What Makes 95% of All Shooters Fail During Match Play?
Lever Action Rifle Tips
Keeping Your Energy and Stamina High
If you are into Cowboy Action Shooting competition, or plan to part of one in the future, then honing your shooting speed and accuracy should be a constant part of your training to acquire that winning edge. Below are some useful guidelines that you need to incorporate in your training.
Why is it so many of us find ourselves making mistakes, missing targets and otherwise having a bad day at Cowboy Action Shooting matches when it really counts’?
We practice to the degrees our schedules allow, we go to the monthly or practice matches and very often shoot well. We keep our equipment in reasonably clean and ready condition. Our rounds are tested and ready.
Sure, I know we are here to have fun and enjoy these CAS events. I also know that for many, part of the fun in cowboy action shooting is doing our best. It is only natural for us to gain pleasure from improved performance. NO matter the level of where the improvement is, it is simply the personal satisfaction we get out of doing something better.
Now that we know we are having fun, what is it that makes it so tough at times when we really hope to give peak performances? Most of us have learned during our lives that the harder we try, the better we will do, the further we will go in our pursuits or goals. Makes sense doesn’t it. Mostly, this is true.
So it is finally time for a big match. You have really been trying to get ready and you’re looking forward to shooting well. Maybe you’re looking forward to shooting better than you ever have before. Whatever it is you had in mind, you’re confident and ready to go. What often happens next is a common outcome for 95% of all competitors.
The beep (or signal) sounds as you begin the run of your first stage. You want so much to do well, but somehow you have missed a target or two, encountered a glitch of some kind and your run is a poor one. Undaunted, you make a concerted effort not to let that bother you as you run through the subsequent stages. Sadly, the end of the match finds you having done far worse than you expected. Worse still, you are very frustrated with how hard you tried and where it got you. Why?
The answer is no big secret. When this happens it is usually because we have tried to hard. Trying too hard has cost more shooters more poor finishes than any other single factor. You must try hard enough to shoot well, but not one bit more.
Each of us has a level of effort that will give us our maximum performance. This level of effort is similar to what you are doing during when you have a really good practice match. It is easy to shoot when you are comfortable and shooting well. Don’t over try in competition. Try just the right amount.
Don’t Lower Your Lever Action Rifle or Carbine Between Shots
While shooting the lever action carbines and rifles in a cowboy match, many shooters are seen taking the rifle out of their shoulder in between shots as they lever a new round in the chamber. This is a time consuming and unnecessary action on the shooter’s part.
To lower the rifle from the shoulder requires the shooter to re-acquire the firearm’s position for firing and also hinders target acquisition. Keep the rifle or carbine up in the shoulder while operating the lever at all times when engaging your rifle targets. This will significantly improve your ability to acquire the next target quicker and also cut seconds off your time that otherwise would have been lost in the wasted effort of dropping the rifle out of the shoulder.
Keeping Your Energy and Stamina High
Cowboy Action Shooting competition matches are very often an all day affair. Shooting anywhere from 8 to 12 individual events or stages during the course of a single day is not without it’s physical demands as well as the need to maintain a strong mental attitude throughout the shoot.
Many shooters find themselves doing well in the morning stages and then begin to wan or waiver during the course of the afternoon. The end of the day can often result in just trying to get it over with. This of course will affect the way the shooter will approach, perceive and perform on those final events.
Consistency throughout is without question an all important factor in placing well in these events. Failure to take care of yourself during a long day will indeed take it’s toll on even the best of the competitors. Whether it is the heat, the cold or just the stress of keeping it together for all the stages, there are some important things you can do that will help to keep you sharp and on top of your game all day.
The need to take potassium and calcium is one important item. Our bodies will naturally use and deplete these minerals when we exert our physical energy. Taking supplements of both potassium and calcium in the early morning and then again during a lunch break has helped me to avoid the fatigue that can set in and hurt my afternoon performance in the cowboy action shooting shooting events.
I will also eat a light breakfast to fortify myself for the match. Drinking only one cup of coffee in the morning takes the edge off, but doesn’t give me the shakes like 3 or more cups might. Having water or other appropriate liquids available during the day is important. I try to stay away from high amounts of sodium, they tend to make me a little nervous and shaky. Lunch consists of something that is not real greasy nor heavy.
Performing well for an entire cowboy action shooting match is hard enough in itself and takes an enormous amount of concentration and energy. Keep your physical stamina up and have fun the whole time!
Strive to Shoot Consistently
The average match in a cowboy action shooting competition has between 8 and 12 separate shooting problems or scenarios. These individual events that make up the “main match” are called “stages”. Location of targets and procedures of engagement are different for each stage and are scored as separate events as well. On this note, here’s a hint.
Be consistent throughout the match
Maintaining consistency throughout the main match is what the top shooter works at. Shooting within one’s own comfort zone during the match will greatly help your consistency. Do not let another shooter’s time or speed influence the way you shoot the stage. If indeed you do have a bad stage, (and we all do!) don’t go after the next one too fast to make up for it. Getting out of your own “groove” can really foul you up.
Shoot clean at your own pace
Shoot the next stages with the intent to shoot clean and at your own speed. Many shooters that have had a bad stage or some irritating misses during a major match have come back to place very high overall, win their respective class and to win the overall match by being consistent.