Competition is a divisive topic in the shooting world. While certainly not for everyone, there are some hidden benefits that are not often discussed.
As a coach in multiple martial disciplines, I have observed the following benefits:
- The skills necessary to compete must be evaluated. Draw, transitions, accuracy, speed, shot calling, and movement will need to be identified as a strength or weakness.
- Measurement of the skills is necessary for improvement. How long does it take to perform a skill? Can I hit the target at a difficult distance? Can I shoot from different positions? Can I call my shot?
- Planning and scheduling for practice becomes a priority. Focusing on up coming competition encourages daily practice.
- Visualization programs the mind to perform competently and efficiently. Creating a mental vision of the necessary skills and strategies the required for the match.
- Competition is a measurement of your actual skill. You will perform at the level of skill you have earned in practice.
- Letting go of things you cannot control. The only control you have is over yourself, therefore let go of trying,and just perform. Everything else is out of your control.
- Self reflection and the scores give you a baseline of successes , lessons learned, and a plan of action to improve weak areas.
- A true comparison of skill against other competitors. If your training program is working you will see improvement relative to your level of commitment.
- Emotional fortitude is essential. Developing perseverance and detachment in the face of performance pressure is the greatest gift of competition. A feeling of empowerment and self-control that are accessible in your daily life, enabling you to meet adversity with self-reliance.
The competition is not as important as the preparation. Competitors measure and train, cyclically, preparing for the best performance and mastery of their skill. Changing your thinking process, planning and designing an effective training program, with a confident evaluation of the actual skill level is the benefit of competing. The defensive shooter would be well served by adopting a similar training process, even if they do not compete. Training is its own reward!
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” Marcus Aurelius