The time monkey.
What is the time monkey? The time monkey is that feeling of pressure you get when you feel like you are stressed for time. That stress and pressure will make you make mistakes.
So how can we master the time monkey?
Practice and build confidence in yourself and your skill set. If you break this down to a specific manageable task at first, this will be easier for you to accomplish. Since most of my classes revolve around shooting we can start there.
Once you have learned the fundamentals of marksmanship and can hit a reasonable target at a reasonable distance we can start on speed. For this exercise we will use an 8 inch paper plate at 7 yards. If you work till you can place 10 rounds on the plate fairly quickly you can start adding the element of time. Start easy. Have a buddy run a stopwatch for you or download a shot timer app for your phone. Shoot the 10 shots on the target in 15 seconds. Then work down to 10, then 5, then 3 seconds. You may be able to get even faster.
Now imagine what would have happened if I had started you out by placing the target out at 7 yards and telling you you have 3 seconds to hit the target 10 times. “GO!”
How well would you have done?
Starting slow and deliberate will allow you to get fast. “Slow is smooth, Smooth is fast”
This procedure will work regardless of if you are trying to mount a rifle quickly, shift targets quickly or reload quickly. Start slow and deliberate and work up to fast.
With some prior planning and practice you will be amazed at what you can do.
One stage in the old Army Qualification required the shooter to start in the standing position with his rifle loaded with 2 rounds and having with them another mag with 8 rounds. At the start signal the shooter must drop to the prone position take the rifle off safe fire the 2 rounds at a target 300 yards away. Then reload and fire one more round at that target. They then shift targets fire 3 more rounds. Then shift targets again firing the remaining 4 rounds. All this must be finished in 60 seconds….
The first time people shoot this usually the clock is on their mind or Time Monkey is on their backs. They rush through the string. They do not score well, don’t even get off all their shots. They fumble around with the reload. And time just slips away.
After a shooter has shot this a few times they see how much time is in 60 seconds. They get more comfortable with it. They focus on the task at hand and do not worry about the clock.
They finish with plenty of time to spare. Shooters finishing this string in 40-45 seconds with a perfect score is not out of the norm.
Work on the skill. Focus on the task at hand. Focus on doing it right.
Work till you can do this with an audience. That adds that extra little bit of stress you need to practice under. Eventually you won’t even know they are there.