Back in December, I was invited to join the National Pistol Team. This has been a major goal for me for years now, and I finally had the team jacket in my hand. To really seal the deal, I was also invited to compete with the team at the Meyton Cup in Austria as well as the Bavarian Air Games in Germany in January.
I prepared diligently, and was very excited to compete again at an international competition. Right now, I am seeing consistent scores in my local competitions and competitions here in the US, but I want to be able to develop my international performances.
This particular competition was tough for me. My scores were low, and I struggled to find my center. It was hard for me to recover poor shots. I wasn’t seeing a consistent problem or difference in my preparations. I finally was able to squeak out a better, more regular score my last competition.
It helped to see a strong finish, but even when I got home, I struggled with the recovery. I doubted myself, and that is something an athlete is not supposed to do. This is something that will happen though, and when it does, there needs to be a battle strategy in place for what you will do to gain back what you lost. For me, I needed to talk it out. I talked about it with my coaches, family, and friends until I felt better. Once I got that ironed out, I was able to get back to my usual self. I’m shooting my expected scores again, and back on my routine. Everything feels smooth again.
Even though it was a rough competition, the experience of shooting in Austria and Germany was incredible. First, I had the Meyton Cup in Innsbruck, Austria. Innsbruck is a beautiful city. It is nestled in between two mountains with homes, farms, and the range climbing up the sides. The Meyton Range was high above the city. From the restaurant connected to the range, you could see all of Innsbruck and the mountain range surrounding it. It was a treat at night to look over all the dazzling lights. I made finals both days of the competition. I placed sixth the first day and fifth the second day. Even with okay scores, I was able to make up ground and pull into higher placings. That was a large accomplishment for me, and I wish I could go back and tell myself to focus on that more and not focus on the scores themselves.
The came Bavarian Air Games in Munich, Germany. That is a huge competition. There were so many countries there to try their hand at getting the gold. This is where I really made a turnaround in my mental game for the better. The first day, I shot a 370/400. I placed 54/74. It was not a high moment for me. I wanted to pout and sit alone by myself, but I knew that was no way to behave as a professional athlete. I stood up straight, dusted myself off, and told myself that tomorrow would be better. It was. I shot a 376 and placed 31/74. The biggest difference between my scores was my attitude before the match. The first day, I felt like I had to validate being there. I had to show them that I was worthy of competing at that level. What I should have been telling myself was that I know that I belong there, that I have already shown that I can compete on higher levels, and that I will perform my best no matter what. That is the mindset I had the second day. I did give it my best, and I proved to myself that I am capable of performing in situations like that.
Germany and Austria were amazing. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to shoot there. Maybe next time I will be able to shoot .22 as well!