Fearless – the lack of fear, brave, courageous, bold; what competitive shooters frequently work to be, and most importantly, what anyone can be. How does someone become fearless?
The first step is to look at the circumstances. Many competitive shooters know confidence replaces fear, and that it is important to be aware of the circumstances that may affect the outcome of the match; the weather, crowds, ammunition, equipment, amount of practice, hunger, and even other shooters. The challenges can often create fear. The best shooting tip I’ve ever gotten was to take charge of the circumstances by being as prepared as possible, correct what I can, and have faith in my own ability. I don’t know if you are ever completely fearless, but knowing you’re ready to do your best helps very much. By taking charge of your circumstances and not letting them take charge of you, you can compete without “clutter,” and you might even reach “the zone!”
How do you become fearless? Most people would agree it’s all in your outlook, it’s within you, how you decide to face challenges. In my opinion and experience (an impressive 14 years’ worth), there’s nothing wrong with looking at both the possibilities and the risks that challenge you. I was raised that way. I learned when I was just a little girl (when I first felt the excitement of competing) that it’s impossible to get where you truly want to go without first challenging yourself. This reveals so much about you. It allows you to achieve your potential. To be fearless, let yourself explore possibilities in many areas of life as you grow. For now, however, I like being a fearless competitive shooter.
Shooting fearlessly is shooting with confidence. This sport is dominated by extremely talented men and women. I can speak from experience, that getting up in front of any of them and shooting a stage can be very intimidating. Usually, though, the experts don’t expect too much from the Average Glenda Girl, from Wanda Woman, or from Regular Joe Junior. This can be a relief and a confidence builder when they see your eagerness to succeed. Plus, unlike some competitive sports, regardless of the competitor’s skill level, the shooting squad will be welcoming, fun, and helpful.
Most (if not all) will agree that it’s pretty amazing to see someone finish a stage while following the rules and being a competitor, regardless of gender or age or level of skill. Sometimes it’s really exciting if you catch them by surprise when you knock down five steel targets quickly or get all A’s on the paper targets. Doing the best you can makes for an interesting response. It’s confidence building and taking charge of the circumstances. Having the confidence to stand up in front of everyone, focusing on the task, and competing to the best of your ability shows how fearless you are.
Visualizing your full potential and working toward it is another part of being a fearless, competitive shooter. It is important to challenge, not to limit yourself. Find something you love and make it a challenge, make it difficult. As you grow and succeed, it will be even more fun. For me, it’s shooting speed competitions with my iron-sighted revolver that my mom fondly calls my “Dinosaur,” because it looks so big in my small hands. For someone else, it may be figuring out how to go prone quickly and succeed in hitting the “X.” Challenging yourself will help you grow. By not always taking the easy road, you are taking the steps to reach your potential, becoming fearless. It’s important to know that you can still be fearless, even if you don’t do as well as you planned. And it’s just as important to know when you are finished for the day, like when your mom hands you the PB&J sandwich and you just need to rest.
How do you become fearless? By challenging yourself, shooting/competing with confidence, taking charge of your circumstances, visualizing and reaching your full potential and having fun doing it. That is fearless.
This Retro WON first appeared on June 27, 2011.
California teen shooter Molly Smith shoots for Team Smith & Wesson, and prefers a 627 Smith & Wesson iron-sighted revolver. She attends several matches each year, and loves to write about them at her column, "Millisecond Molly." View all posts by Molly Smith