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There's basically two things at play when shooting.... the physical and the mental.... inside and outside forces can and do work to influence both.

For example, when I drive a lot and then try to shoot... well, my nerves are basically screwed up and it takes a day or two for me to get over the drive before I can even begin to start shooting even a little bit close to normal... The harder or more stressful the drive, the longer it takes for me to get over it.

For other people it can be other things that mess with their performance... but the main thing I've seen is performance anxiety in front of a crowd.

When it's difficult to concentrate, or if it's hard to stay on target because of other things... having a mantra consisting of basic steps to help center yourself can really help out.

If I find myself unable to concentrate or if my nerves are simply to jangled to shoot well, I go through these steps in my head and try to follow with my body:

1) Look at target, bore eyes through the center...

2) Take stance while targeting with eyes...

3) Load pouch taking care to center the ammo while breathing in, pushing stomach out to completely fill the diaphram with air...

4) Begin the draw low, pulling back all the way a little before anchoring or finding the pouch holding hand's hold point, while relaxing the diaphram slowly and under control...

5) Target should be a little above where Point of Aim and Point of Impact intersect, so raise to center of target while holding breath.... If there is to much shake, bounce up and down slightly taking control of it, if there's no shake or very little, simply release when everything is lined up and it appears you're on target...

6) The release should be as smooth and under control as possible, as Tex says "release like you're holding a butterfly".

7) After release, hold slingshot in place for about a second and then drop it to your side in a relaxed manner.

If the shot went where I wanted it to go... then I keep the same stance if shooting the same target... if it's a different target, I change up the stance to compensate.... then I simply repeat the steps...

In the past, I have even gone so far as to make a recording of myself going through the steps and then repeating it for a whole shooting session... but now I've got it all pretty well memorized and can do it without to much effort or really thinking about it....

BUT, if I find myself simply unable to center on the target, and rest is not an option... then I do find that making myself go through the steps does seem to help.
 
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