Growing up I had a coach who told me, “It is only when you are mentally prepared then you will be physically ready to play.” The year I heard this our basketball team went undefeated for the year. There is a direct correlation between preparation and success. It may have sounded corny, but we had the same game ready music. We erupted onto the floor listening to “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N Roses. Every time I hear this song I flash back to a simplier and but yet more competitive time in my life. Basketball was a way of life for the majority of my younger childhood. We would ‘shoot hoops’ five days a week. We knew if we were not practicing our shot, someone else was. This was also the time in my life when I was in the best shape of my life. Before we could get physically ready, we had to be mentally ready.
A couple of weeks ago I shot with Chris Barrett at his range getting ready for the 2021 season. As Chris stepped into the box on our first stage, Five to Go, I gave him the make ready command. As he unbagged his Magnum Research Switchbolt he took several dry-fire strings. Each time he ran the stage he would pull the trigger when the sight was on the plate and he said “Bang”. I started laughing and I stopped him. He said what. I said are you saying “Bang..Bang..Bang..Bang..Bang?” He said yes and we both starting laughing uncontrollably. After we composed ourselves I asked him why. He said that it helped him mentally prepare to shoot the stage.
As I got into the shooters box next, I took my normal dry fire sight picture as I always do. Then, I created my own new sound effect, “Pew..Pew..Pew..Pew..Pew”. Everyone started laughing. I have found a lot of value in taking a dry sight picture on every stage. What I have told students over the years is I want my subscious to see last is perfection. I dry fire the stage at the speed I intend to shoot it. I have done this for years. What I have added is a deliberate trigger pull on each target with a sound effect. Through reflection a dry sight picture is probably not enough to mentally prepare. Doing all of the steps including adding a noise to mimic the shot of the gun may help, even if it gives me the slightest advantage.
Last weekend, after employing this technique, I shot a personal best of sub-7 seconds on Pendulum. Did the extra “pews” help? Was it because my mental preparedness was better when the timer went off? Or maybe I just got lucky.. hmm. Something to consider on your next range trip.
See you out on the range soon!