Thursday, January 15, 2009

Evaluating Your Shots - Lanny Bassham Article from Clay Shooting USA

Lanny Bassham is an Olympic Coach and an Olympic Gold Medalist. He is a member of the Olympic Shooting Hall of Fame, ranks third among all shooters in total international medal count for the USA and one of the most respected mental trainers in the world. His book With Winning in Mind and his Mental Management® concepts are used and endorsed by Olympian and World Champion shooters. You can reach him at 1-800-879-5079 or at

Evaluating Your Shots

I believe that everything we attempt has three phases; an anticipation phase (Preparing to do something), an action phase (Doing it) and a reinforcement phase (What you think about just after doing it). Today we are going to visit the reinforcement phase a bit. This phase begins when the shot execution ends. It’s what you think about after you shoot a pair or a single.

The reinforcement phase should have three distinct parts; Evaluation, Rehearsal with Correction and Letting it Go. We are going to look at part one in detail and introduce parts two and three and leave them for a future article. Part one is the evaluation. It is human nature to evaluate everything we do immediately after we do it. The key is how you accomplish this evaluation process. Let’s say you are training and working on a presentation that has given you trouble. You have plenty of time to think about the single or pair you have just attempted. You are in the reinforcement phase of the task of shooting this presentation. We suggest that you place the shot you have just made into only one of three categories; GREAT, OK or NEEDS WORK. There is no terrible category or I’m going-to-slit-my-wrist over that one category. The worst is NEEDS WORK and that’s it. If you hit both of them hard that’s GREAT. If both broke but no smoke then it is just OK and if you missed then NEEDS WORK is the category that it goes into. This sounds elementary right? Many shooters tend to give misses way too much imprinting on their self-image when they miss targets and that is the problem. There is no “I am going to beat myself up over that one.” category.

Remember we are still in training at this point and we have an opportunity to evaluate the NEEDS WORK shots. This is the best time to work out any inconsistencies in your form. I want to caution you however not to spend one second longer in thought about missed targets than is required to determine a solution to the non-hit as this creates an imprint on your self-image that you must overcome at some point. When you are in a training mode you have all the time you need to analyze shots, figure out what you did wrong and make correction on the next pair. So, shooters get into the habit of over-analyzing in training. This gets you into trouble in the tournament where you do not have anywhere as much time for analysis and this causes you to over-think your shot into a miss. So what should you do?

First, divide your training into two parts. In the first part spend all the time your little heart desires on analysis. Get it figured out and shoot it until you have the grove down. Then transition into training like you will shoot in the competition. Step out of the box and implement your entire pre-shot routine just like you would do in a competition and only shoot 4 or 5 pairs of targets. Next, step off of the station and rewind what you have just done in your mind correcting any flaws you might have experienced then run the process several more times. Notice the timing. There is a rhythm to good competition technique and this timing is just as critical to high scores as lead and placement. This presentation is now in your target library and you can move on to another shot to master.

Now, when you go to the competition, keep the move, the lead and the timing the same as you’ve used in the second part of the training session. Do not over analyze the shots or slow down or speed up your timing. Most of the time you know why you are not hitting targets after a miss and you can easily correct the error. A word of caution here, there is a tendency for shooters to become paralyzed by analysis in competitions. The chance for this to occur goes way up on targets that are missed with you not knowing why you have missed them. If you are in doubt and just do not know what to do I offer you two choices and a recommendation. Choice one: Change something. There is nothing worse than two lost targets back-to-back doing the exact same thing. If you do not know what to change then make certain you are seeing the target well. Proper focus on the bird fixes a lot of error without your having to know what you were doing wrong. Choice two: Stop worrying about what you might have done wrong and center your thoughts on the best way to hit it. Get your mind on solutions and away from the fact that you were not successful on the previous attempt. Now the recommendation: Learn from your mistakes but do not reinforce them by beating yourself up for having made them. I have never had a client tell me that beating themselves up did anything to aid them in hitting targets in the future. There is reward in self-analysis but not in self-annihilation.

I also suggest that you get into the habit of reinforcing the shots you have just attempted. That is part two of the reinforcement phase. To reinforce properly you must rehearse the shots with correction. If the pair was GREAT we duplicate the action, no correction is required. If however, a shot was just good or NEEDS WORK then we should attempt to rehearse what would make the shot GREAT. We become solution oriented and the self image gets a positive imprint on all actions immediately after the evaluation. No negative reinforcement or beating yourself up is possible if you are doing this correctly.

Finally, I suggest that you let it go. This is part three of the reinforcement phase. It is time to bring closure to the station and move on to the next one. If you do not let this station go you may have a difficult time with the anticipation phase of the next station. If you are still thinking about your poor previous performance, you may find yourself over-trying on your next attempt. This error is compounded over time if it is repeated and you may evolve from a bump in the road to a full-blown train-wreck kind of day.

So, evaluation is a critical and important part of shooting well. Make certain that you are controlling this part of your mental game and not becoming paralyzed by it.

Interested in learning more about how Mental Management can help with your mental preparation for Sporting Clays or any other sport? Call 800-879-5079 or 972-899-9640 or visit us online at

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lanny Bassham Resolves to Lose 50 pounds this year!

