“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” -Napoleon Hill
Recently a good friend asked me what drives me to shoot. Among other things, my response was that it challenges me in multiple ways–balancing all the things that make me feel alive (emotion, adrenaline, expectation, breath)–so that in one instant, I am as still and un-alive as possible. It’s a constant learning process through problem solving and it gives me the freedom to experiment with different solutions. But ultimately, it narrows down to that first part–the challenge.
As much as I’d love to tell you that I’ve always practiced that idea, I’m certainly guilty of shooting for other reasons. The one reason that I hate to admit–but without a doubt has at times rung true–is that shooting can be comfortable. I’m guilty because it was not uncommon for me to walk away from the range satisfied as long as I shot a decent score. Usually “decent score” translated to something would minimally qualify for the finals at a world cup. I could list out all of the ways why that’s a terrible training strategy, but you can probably guess most of them. And obviously it doesn’t work.
My answer to my friend’s question was the exact opposite of how I’ve approached training the past year or longer. I didn’t start shooting competitively in order to feel comfortable or to do something that’s easy; I shoot for the challenge, and to push myself to the next level. That’s why I love it. I have always enjoyed challenging myself in the gym, intellectually, and in the outdoors, but for whatever reason when it came to shooting, I let that desire slip through the cracks. My guess is I became so stressed about the outcome that I forgot how and why I wanted to get to my goal.
So in the spirit of New Years’ resolutions, I’m actually making a new Olympic quad resolution. In the next four years, I will never walk away from the range without having challenged myself in some way. I encourage you to do the same, whether it’s with work, school, or relationships. Nothing will frustrate you more, and nothing will satisfy you more.
P.S. Thanks Matt for asking me that question–it’s friends like you that inspire others to become better and happier people!
Photo cred: @issf_official