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Ask Bob

T&F columnist

Bob Palmer

Own the Zone


 

 
 

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Q.  Vic, a trap shooter, asks: Is fitness important to great trap shooting?

 


 

 
 

 

A.  Bob Palmer, High Performance Trainer and CEO of SportExcel, answers:

Fitness is important for any sport because of the impact it has on vision, endurance and overall feeling.  It also affects your longevity and enjoyment in your sport.    Lack of fitness eventually catches up with you in terms health problems.

Fitness in clay target sports is a touchy subject as these sports require very little movement.  So, theoretically, one could be very much out of shape and still turn in a very good score.  As a matter of fact, some very good shooters are heavy people.

However, I am going to suggest that the more fit you are, the easier time you'll have shooting, especially on very hot or demanding days.  As well, fitness and stamina go hand in hand, especially as you grow older.   Most of my clients have regular walking and exercise routines or hit the gym a couple of times a week. 

Usually young shooters play high school sports and very little thought is given to cross training.  However when high school ends it is different.   I took up karate at that time in my life and a regular trip to the gym kept me sharp and feeling good.  So my vote goes to being fit, having great stamina and staying healthy.  I think you'll find it is a wise policy.


 

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information call 317-633-8800
 

 

 


 

Q   Drew:  How do you adjust between different trap clubs, be it different     backgrounds or target setups?

 


 

 
 

A Hi Drew,

 

That is a great question about adjusting.   I live in Canada and in the winter it gets very cold.  However, my dog goes from room temperature to minus 16 degrees F and all it takes a simple shake of her body to adjust.  Perhaps it fluffs up the pile of her fur.  Whatever the process, the adjustment takes about two seconds. 

 

Ideally then, your adjustments to different backgrounds and presentations should be that fast, so that you don’t even notice the difference.  However, to get that fast, you have to practice. 

 

1)  Practice with varied presentations.  One of my clients trains for his trap competitions by playing other clay target games such as skeet and sporting clays.  It keeps him sharp and able to adjust quickly.    

 

2)  Go on the internet and view the terrain of your next shoot—Colorado to Minnesota.  Then visualize yourself shooting in that terrain, always adding adrenaline of course and feeling good and smoking the targets.

 

3) You can train your visual acuity with book called “Where’s Waldo”.   You learn to be very good at spotting the Waldo character on a page.  When you can do this fast, as well as see some of the other items in this mishmash and profusion of color, you’ll be able to get any target to pop off the sky in any background—any light.

 

So there are three things you can do to help you to adjust just like my puppy instantly adjusts to cold.  Practice different presentations, visualize and train your visual acuity. 

 

Bob Palmer, SportExcel, helping you to own the Zone and own the game.

 

Click on over to

High Performance Trainer Bob Palmer’s video blog

 for the answer on video

 

 

 

 


 

Q   Trap shooter Gloria asks:  The other day I was going out to shoot and someone made a comment.   How do I get that out of my mind and get my mind back on shooting?

 


 

 
 

A  Hi Gloria,

 

That is a great question from the point of view of both you and the person who distracted you.

 

The first thing you need to do is to realize that the person who made the comment knew what they were doing, either consciously or subconsciously.  In North America we are a very competitive lot and we do a lot of things to mess others up.  Now this person who did this would likely be appalled if you accused them of throwing you off your game.  It is so automatic that we can’t help it sometimes.  So, for starters, if the person who made the comment is hearing this, or you are someone who is prone to giving advice because you think it is helpful, don’t - because it isn’t. 

 

For you, since you’ll never muzzle all the comments, you have to learn how to deal with them.  Here are three suggestions to try out:

 

1)  See if you can get away for 30 minutes before your round.   I call it the 30-minute rule and it works to avoid most of the chatter.  I teach various strategies you can do in this period of time but just getting away from comments can help.

 

2)  After every conversation, before you head off to do your 30 minutes of prep, take a mental shower.  I imagine reaching up to pull the chain and all this imaginary water pours down and cleanses me of whatever comments were made to me.  I’ve taught this to medical practitioners and other professionals who need to stay unaffected by some seriously sick people (and I’m not suggesting people who make comments to you are seriously sick). 

 

3) Replay the comment in your head and then “play” it backward in a way where you imagine it all garbled up.  Play it forward, then backward again.  Do this several times faster and faster.  This is a bit like running a nail across an old vinyl LP and after a while you’ll make no sense of it.   You may even forget the original troublesome comment!

 

Have fun with these strategies and see which one works best for you.  And if you’d like to make people like this disappear, not like Tony Soprano does, but with the strategies as a part of my program, give me a call. 

 

 

About Bob Palmer, B.Ed., B.E.S.

 

Click on over to

High Performance Trainer Bob Palmer’s video blog

 for the answer on video

 

2011 ATA AVERAGE BOOK

for advertising information call 317-633-8802 
for subscription
information call 317-633-8800

 

 

 


Johnathan asks:
What is the cost for the SportExcel high performance training program?

