychology class. If you are not familiar with Edgar Rubin, the Danish psychologist, and what is commonly called the Rubin Vase or Rubin Face, below is a picture you have probably seen before.
At first glance, do you see the vase or do you see the two faces? For me, I see the black vase first and then I adjust my focus to the side of the object and then I can clearly see the two white faces almost simultaneously. What I find interesting is I can only maintain one of these visual images at one time. Meaning, I cannot see both the faces and the vase at the same time. Despite my best efforts, I can’t focus on them at the same time.
I was thinking about Rubin’s Vase two weeks ago while training a fellow competitor and we were discussing Smoke and Hope. What I have been doing is maintaining a target focus prior to the first shot, and as the buzzer went off my mind would switch to a sight focus whereas when I saw the sight on the white background I would pull the trigger. I would then revert back to a target focus for the next three shots until I arrived at the stop plate. As similar to the first shot, I would see the target, see the sight and as the sight landed on the white background I would pull the trigger. When I would miss the stop plate, I would forget to change my focus back to the sight in hopes the gun would be there. In the example of Rubin’s Vase I would see the faces, then the timer would go off, I would see the vase appear with the white faces in the background, pull the trigger, look at the white faces three more times while pulling the trigger, and then finally see the final white face and when the Vase arrived I would pull the trigger.
What I decided to do is to look at the white faces, look at the vase, pull the trigger and then for the rest of the shots focus on the vase and when there was a white face background pull the trigger for the remaining targets. I saw the sights on every single shot of every single string of fire. This sight focus made a marked improvement in my time. I was able to shoot my fastest stage time ever in Steel Challenge after hitting a plateau on the fast stages.
The next time you are out on the range, remember Rubin’s Vase and make sure you are focusing on the ‘Right’ thing at the ‘Right’ time and watch your times drop!
See you out on the range soon!