Bad Days at the Shooting Range

We all have bad days when things don't go our way. It's a way of life. For me, those bad days or maybe even off days seem to be happening at the range lately.  During my last few range sessions I couldn't get in the zone and was shooting terribly. Here I was on this upward path investing in my own gun as well as instructor training and seeing positive results. Then, this happens and it really made me question myself, my abilities, and if I had even made the right choice to become a gun owner. As soon as I released a few shots & noticed how off target they were, my nerves starting kicking in at full speed. Surely everyone was watching me and laughing at me! The negative feelings just started to overwhelm me and so I cut short my range time. As I cleared my gun and started to pack up I noticed that there wasn’t even anyone in the lanes next to me. I left feeling deflated, frustrated, annoyed, and overall disappointed in myself.

On my drive home & after having a bit of pity party, I had time to mentally walk through my range session and find some perspective. There were many things that stood out but the predominant issue was that I was still struggling with the nervousness/anxiety of shooting a gun. I think what was so frustrating was that I thought I had overcome that aspect of shooting. After a few rounds with shots that were less than stellar my mental toughness went right out the window. While throwing in the towel seemed like the easy way out, I knew I couldn't give up. My decision to become a female gun owner was a defining moment in my life and I knew going in that being skilled at shooting wouldn’t be easy for me. I certainly am not going to give up shooting just because of a couple bad days!

Since I'm all about having a plan for shooting, why not also have a plan to beat those days where my mental mean girl gets the best of me.

  • Focus on the positives. I need to focus on the positives of what I am doing right instead of what I'm doing wrong or what went wrong.

  • Block out mental noise. Sometimes your mind can be your own worst enemy and create unnecessary distractions. Personally, I can become so trapped inside my head making situations like this worse. I will do my best to rid myself of negative feelings & thoughts.

  • Accept that each range visit will be different. Not every trip to the range will give me the results I was expecting. I will have off days but off days due to mental weakness or having a bad day in my personal life is not an excuse. I can learn from this though and be mentally strong to continue shooting and finish my training plan. After all, if I ever needed to use my gun for self-defense, the bad guy won’t go away because I tell him I’m having a bad day.

  • Remember the fundamentals. I will focus on the fundamentals of shooting to identify the root cause. I can go back to my instructor training and focus on my stance, sight alignment, and trigger control. Going back to the fundamentals and consistent practice will help me to continue build a solid shooting foundation. Also at home I can increase the practice time of dry firing.

While I'm not busting down the door at the range right now, I am ready to go back, overcome this mental anxiety, and keep improving my shooting. 

Do you guys have tips for when have a bad day on the range?

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