All in the mind

Air Gunner - - Your Letters -

I wanted to write in to share some­thing I’ve been ex­per­i­ment­ing with re­cently that may be use­ful to those hop­ing to im­prove their air­gun ac­cu­racy, es­pe­cially when hunt­ing. As we all know, shoot­ing well is chal­leng­ing when us­ing an air-pow­ered ri­fle; even the small­est de­tail can have a detri­men­tal ef­fect on a shot. Most of us will have ex­pe­ri­enced the frus­tra­tion of a pel­let veer­ing off course when in­ter­rupted by an un­no­ticed twig!

Lately, I have been em­ploy­ing ‘mind­ful­ness’ tech­niques when shoot­ing. Mind­ful­ness is es­sen­tially a med­i­ta­tive prac­tice whereby one is open to, and ob­ser­vant of the present mo­ment. How is this use­ful when you’re shoot­ing? Well, as an ex­am­ple, many of us will have ex­pe­ri­enced a strug­gle to slow our breath and heart rate if we feel the op­por­tu­nity for a kill slip­ping away. Of­ten, we al­low this sit­u­a­tion to ramp up the pres­sure of the shot. Lately, as I pre­pare to pull the trig­ger, I en­deav­our to take on the mind­set of the ca­sual ob­server. I no­tice that my heart rate is too high for a suc­cess­ful shot, but I do not al­low this fact to cause me frus­tra­tion. I al­low my­self the time I need to re­gain com­po­sure whilst be­ing mind­ful of the cer­tain fact that if this op­por­tu­nity passes there will be oth­ers. Mind­ful­ness tech­niques are widely shared free on the In­ter­net, and the best thing of all is you don’t even need to be hold­ing your gun to prac­tise them! Why not give it a go? Phil

Hello Phil Vi­su­al­i­sa­tion and ‘present cen­tred think­ing’ are pop­u­lar men­tal skills used by pretty much all pro­fes­sional sports peo­ple th­ese days, which proves to me that they must work. As you rightly say, if we’re able to con­trol our minds, then our bod­ies will re­spond. Mind­ful­ness is also free to un­der­stand and learn, and any­thing that makes us shoot bet­ter just has to be good. Too many peo­ple think that they need a new gun/scope/ pel­let or some other item of equip­ment to im­prove when, in fact, our per­sonal skill is the big­gest area we should work on. Ed.

Ac­cu­racy is all in the mind ...well nearly

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