The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude. – Wikipedia.org
Unfortunately it plays out in our sport by the trainload.
You’d be surprised at the number of fellow shooters who would never part with the most modest amount of money to attend a real shooting clinic. I’ve organized a few, and at times I’ve gotten responses like, “What’s the point? I can get training down the street from my friend Manny, the Master wananbe. Heck, that won’t cost me a dime.”
Clearly, someone who’s been trained to teach and is vastly more skilled than you or me will have a huge advantage in assisting with someone’s future success.
Simply telling the new bullseye shooter the game is 90% mental isn’t an insight about how to cognitively or subconsciously train for anything. You need honed skills, mastered techniques and mental grit working in harmony to pull it off.
So let’s take a look at some common mistakes (mostly mental) we bullseye shooters routinely stub our toes on.
Obviously we all need reliable and accurate equipment that’ll get the job done. But buying that new badass bullseye pistol for $4500 with the super deluxe finish isn’t going to get you more Xs. Your skill level on the line is a balance between your inner-self, applied techniques and your equipment. Forget the new toy and spend more money and time on training.
Can you buy points with really nifty stuff? Probably, but not as many as you might think.
2. Your definition of stamina isn’t directly related to how many donuts you eat at the local 2700 match.
Being at least moderately fit will give you a fighting chance to have an adequate finish. Whoa to those who think a reasonable amount of fitness shouldn’t be a concern with a pursuit like conventional pistol.
We’re not doing 3-gun, are we?
3. You are unwaveringly certain about things you know very little about.
Doubt can be a good thing. It gives us an opportunity to look back and learn. It allows us to reach out to others for help; hopefully when it’s needed not three years later.
We should avoid practicing alone. The only feedback you get by being out there by yourself is either: no insights whatsoever or stale perspectives that are questionable. Give some thought about training or practicing with others, even if they’re not at the same skill level. It’s okay to ask for input and share ideas.
4. You don't learn vicariously from other people's problems or mistakes.
There’s an old military saying, “Don’t pay for the same real estate twice.” It’s not uncommon for most of us to see errors in others and never question it; we simply accept the occurrence and try not to be judgmental. I’m all good with the non-judgmental thing, but for every significant action there’s a reason why things worked and why they didn’t.
Now you know one of the key reasons why coaches expect us to have notebooks.
5. You spent the last five years arguing why a clean break trigger is better than a roll trigger.
I don’t know which one’s better—because it’s not about the trigger. It’s about lack of investigation. You should question what’s truthfully good for you and take enough effort to investigate those choices whatever they are.
In this situation it may be your local clan’s collective predispositions. Many times they unintentionally communicate to you about how things are supposed to work.
6. You associate all of your shooting successes with skill and all of your failures with bad luck.
Yeah, we’re back to that ginchy notebook that most of us don’t have. I’m not suggesting you revel in your failures but they must be inventoried before they’re addressed. You need to know what’s holding you back.7. You let confirmation bias take control of your mind by only seeking out information from sources that agree with your pre-existing beliefs.
In this situation or any other, an open-mind is far more useful than doing things redundantly within your comfort zone. By doing the same old things the same way, you’re doomed to get the same results. Any change is stressful and doing new things is never easy. If you’re closed-minded, you’re trapped with no new avenue to traverse.
8. I’m doing it all on my own.
You hire a physician to treat you, an accountant to do taxes, a lawyer to manage legal problems, a plumber to fix your pipes and a dentist to fix your teeth. Heck, you wouldn't consider doing any of this differently.
While having limited experience—with a dash of bravado—you go about teaching yourself a highly skilled art and wonder why it doesn’t play out well. Get a coach or go to a clinic.9. You can't acknowledge the role luck plays when making the occasional big score.
When it happens, learn to enjoy it. But never, never count on it.
Like many of you I’ve been guilty of all of the above at one time or another. Unfortunately some bad habits have a tendency to stick around much longer than I’d like to admit.I’m not suggesting you all run out and buy Galbraith’s The Affluent Society, Castaneda’s Journey to Ixtlan or Soho’s The Unfettered Mind. Although, if you’ve never read it, a copy of Lanny Basham’s little pocketbook With Winning in Mind might be a start.
I’m going to give you a brief disclaimer about Lanny’s book. There are lots of good insights. He preps the reader to eagerly embrace change and provides a crude roadmap for getting started. But it’s a little short on techniques. That’s where the businessman in Basham has you coming back for more in-depth materials.
None the less it’s a start.