Step it up, don’t give it up

Q I am disappointed with myself as, several times in the past season I realised I have given up during a shoot. It happens when I am uncomfortable – too hot or too cold – or when I think I have missed too many to win anything. I don’t want to do this: can you suggest something to help?
Rory Chadwick, Keswick

A It is quite common that people give up or put in a reduced effort when they feel there is no chance of success. Most people base success only on winning and this is unfortunate because it is highly unlikely you will win every time. If success is based only on winning you don’t get many opportunities to feel successful and this conditions the mind to reduce effort each time the opportunity to win fades.

Of course reducing effort regularly lessens the chances of winning even more, creating a negative mental cycle that may be very difficult to reverse.

It is not possible to control winning, so base your definition of success on things you can control, for example how well you follow your shooting routine, see the target, refocus for the next shot after being distracted or how well you execute the steps of a good shot. After the event, rate yourself and base your feeling of success on how well you followed these procedures. Which, if you do follow diligently, will improve your performance, and that is the way to win! Mark Brownlee

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