Life Lessons from the Club Silhouette Shoot
Yesterday we held the monthly club silhouette shoot. This month it was pistols. (Last month was small-bore rifle. Don’t ask me how I did. Shudder.)
The ability to shoot well is a perishable skill. If you want to be good, you will need the resources (time, money) for frequent practice. I don’t have those resources. As a consequence, I’m mediocre. But I can measure my performance at each event and learn.
At yesterday’s shoot, I was able to hit the first silhouette much of the time, but completely missed the rest. Surely my sight picture/alignment and my marksmanship fundamentals were adequate. I was stumped for a cause. So today I hit the books, looking for the answer. It might be Natural Point of Aim – or NPA. NPA is your “default position”. Once you are on target, close your eyes and wait a second. Open them back up. Are you still pointing at the target? The problem is this: if you try to twist your body to hit a target which is not aligned with your NPA, you will likely miss, since your muscles are straining (even slightly) to stay on target.
That’s what happened. After hitting the first target, I needed to slightly twist my body to access the next one, with successive twists for successive targets. Perhaps if I simply side-stepped a little with each target, I could maintain the NPA and hit more targets. It’s something I’m going to try next month.
Then I continued thinking, how many things in my life are misses, which should be hits, because my life NPA is off; my “default position” isn’t lined up with my goals and targets?
In fact, on one bank of targets (turkeys, I think) I missed every target, and you could see that I was hitting the ground a foot or two short of the target. “Hey Miles,” Don shouted. “Your sights are set too low!” “I know,” I responded. “Lot’s of people have told me that!”
But even if my sights were set correctly, if my NPA is somewhere other than my intended target goal, I’ll likely miss and then be unhappy with the results. I need to re-evaluate the strategy I’ve developed, and my tactical use of resources. Where do I want to be? Is this current strategy going to get me there? Are my priorities aligned so that I will be successful in that strategy and reach the goal?
Side-stepping each time I shoot will probably look a little odd – after all, no one else is doing it, and some competitors shot well. But if I can hit more targets by side-stepping, then I’ll use that as my strategy. Similarly, in my life, I may have to adopt a new strategy, and even a strategic use of my resources which others may find odd, or strange. Oh, well. My goal is to be on target more often, and therefore increase my satisfaction, and reduce my frustration.
Silhouette shooting is more philosophical than I had imagined.