Don’t Think, Just Throw

In the movie, Bull Durham, Tim Robbin’s character discovers that when he doesn’t think, he pitches better – a lot better. But knowing and doing are two different things. Indeed, after a couple of good pitches, Tim Robbin’s character gets cocky, starts thinking about what he’s throwing, and blows it.

Same thing happened to me yesterday.

There was a 2700 down at the Phoenix Rod and Gun Club on Sunday. With other commitments, however, I wasn’t sure if I could make it for even the final, 45 portion. But my luck held: the competition was running slow and they were still on the lunch break when I arrived at 1:45PM. I filled-in and submitted my SR-1 card, paid the $13.00 single-gun fee (members rate), grabbed a blue score card and set up in position #6.

As I raised the gun for the first shot of Slow Fire I thought, “Okay, start the trigger, hold the sights, keep the dot in the middle, hold it th… Bang!”

I called, “two o’clock, nine ring” before looking in the scope.

More like two-thirty but, yeah, I knew where that one was going.

Repeating that mantra on the remaining nine shots, the target looked pretty good when finished including two nice Xs. That’s pretty good for me at the long line (50 yards).

Down at the targets, I scored the neighbor to my right and then looked at my score: 90-2.

“Wow, that’s definately my best Slow Fire with the 45!”

Tim Robbins experienced the same emotion after his good pitch.

And things went down-hill from there – but with one difference. I knew that thinking was bad. I knew that, before each shot, I had to remember (think) to not think the next shot. Instead, I needed to just follow the recipe taped to the inside of my gunbox but which I know so well, and just let the shot happen.

Aim the gun, start the trigger, hold the sights on the target, keep them there, nicely in the black, just keep it right there … until the shot goes.

Such a simple thing but, at least for me, so hard to trust my training and just “let it happen.”

I’d say I was moderately successful on Sunday. Slow and even some of the Timed Fire targets went well.

Rapid Fire, however, is something else. My hold is not good enough to reliably bring the sights back into alignment and on the target. There is often a delay while I turn my attention to the gun and figure out how to move it to bring the dot back into view, and then turn my attention to the dot and the black ring on the target. They say to “keep the trigger moving” in Rapid Fire and I know that’s essential, but I still need to work on hold and muscle memory (thank you John Zurek) so the gun gets back on the bull all by itself.

It will come, I know. Just practice, practice, practice.

All of my competition scores are recorded in the oldest blog entry here, and there is also a link to them in one of the shortcuts near the top-right of this page. Regardless, here are my scores from yesterday and some comments on the sequence:

Slow Fire #190-2Personal best Slow Fire!
Slow Fire #279-1Shots hitting all around the bull
NMC: Slow Fire82-2Tighter but starting to jerk left
NMC: Timed Fire76-08 out of 10 jerked
NMC: Rapid Fire74-0Jerk, jerk, jerk … Argh!
Timed Fire #180-0Starting to “not think” again
Timed Fire #286-1Better “not thinking”
Rapid Fire #187-2Hey! That’s pretty good!!
Rapid Fire #274-0Oops, thinking (jerking) again
728-8 Agg.80.9%, a new personal best!

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