The September issue of Shooting Sports USA has a great article tackling the issue of how to keep your nerves calm and make the shots that count when a championship is on the line. In the article, the first of a three part series, professional shooters who are well known in the shooting world tell you how they deal with competitive pressure.
The Fine Art of Not Cracking Under Pressure
By Jock Elliott // Photo by Lloyd Hill
One day I was shooting groups under fairly
bad conditions when suddenly a really terrific
group began to come together. As I looked
through the scope at the three shots through
one hole, internal voices began to pester me:
“Don’t blow it! You know it only takes one bad shot to ruin
a great group like this.” Listening to these messages, my
breathing became shallower and more rapid. My heart rate
accelerated. I could feel myself “blowing up” inside. I knew
this was not going to help me shoot more accurately.
I mentioned the experience to a friend, and he suggested
I write an article on dealing with pressure while shooting.
Chip Lohman, Managing Editor of Shooting Sports USA,
thought this was a good idea and added, “We should
interview a list of champions and see how they deal with
pressure on a personal level.” So, with Chip’s help, I
approached a number of past and present champions with
The focus of this article will be to find out how
champion shooters in various NRA disciplines manage
the pressure of competitive shooting. This could be
the pressure of “Hey, I’m doing really great, I hope I
don’t blow it,” or the pressure of, “I’m doing really
badly, I need to fi x it now,” or simply the pressure of,
“This is the biggest, most important match of the year.
I need to shoot my best.” What I want to know is how
you, personally, deal with pressure in competition or
how you prepare to minimize pressure when you are
What follows is what those champions had to say about
the fine art of not cracking under pressure.
Read the rest of the article, and what the real experts have to say, by clicking this link.