 


 

 
 

A:   Hi Jonathan,

I charge $850 for a seven week high performance training program for amateur athletes and coaches.

You get seven sessions of high performance strategies via Skype.  Right from the get-go you get into the Zone in the first session.  Most athletes I work with show huge improvements from this point forward.  In the subsequent sessions you learn the strategies with which to stay in the Zone consistently.  You learn to get over competition nerves, forget past disasters, model the skills of All-Americans, deal with difficult people on your squad, see the target bigger and slower and control your adrenaline all day at a competition.  As well, you get backup materials via email that includes videos, and you get to email or call me for extra help, especially before competitions.

If you are a coach you learn to do what I do in terms of motivating your athletes and helping them to learn very fast.  If you are a parent, you get to sit in with your child and learn right along with them and support them—at no extra cost.

As well, you can’t confine the SportExcel high performance strategies to your sport.  Young athletes find that their school marks typically improve.  Business people take the skills into their work.

Give me a call at 877.967.5747 and I’ll give you a test drive of the SportExcel system at no charge and no obligation.

Own the Zone and own the game.

Click on over to

High Performance Trainer Bob Palmer’s video blog

 for the answer on video

 

BE SEEN!

2010 ATA AVERAGE BOOK

for advertising information call 317-633-8802 

 

 

 

Desira Fesler asks:  
Why is station 1 so difficult?


 

 
 

Hi Desira,

 

Thank you for the question.  Station 1, wherever you start on the trapline, can be difficult for anyone for the very reason that we typically go into the station cold.  It is no different than the first pitch of a baseball game or the first swing on a golf course.  Most sports have a crucial “first station” just as trap does.

 

But there is a solution, and I will compare it drag racing.  Both cars start stock still until the light turns green and then they race to the finish line.  Imagine a scenario where one dragster gets to start a quarter mile before the start line and is flying full tilt at the “start” line.  There is no doubt which one will have the advantage. 

 

So the key to any sport is to get so warmed up physically and mentally that you have that same kind of advantage.  You want to be just as wired and on fire in your first post as you normally feel in your 26th or 51st post. 

 

So, before your first round, go for a brisk walk (assuming that you are normally active).  This does two things besides warming you up.  It gets you away from other people and it clears you mind.  Second, during you brisk walk mentally smoke 25 to 50 targets from all angles.  And don’t just hit them; pulverize them.  It should feel very good.  At the end of your walk, put your gear on and maintain that good feeling from the walk.  But keep your body moving and stay away from talking to people, or you’ll cool off again. 

 

Now you are ready.  That first post should feel like the first post in the second or third round and you’ll just smoke’em.

 

Thanks for the question Desira. 

 

Have any other burning questions?  Just ask Bob. 


 

Click on over to

High Performance Trainer Bob Palmer’s video blog

 for the answer on video

 

BE SEEN!

2010 ATA AVERAGE BOOK

for advertising information call 317-633-8802 

 

 

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Jim McKew asks
 I’m pretty good in practice.  How do I stop panicking in competition?


 

 
 

Hi Jim,

 

Great question and one that I help people with all the time.  Panic in competition is caused by a number of things that don’t happen in practice.  Here are a few:

 

  • ·         something on the line—a prize, pride, a new level, club championship

  • ·         other nervous people around you and nervousness can be contagious

  • ·         competitive friends who may playfully undermine you

  • ·         different ranges offer different backgrounds

  • ·         squad members are present and may be irritating

·         And more….

 

There is nothing you can do about any of these things to change them, so you’ll just have to change the one thing you can:  yourself.  There are a couple things you can do to change yourself for competition:

 

First, you can set up a daily practice of visualizing yourself as successful in competition.   It only takes a minute a day. The key to any visualization is to be wired up with adrenaline—it’s my favorite drug because it so effective. 

 

Visualization is neat because you can add all manner of situations (as mentioned above) and ensure you can limit how they affect you.  If you want to go to my website you can find a number of free videos and one of them contains this visualization technique.  

 

And second, you can practice differently by putting some pressure on yourself in practice.  Former USA Olympic Shooting coach, BJ McDaniel,  offers a number of strategies on his web page, one of which is to choose an amount of targets to be broken. Beginners can start with five. Later you can increase this to 10 or 15. Start on post one and using two shots for each target, break a target on post one, and then advance to post two. If a target is missed immediately start over at post one. Continue until the selected number of targets is hit in a row. When the goal is reached this becomes your personal best. How far can you push your personal best? Now, can you do this drill with only one shell in the gun?

 

The more pressure you put on yourself in practice and rise above it, the better. 

 

Give it a try and if you need any more information, simply ask. 

