Hey everyone. Sorry this post has taken so long, but I’m really glad I took time to reflect on these competitions and how drastically they differed. I think it has significantly helped me grow as a competitor.
My Olympic trial for sport pistol was in April. I had trained diligently for months leading up to the trails, and I was beyond excited. I was seeing scores in training that were at an all-time high, and truly believe these trials would be a shining moment for me. Even if I didn’t make it, I knew I would do very well, and I would be able to leave the competition happy. I got to the competition, and only minutes after the first training session, lost my cool. I began to doubt every aspect of my shooting; did I really train enough, my ammo is going to fail again, I can’t calm down, am I really good enough, what are people going to say? It was horrible. It’s hard to even write this paragraph without feeling the doubt. I was in a really bad place, and it showed in my shooting. I shot scores nearly 20 points below my average scores. I was only barely able to recover myself on my last day of precision, and even then, the scores were rough to say the least. I finished 6th. Disappointed and heartbroken, I gathered my things and went home.
Just before Air Pistol Olympic Trials in June, I began reading Raymond Prior’s book, Bullseye Mind. One of the first chapters in the book talks about attitude. It talks about the difference between wanting to shoot to win and wanting to shoot to be better at the sport. It was what was missing in my mindset. Why did I love shooting so much? Because it challenged me. It encouraged me to do better and work for every point. Sure, winning is fun, but not every match is going to be a win, or a personal best, or even go well, but as long as I’m striving to improve, I will continue to get better and continue to truly enjoy my sport. My mom told me, “When you stop enjoying shooting, that’s when you’re done with shooting. There is no point in pursuing something you don’t enjoy.” I really do enjoy shooting. I love the feeling of pushing myself to do better and better each day. I love working so hard even if it’s for a single point improvement. I love shooting so much, I even love just seeing my guns or my case and thinking about shooting and with this re-kindled positive attitude, I prepared for my Air Olympic Trials.
Trials came, and I did great. I came in second, but I don’t care. I am so pleased with my performance, that I cannot be disappointed. I flew home that weekend, and was so much happier with everything really. I felt like I won, and I think that showed, because, even though I had come in second and was not going to Rio, people still congratulated me, had amazing words of encouragement toward the future, and even did stories and articles about me. I came in second, but it was just as good as winning with the right attitude.
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A few books I also want to mention and give credit to for helping me through my trials are Lanny Bassham’s With Winning in Mind and focused by Noelle Pikus-Pace. I will write a post later talking about a few key points I enjoyed from each book later.