Tracy Barnes shares how to prepare for a shooting competition via her blog at Beretta USA.
Summer is quickly approaching and so are much anticipated shooting matches across the country. Some of us will travel hundreds of miles for a chance to try our hand at a competitive shooting competition and we all hope to score among the top competitors. Most of us have put in the time at the range, and dry-fired countless times and we are feeling ready and confident for the match. But how much thought have you put into the match logistics? The competition day itself? Many of the shooting competitions we’ll be shooting across the country aren’t just one day of shooting, but rather multiple long and sometimes grueling days.
You’ve practiced your skills, but how do you prepare physically and mentally for an exhausting multi-day match?
Also see: Choosing a Competition Shotgun
Here are some tips to help you get through the long weekend of shooting.
Tip # 1: Keep your blood sugar constant. Maintain energy levels with proper nutrition.
The key to maintaining energy levels during any given day is keeping your blood sugar levels constant. You body likes to be in a state of homeostasis or more simply stated, balance. When your body is out of balance, it will work harder to get back to that balanced state. Eating the proper foods will help you avoid an energy crash just after lunch or late in the afternoon. If you properly balance your diet, your energy levels will stay consistent throughout the day. To do this, you’ll need to eat foods that have low glycemic levels. Don’t hammer the sugary drinks or pop tarts. High glycemic foods burn quickly in the body, leaving you with low blood sugar and low energy. When you drink or eat something that is high in sugar or has a high glycemic level, then you’re likely to get a sugar spike followed by an energy crash. Eating foods that have good fats and proteins will give you energy for longer periods of time and eating more frequent smaller meals instead of 3 large meals will help maintain your energy throughout the day.
Tip # 2: Stay Hydrated
If your body isn’t hydrated, you will fatigue quicker, and you will have problems concentrating on the task at hand. Your body contains over 70% water. Keep that 70% ratio, and your body will thank you for it in the long run. Also, stay away from those sugar drinks. Juices and sport drinks have high amounts of sugar in them. You’ll probably only need that amount of sugar if you’re going to run a marathon. If you consume that amount of sugar without a fair bit of exercise, you’re likely to have a sugar spike in your blood followed by an energy crash.
If you ever find yourself shaky during an event, it might not be just nerves. What you eat and drink can play a huge role in how you feel, so focus on water and maybe even an electrolyte supplement. These electrolytes are important for proper muscle function. Without proper hydration and electrolyte replacement your body and performance can be seriously impacted. The rule of thumb is that if you are thirsty then you are already on your way to being dehydrated. Stay ahead of the game by sipping on a water bottle frequently. Add some lemon, a pinch of salt, and a small amount of honey to your water bottle to help replace your lost electrolytes. You can also find quality sports drinks that contain ingredients other than sugar and dilute it in your water bottle.
Tip # 3: Sit Down, Lay Down, Close your Eyes, and Get off your Feet.
In between stages try to get some rest or down time. It is important to not only get off your feet, but take a short mental break as well. If you try to stay focused on your shooting from 7am to 7pm your mind will have a hard time keeping up and keeping motivated. Let yourself have some downtime between bouts and you’ll see a huge difference in your concentration levels during your stages.
Also, when you get off your feet don’t be afraid to take a quick cat nap or power nap. A few minutes of shut eye can really help your body to regenerate and refocus.
We also recommend wearing compression socks. When you are on your feet all day, your blood and lymphatic fluid will pool in your legs and feet and cause your legs to feel heavy and unresponsive. Wearing compression socks will help your body maintain circulation and help your legs be ready for action.
Read more at the Beretta USA blog.
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