Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mimi Wilfong - My Road to Mental Control

My first encounter with Mental Management Systems’ products came when I started to shoot Olympic trap. I had been shooting for several years and was pretty familiar with trap, skeet, 5-stand, sporting clays, some wobble trap, helice, and a limited amount of international skeet. One of the gentlemen I was shooting with told me he had the "Bassham tapes" and wanted me to listen to them. He was a nice guy and had been shooting for a long time, so I figured I’d humor him and listen. I was not excited about the thought of his ‘assignment.’ He brought them to the gun club for me to borrow. There were 6CDs in the set (he had failed to mention that part). That seemed like an awful lot, but I figured I had an hour and a half drive home and I could listen to them then. I put the first CD in the player and began to listen. After about 25 minutes, I decided that was enough. As a 17 year old, there were other CDs that I wanted to listen to (and they definitely weren’t audio books or learning programs). I also got pretty bored listening to a guy who was sitting in a room by himself talking into a recorder. I was having trouble paying attention, because there was a lot of other stuff I could look at and not actively listen (oh! Look, a bird!). Plus, I figured, they recorded this before I was born. It was old information. I had all kinds of reasons not to listen to it. So I took it out of my CD player, returned it to its rightful owner, and didn’t think much of it.

Fast forward 2 years. My Olympic trap shooting had improved. I had been working with a coach and my scores were increasing. I was more consistent and really enjoyed the game. I experienced some success, making the National Development team and being able to travel overseas to compete as a junior. I kept hearing Lanny Bassham ’s name though. Every time someone mentioned the ‘tapes’, I was amazed that someone actually sat and listened to SIX hours of one guy talking. I figured they were crazy. The more places I shot and events I went to, the more I heard about Lanny. The people talking about him shot really well and were people whose opinion I respected. And these people weren’t crazy.

Another year goes by. My technical ability was pretty good. I could break every target and I knew it. I had made more teams to travel overseas and won some national titles. I was moving well to the target and had a solidpre-shot routine that I almost always went by. But why wasn’t I consistent? My mental game wasn’t there and I knew it. I was convinced that I had to do something. I had been to a group session with a sports psychologist, butdidn’t feel like I got much out of it. I didn’t want to learn to ‘deal with’ the scores I was currently shooting; I wanted my scores to improve. I didn’t need to hear that I should ‘figure out what works’ for me. I knew I needed to do that, but I wanted guidance and direction on HOW to do that.

Next , my mom calls to tell me she has scheduled my seminar with Lanny Bassham. And to make sure to read the book she was sending before I went. "With Winning In Mind" arrives in the mail. The first thing I noticed was that the book wasn ’t very long, which was good because I was thinking that anyone who could record six hours of audio would probably write a book longer than the Bible (Yes, I was still holding a grudge about that!). I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with Mental Management, but I was to the point where I was willing to try almost anything.

I’m a fairly fast reader, and I had the book read within a day or so. And I was EXCITED! I was ready for my seminar and wanting to try the techniques in the book.

My seminar was two days in December. The day after I finished my last final of the semester at Texas A&M, I drove to Mental Management Systems. I was tired of studying, tired of classes, and ready for a break. I was determined to focus for two more days though, because I was ready to see my shooting improve.

I spent two days learning about the Mental Management System, and left feeling excited and motivated. Lanny was easy to talk to, easy to understand, and great at answering questions. Two full days of sessions from 9-5 covers a lot of information, and I was exhausted. I knew I wouldn’t remember everything, so I made sure to take notes during my session so I could go back and review.

I left my seminar, enjoyed Christmas break, and began to implement what I had learned. I saw some improvement and was pleased. While at my seminar, I got some more Mental Management Systems products, including Winning Sporting Clays: It’s All In Your Mind. I’m one of those people who likes to shoot different disciplines for variety, and I could easily transfer the information in the sporting clays program to how it applies to trap. I found that after going to my seminar, CDs were easier to listen to and understand; I was able to pay attention to the CDs and not get distracted by something else going on. Really, I had matured and was more motivated to improve my shooting than I had been at age 17. The thought of listening to 6CDs wasn ’t as hard to digest once I saw the value in it. I also was introduced to the Performance Analysis. I had been keeping a shooting journal. Comparing my shooting journal to the Performance Analysis is like comparing Dr. Seuss to Shakespeare – related, but not the same. My shooting journal was very vague; the information was varied from entry to entry, and was usually an afterthought, if I even remembered to write in it at all. The Performance Analysis helped transform the way I talk to myself and aided in positive reinforcement. In my PA, I wrote all of the details that I had been keeping in my journal, but in a more positive and beneficial format. PA provides a structure and outline to refer to when I need to go back and compare training sessions and competitions. I complete my Performance Analysis on the same day I’ve shot and don’t have to struggle to remember how I shot two weeks ago. At this point in the evolution of my training, I was running my mental program pretty well most of the time. Some days I didn’t try as hard, and my scores reflected that.

As I mentioned, I am a student at Texas A&M University, and marketing is my major. I was looking for an internship related to my degree in an area that I had some interest in (not just a random internship picked from a hat). I approached the Basshams to see if they had any interest in employing an intern. Much to my surprise, they liked the idea and accepted me with open arms.

As I began to talk to people on the phone explaining Mental Management Systems and the products sold, I started to understand more about it myself. I re-listened to all of the products I had and listened to the others. Not only did this help me describe the products to customers, but it served as great reinforcement for my own mental game. Things I learned in my seminar continue to become clearer and each time I listen, I learn something new.

My training has improved immensely as I continue to develop my Mental Management System, especially in the past few months. It is important to realize that a mental program always has room for improvement. As I’ve trained this summer, I’ve improved my self image, gotten a lot better with imprinting and reinforcement, and have seen my scores become much more consistent. With a solid mental program, confidence level rises. Each time I go to the range, I continue to work on my program, and I spend time away from the range to improve my mental game. I’ve worked hard, and it has paid off. The more I run my system, the better it becomes. My focus has been on making myself run the system and to stay in the present rather than focus on the outcome.
I run my program, focus hard on every shot, and the resulting firework explosion of the target breaking is pure bliss – the process seems so simple.

Things I’ve Learned:

Implementing a mental system is not easy. You have to work at it and stick with it.
Inevitably, something will come up in your program that you need to find a solution to. I began working so hard on my mental routine and became so focused on that aspect of my shooting that I became less concerned with making sure my eyes were focused correctly before calling for the target. I couldn’t break targets that way. I learned to make sure my mental and physical training were in balance.

The people who say you should not begin to work on a mental program until you have become a very good shooter (AA or Master class)aren’t thinking clearly. If you wait that long, you’ve wasted valuable time that you could have been developing, implementing, and tweaking your mental game so everything falls into place much

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