Have you ever thought about making a resolution around this time of year? This is a great time to set goals and make changes in your life. Well, I thought I would let you in on one of my resolutions and show you how Mental Management can help you to reach yours. I am 62 years young but I am severely overweight and I am ready to do something about it. I have visited my doctor, had a battery of exams and he is monitoring my weight loss plan. I have had an evaluation with a personal trainer and he has informed me that I need to gain strength and he has put me on a program to do just that. So, I plan to use some Mental Management techniques to aid me in the process of losing over 50 pounds during the next 12 months and I thought I would keep you informed in the meantime on my progress.

Losing weight for someone my age might be one of the most difficult things a person can do, I have tried to drop pounds before with little success but I am determined to succeed this time by going all out in the process. I will use 3 proven techniques that we teach to achieve my goal. 1 - Mental Management Goal Getting, 2 - Directive Affirmations and 3 - Accountability to others.

I have set a goal to weigh 169 pounds or less by the end of 2009. At the beginning of my goal I weigh 219. I plan to lose at least 1 pound a week for 50 weeks. I have determined that I can lose at least one to 1.5 pounds a week if I can keep my caloric intake under 1700 calories a day and exercise as planned. Please do not attempt this without supervision by professionals. I am also taking Nutrilite XX vitamins and drinking 8 full glasses of water each day. I have found a website on the Internet that will allow me to document all of the daily intake of food and exercise. I have chosen Lance Armstrong's site at Check it out. It is free and full of helpful information. There is even a free application for your IPhone if you have one.

I have written a Directive Affirmation and I have posted it in 5 key points around my home. One copy is on my refrigerator door, one is on the pantry door, on is on my computer monitor, one is on my bathroom mirror and one is on the chest of drawers in my closet. I will imprint this directive affirmation at lest 10 times per day over the next 21 days.

Here is my Directive Affirmation:

I am on my way to becoming physically fit. I feel great, look great and I have extended my life. I record what I eat and what I exercise on my website at daily and I keep my net calorie intake below 1700 calories a day. I exercise on my elliptical keeping my heart rate over 130 beats per minute for at least 15 minutes and do my isometrics daily. I am on my way to becoming physically fit.

I will upgrade these exercises as my trainer and doctor recommends. At this rate I should reach my goal on time. I plan to keep you updated on my progress of losing 50 pounds of excess, unwanted, unhealthy, useless, energy-burning, ugly, FAT!!!!! I hope you will keep me in your prayers, hold me accountable and encourage me. If you are overweight perhaps you would care to join me on my journey. I promise to encourage you if you will send me an email describing your goal to lose weight. I know we can do this together with Gods help. God bless us one and all. --Lanny Bassham

Check out Lanny's New Blog on His Journey -

You can learn more about how to keep Directive Affirmations and the Mental Management Goal Getting System in the Mental Management Seminar on DVD and Lanny's Book "With Winning in Mind"

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mental Management Students Head to Miss America!

January 24th on TLC the New Miss America will be crowned. Will she be a Mental Management Student?? Tune in to find out.

You can also watch our pageant clients this month on a new reality series called Countdown to the Crown where all 52 contestants are shown in a variety of competitions and the viewers (YOU) get a chance to vote for 4 places in the top 15. 4 girls will have a chance at the crown based on YOUR VOTES - show airs on Friday nights on TLC (9pm Central). Check out the show and vote for your favorite. Miss Texas & Miss Iowa are students of Mental Management and Miss Pennsylvania is a customer of ours as well.

For those of you who may not know Miss America is a full time job. The winner travels the country promoting her platform and speaking to a wide variety of audiences. She is a spokes person for our country and is much more than just a pretty face. Being involved with pageantry over the past several years we have learned that pageantry is a tough sport and we encourage you to tune in if you have a chance to see how our students handle the pressure of competition!

Miss Texas Rebecca Robinson has attended a full day training course with Lanny Bassham as well as several two hour session with Heather Sumlin leading up to Miss America. Living local she has been able to do on going training on a regular basis and is excited about heading to Vegas next week!

"Eight years ago when I won Miss Teen Texas, I learned the importance of being mentally prepared. In the pageant world, one's mental focus affects every category of competition, not to mention the impression that is left on others. I truly believe that had I not gone into the pageant fully mentally ready, I would not have won.

Mental well-being and preparedness can also be applied to life. How does one react in the workplace? At home? In tackling new tasks?

When I began working with Mental Management as Miss Texas I finally found an actual system to help develop this mental capacity. Not only does it help organize focus into a mental structure, but also frees one's mind from the extra weight and mis-management presented by everyday life. Mental Management is crucial to anyone competing in the game of life and can only increase one's chances for personal success."
Rebecca Robinson, Miss Texas 2008

Miss Iowa, Olivia Myers has taken several hours of phone training with Heather Sumlin and has several products including the Performance Analysis Journal which she keeps to help her stay on track.

"Mental Management helped me achieve a level of concentration and confidence that is necessary for anyone seeking the job of Miss America. I received mental strategies and training techniques that I could easily transfer into daily life. Now when the competition begins, nothing will distract me from the task at hand. Thanks, Heather!" Olivia Myers, Miss Iowa 2008