Living with the Slump

The slump is tough. Since I got back from vacation my shooting stats have not improved. Some things have regressed, others are not getting better.

I’m training better than before, with a more structured approach with the help of a coach. My shoulder and arm strength have improved. Errors that used to be low, are now high, but still I can see no clear progress.

Getting back to shooting after the break was weird. It felt as if my body had forgotten all the routines and steps I was taking before. My memory of what it felt like to hold the pistol and to shoot it was gone. Only three weeks without shooting and I had to start again.

I expected that getting back to my previous shooting confidence and results would take three to four weeks. Then I started working with a trainer, which in my mind should have improved my results even faster. It has not been the case.

Working with the new trainer has been motivating and helpful. I know I have improved a lot of aspects of my performance, but others have suffered. So many things have changed that, together with the slump, I lost confidence in my feelings and sighting. Among other things I’ve changed grip three times, my stance, and the way I release the shots.

One of the reasons may be that I’m trying too hard, but still training should bring improvement.

This slump is really demotivating. Sometimes I shoot with rage against my poor performance. This leads to rushing and skipping steps, like holding after the shot to analyze. My phisical training is suffering because of this, but the core of the issue is mental. I’m stronger and have better balance: I have to improve my mental game.

The first thing to do is focus on the process, not the results. I have to concentrate on the basics and get that good feeling back. When you shoot a good shot you can feel it in your hand and arm, you know it is good no matter what the result is. Easier said than done.

From what I read, what I have to do is focus on the basics. That’s exactly what I have been doing. I do feel a bit more confident and think that my new way of holding the pistol is much better. I’ve taken a few days break and this has helped too. Having some colleagues at the club that also train hard is helpful. Having fun shooting bowling pins and 25m sport pistol does help too. Even though I want to do good in the last two, they are less demanding in my head, after all I’ve just started shooting them.

I’ve decided to also change the way I keep track of trainings in my diary, back to the positive style of the book With winning in mind. I had strayed from it writing only what I felt and keeping track of stress. Back to problem solving and success celebration mode.

My big competition is on the last weekend of January. I know I will do better then 🙂