Inspiration is a great motivator.
I’ve shot Bullseye at a lot of clubs around the US and, in every case, there were better shooters than myself on the line. I’ve been whipped, and I’ve been whipped a lot.
For beginners, Bullseye can be a humbling experience. But if you swallow your pride and pay attention, it’s a great way to improve your game.
And it may be surprising to find out that you learn not only by watching them, but rather by pulling yourself up because they are there and will be looking.
Pressure is a good thing. Accept it, forget it, and then shoot.
For example, when I’m standing between two great Bullseye shooters, I know that one of them is going to be scoring my target. When in that situation, you can bet your bottom dollar I will try my very best. I will focus every bit of knowledge, training and practice on shooting that shot. And when that shot is gone, I’ll do my best to forget it and start working on the next shot.
Oh, it’s also true that, from time to time I let my head get to me. I might think a negative thought such as, “What’s he going to think when he sees how bad I am?” And I doubt if you’ll be surprised to learn that when I start thinking that way, my shooting gets bad, then worse, then absolutely awful. Negative thoughts mess me up faster than bad ammo. With bad ammo I might get the occasional lucky shot where two errors offset each other and the hole ends up in the X ring. It happens. Sometimes you get lucky.
But when your head goes, when you start talking down to yourself, the shots are gonna get wider and wilder. If you can’t get your mind under control, it’s hopeless.
Bullseye is a head game: To shoot right, you’ve got to think right.
And Bullseye is a control game: If you don’t control your thoughts, they’ll mess you up.
I recently had the awesome privilege of shooting with only two shooters on the line, me and another shooter at an indoor range and he was one of, if not the very best Bullseye shooter in the world, John Zurek.
We fired two NMCs for the NRA Indoor postal, 22 and CF. John stood right next to me and fired a 599, one point short of perfection.
When the shooting was done and targets collected, we swapped. He scored my targets and I scored his and, yes, I really looked hard at that nine, hoping there was some way it would turn out to be a ten. But no, it was a nine. No question about it.
When I handed him the targets I said, “Sorry, John, but I have to score this target with one shot in the nine ring.” He looked and agreed. No hard feelings. It was a nine.
On my way home from the range, though, I realized I was looking at this wrong. It wasn’t important that he’d fired a nine. What he had accomplished instead was fifty-nine tens and Xs. Out of 60 shots fired in a half hour, he’d put 59 of them in the ten or the X ring. 59 tens!
And you know what else? He puts his pants on the same way I do.
He’s got brown hair and so do I.
He stands at the firing line and pours everything he has into each shot. I’ve done that, albeit with less consistency, but I know I can do it too.
And he’s also a really nice guy, married, likes a good joke, sometimes shoots with a couple of day’s growth on his face. I do all of that, too.
Role models are good.
Remember: somebody will be looking.
Focus, do your best, punch a hole in the X.