10 Ways To Reduce Anxiety Before A Shooting Tournament

For competition shooters, particularly freshers, a forthcoming tournament can be a reason for higher anxiety. For elite shooters, good performance in tournaments can lead to better endorsement deals and sponsorships.
Here are some main drills and techniques which you can exercise to calm yourself and build your concentration prior to a shooting competition to do your best. While some of these are shooting sport-specific, others are ideal tips to use in any stressful situation.
This blog also assumes that you are at least relatively familiar with shooting sports. If you are intending to participate in your first shooting competition, there has to be additional safety steps that you ought to take.

1. Dry Fire At Your Practice Arena

One of the finest drills that you can do at your practice arena is dry firing. This comprises of going through drawing, sighting, and squeezing the trigger on an unloaded air rifle/airpistol. Dry firing generates muscle memory and lets you emphasize your practice on key areas that you ought to improve, such as sight picture.
When you dry fire, it’s ideal to train as close to realistic circumstances as possible. In short, you ought to use the same equipment and apparel you intend to use during the shooting competition and of course,  employing  the same air pistol or rifle. Be at the ready position and practice drawing your air rifle/pistol and concisely bringing it up to the firing position and sighting in on your aim. Press the trigger so that the hammer falls.

2. Deep Breathing| Box Breathing

This is a classic relaxation technique that is perfect for just about any circumstance. There are multiple breathing techniques that can be of your help, but the simple is just taking some deep breaths. Emphasize on your breathing, filling your lungs with air each time you do inhaling. This will help to wipe your mind of anxiety and aid to  concentrate on the task in hand.
If you think your anxiety level is rising, just walk away from the firing line and find a (relatively) silent space. It’s always ideal to work on your breathing exercises that is far from mind distractions.
One such technique is box breathing that usually requires inhaling for four counts, then holding your breath for four counts, breathing out for four counts, and then holding your breath once more for four counts.

3. Watch Other Shooters Before You

If you’re a novel shooter, seeing professionals or semi-professional shooters may endow you with more anxiety. But eventually, we feel that there is a lot to gain by observing your fellow shooters.
When you watch out your fellow shooters, you ought to actually be in the right state of mind. Remind yourself that you are there just to get ideas from their technique, and not sit and marvel at their skills. Check their footwork and how they position their body. You might not be able to shoot as good as they do (yet), but you can imitate their movements and use their experience to aid you shoot better.

4. When in Doubt, Talk it Out

You will discover that some of the sweetest people in the world are at shooting sports competitions or at a shooting training centre. If you’re down with some anxiety about competing in your first shooting tournament, just kick start a conversation with someone. Possibilities are that they have felt the same way in the past and may have some amazing insight on how to deal with it.

5. Read Training Diary

Training diary is precisely what it sounds like. It’s a notebook (or a digital version of it) where people record their daily work progress. As much as a training diary aids to understand areas of improvements, it also functions as a guide for good performances. This aids in lessening performance anxiety and feel better about yourself.

6. Set Realistic Goals

Moderate goals (also called as realistic goals) are far better than easy or very hard to achieve goals because it pushes people to work hard and go beyond  themselves in order to fulfill the goals. They are also more satisfying when achieved which aids in reducing the occurrence of stress and anxiety.

7. Talk With Sports Psychologist/Coach

In order to overcome performance anxiety, a​ sports psychologist/ shooting coach may try to help the person understand why those thoughts and feelings are arising and then try to alter or modify that process. Sport psychologist will help professional and amateur individuals overcome anxiety problems, boost their performance, and achieve their goals.

8. Do Planning For Training & Match To Keep Same Mindset

Prior to both shooting training as well as competitive match, it is advisable to do your “planning”. This is because you will be able to carry the same mindset before the match as you had before your training session started.  

9. Understand Your Root Cause Of Anxiety & Ask Is This Real Or Created

The root cause of anxiety could involve one or combination of factors including genetic, environmental, psychological and developmental. But’s what even more important is to understand whether the anxiety is real or is artificially created by you owing to your constant overthinking pattern. Once you get clarity on what is triggering your anxiety, you will be able to get the right solution.

10. Positive Self Talk/Affirmations

Positive Self Talk/ Affirmations are personal phrases repeated over and over to influence the subconscious mind to accept as true. Affirmations are phrased in the present tense, are simple, active, emotive and productive. Over time, affirmations create an attitude such as ―I am confident in my ability! Affirmations can create and put athletes in a possibility environment.



Remember anxiety is never pleasing thing to deal with, and that goes double when taking part in a competition such as shooting tournaments. Whether it’s your first shooting competition or your 100th, being nervous prior to a big event is absolutely normal. We’ve discussed about some simple methods to relax your nerves and help you do your best. Lastly, do not forget to have fun, since possibilities of winning is high that’s why you initiated shooting in the first place.