 

Bob Palmer

SportExcel
 

Click on over to

High Performance Trainer Bob Palmer’s video blog

 for the answer on video

 

BE SEEN!

2010 ATA AVERAGE BOOK

for advertising information call 317-633-8802 

 

 

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Duncan: 
 
Everyone at the club gives me advice—why isn’t it working?
 


 

 
 

Bob Palmer, High Performance Trainer for SportExcel gives the answer.

Well Duncan, there are a number of reasons it isn’t working and I can think of three good ones.

1)   Taking advice at the beginning of your round or sometimes during your round or between rounds gives you no time to practice that piece of advice.   In order to shoot well, you have to have no thoughts in your head, just a well-rehearsed pre-shot and shot routine… trying to follow a dozen pieces of advice keeps you thinking and is very disruptive to a smooth mount and accurate eye.

2)   The advice is coming from very well-meaning people, probably respected members of your family or club.  However, it is likely that few them are coaches who know how to translate their game and teach it.  They suggest something with no step-by-step approach to learning it.  Besides, if they were coaches, they would know that the practice session is the proper place to teach.

3)   People love to give you advice, even when you don’t need it.  I get advice like that in golf all the time—hey Bob watch the trees on the left or better add a club to get over the water.   Up to that point, I hadn’t even noticed the trees or the water.  If I listen, there is a good chance my ball will end up there and prove that I needed the advice.  The better you get in your shooting game, the more you’ll realize that some people can only win by playing with your mind.

So Duncan, I have a couple of suggestions.  First, find a good coach you can trust and learn the game from one source, not many.  Second, should someone give you advice on the range, as good as it sounds, thank them and let the information go in one ear and out the other.  Later, in practice, if you think it is valuable you can test it out—but only in practice.
 

Thanks for your question.  Give me a call if you need more information.

Bob Palmer
High Performance Trainer
Founder of the SportExcel System
SportExcel

705-720-2291
Toll Free North America 877-967-5747
Skype: sportexcel
 

Click on over to

High Performance Trainer Bob Palmer’s video blog

 for the answer on video

BE SEEN!

2010 ATA AVERAGE BOOK

for advertising information call 317-633-8802 

 

 

 


Sam:
 
 Exactly what does a mental coach do?  
 


 

 
 

Bob:  Hi Sam,

 

Quite simply, a mental coach works alongside your regular coach and shows you how to make your training and competition fun and easy.

 

First of all Fun: I teach my athletes to get into the Zone. The Zone is very empowering and feels great.  Immediately my athletes shoot better and enjoy the game more. In the process they learn how to

 

  • · support the Zone by learning how to learn new skills quickly—school work as well—and learning becomes fun,

 

  • · learn to deal with difficult people—it can be very cool to watch people how others are no longer able to get to you,

 

  • · enjoy competition—not just like competing, but enjoy it with no nerves—

 

  • · learn to forget mistakes—even disastrous events.     

 

All these things reinforce the Zone and the fun of the game.

 

Second—mental coaches make the game easy.  People will tell you that it takes a lot of hard work to be successful.  However, great athletes know that that is simply incorrect.  It is a statement from someone who has not done it.  Great athletes love their sport so much that it isn’t work.  They love to train.

 

So, Sam, mental coaches like me work alongside your regular coach to make your game fun and easy.  Give me a call if you’d like more information.

 

BE SEEN!

2010 ATA AVERAGE BOOK

for advertising information call 317-633-8802 

 

 

 


Spencer:
 
 Is the game of trap 90% mental?  
 


 

 
 

Bob:  Yes Spencer, I do believe that the game of trap is 90% mental and there are a number of reasons why.   

There are many skillful athletes in many sports who go into a game and, when intimidated, they lose their skillfulness.  Or they make a mistake and it affects them for the rest of the game and they seem to become less skillful after that.  Or they lose a competition or two and the frustration carries over to the next competition.  And, as the season goes on, their skill seems to completely disappear. 

I’ve seen it happen with a clay target shooter I was working with, who could break the world record in practice but ended up way down in the score when he competed.  All it took was for him to pick up his mental game and he ended up not only winning a U.S. championship but also a world championship.  It took some work on his mental game primarily, as his technical game was flawless.

But that doesn’t mean you have to spend 90% of your training time on your mental game.  Mental-game practice can be done quickly, because you can visualize a round of trap in one or two minutes.  A more extreme example of this is the game of golf where it takes a long time to walk from shot to shot, but in your mental game you can eliminate the “walking” and be done very quickly.  So your mental game can be practiced in a short period of time (5-10 minutes a day) and my suggestion to you is to learn some very good visualization strategies.   

I hope that answers your question.  And now I’d like you to go out on the range and practice both your technical game and your mental game, and learn to own the Zone. 

BE SEEN!

2010 ATA AVERAGE BOOK

for advertising information call 317-633-8802 

 

 

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