There are a multitude of causes for bad shots. Listed below are those most frequently found. It is not intended to be a complete list nor is it intended to provide the shooter with a convenient list of bad habits.
It is, however, intended to assist the shooter in finding the source of his trouble.
1. Jerk or Heel: The abrupt application of pressure either with the trigger finger alone or in the case of heeling, pushing with the heel of the hand at the same time.
2. Vacillation: Lack of know-how and skill causes constant changing of technique. The end result is usually that you hope to get a good shot.
3. Anxiety: You work and work on a shot, meanwhile building up in your mind a doubt about being able to fire the shot while your control is optimum. Impatience sets in. Finally you shoot just to get rid of that particular round so you may work on others.
4. Not Looking At the Sights: This is listed frequently as "looking at the target". A shooter may be focusing his eye on neither the sights nor the target, but since he does not see the target in clear focus he assumes he is looking at the sights. Concentrate on sight alignment.
5. Loss of Concentration: The concentration will shift between sight alignment and the relative position of the sights to the target if good sight picture is the objective. Concentrate only on attaining perfect sight alignment with minimum movement and the application of positive trigger pressure comes much easier and is almost involuntary.
6. Holding Too Long: Adverse conditions that disturb a shooter's ability to "hold" will cause him to delay his positive application of trigger pressure while waiting for conditions to become better. The disturbing factor about this is that you will do it sometimes when you have your normal minimum arc of movement, therefore, you must try to freeze all arc of movement momentarily to get off a perfect shot quickly before any movement is resumed.
7. Control: Maintaining control of your shooting is a continuous battle. The battle builds tension. Tension tightens the muscles and finally the abrupt motions made in compensation for errors cause the shooter to go beyond the desired area and deliver shots in exactly the opposite place from where the error was causing him to shoot originally. Smooth coordinated actions are best assured by the relaxed, confident and carefully planned approach.
8. Lack of Follow Through: Follow through is the conscious attempt to keep all control factors applied through the break of the shot. For example, you are continuing to maintain concentration on sight alignment even after the shot is on the way. This is accomplished by having a surprise shot break and no reflexes of anticipation to disturb sight alignment. Follow through is not to be confused with recovery. Merely recovering from recoil and reestablishing the hold and sight alignment after the shot is fired is no indication that you are following through.
9. Match Pressure: (See Chapter VII - Mental Discipline) If there are 200 competitors in a match, rest assured that there are 200 shooters suffering from match pressure. You should exert all your mental energy toward planning and executing the fundamentals correctly.
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