Yes- That word is spelled correctly…another spelling might be “governor” either way, I am referring to the speed limiting device that you might find on a car. My Tundra, for example, has one that limits its speed to 110….not that I admit I have driven that fast..
So this post is about removing your internal “governer,” the one that limits your ability. A vastly researched subject on the area of performance is that of the self-image, and its role in allowing us to reach new levels of performance. Research has shown that we all have a level of self confidence that is very specific. It pushes us to new levels when we believe we are performing below our ability, and it pulls us back when we begin to exceed our self-imposed performance levels. So how to we remove our own internal “governor?” The simple answer is that we have to reprogram our self-image, and while this is easy to say, it takes some work to do. The good news is that it is not just possible, but absolutely probable to re-write our self-image using the following tools. I am writing this particular article in respect to removing our limitations and reaching the next level in our competitive shooting hobby’s. (to read more consider looking into my book Your Competition Handgun Training Program)
So you have a set of skills, probably honed to that level through practice, match performances, and by comparing yourself to other shooters. The level of skill you currently possess is very much your comfort zone, and when you perform above or below it your self-image will cause you to self adjust back to that level. That is NOT our goal however, and instead we wish to push to the next level, right?! To do that, we must reprogram our beliefs. Try these steps:
- Increase your skill – First you must push yourself to the next level in terms of technical skill (you need to take your shooting level to a higher level). If you are currently following my program, then you should already have a solid base. To push to a higher level I want you to try a trick I use in my own training, and I will describe it with a term I stole from Mike Hughes (founder of Next Level Training and the SIRT) called “get your number.” The concept is simple, I want you to finish your training phase (whichever one you are on if you are using my program) and start a 4-6 week phase where you use only the Macro drills in my program. I want you to pick one drill in each training session (X-drill, Multi-port drill, etc.) and after a basic warm up (use extend prep, press, and static draw drills), I want you to push the chosen drill to your own “next level.”. The term “get your number” from Hughes is an approach where when exercising he and his training partner attempt to “get their number” and get as many reps and possible…and then some. The concept of “then some” is the critical point and means that you need to push beyond what you believe is possible. Now, make sure to be safe here, but don’t be afraid to push. PUSH! My routine is to set the drill up and find what my base time is in control. Then I visualize myself pushing hard and begin to try to get good hits while doing the drill faster, and then I run the drill again….and again, and again! Each time I push myself to shoot faster, and in between repetitions of the drill I try to figure out where I can shave some time off. I focus hard on finding out EXACTLY what I need to see visually to get good hits, and no more. I work on changing pressure on the gun, managing the trigger differently, etc. all while looking for that next level I am searching for. In the end, if you try this process, you will find yourself vastly exceeding the times you used to be able to do. Document that time and your hits!
- Validate your skill – Now it is time to take that new skill you have developed and validate it at a match, AGAINST an opponent. This is a critical part of the process, because I want you to pick an opponent that you shoot against regularly that beats you all or most of the time. Your goal in this step is to try to beat that person, just one time. And then another time….and another. The key here is that each time you beat them, you reprogram your self-image into believing you are at that level. In time, you will be beating them regularly (be patient here), and as you do so, keep reminding yourself that you are that good. Once you can beat them routinely, set your target on someone better. Think about this like a marathon, and instead of trying to catch the person way up front, just focus on catching the person right in front of you…and then after that the next person in front of you…etc.
- Affirm your skill – Now we need to hardwire all this work and results into our self-image. I recommend writing affirmations (short paragraphs) that will are in first person and affirm the skill you wish to have. State your affirmation in present tense like you have already reached that level of skill. Attach an emotional word to your statement, and read/repeat if often. An example of a good affirmation statement: “I am happily and easily winning my club match regularly. I work hard and “get my number” in all training sessions, pushing me to the next level. I am happily and easily winning my club match regularly.” I strongly recommend the mental section of my book or any of Lanny Basham’s material on writing affirmation statements.
In the end, your skill, performance, and belief in yourself will all be in tune. At that time, you will be performing the best you ever have. Don’t let a bump in the road effect your belief in yourself, and make sure to acknowledge the positive occurrences and forget the negative ones. Never hold the negative! Now get out to the range, take the governer off, and reach your own personal next best.
Until Then – Train Hard!