DESIRE, DISCIPLINE AND DEDICATION
Many, many attributes contribute to the success of an athlete. But for my money, the three most important are desire, dedication and discipline. And these characteristics are not exclusive to shooting, in fact they are universal. Not just for athletics, but life in general. They are well known to elite shooters, as they are guiding principles to their success. Each of these three elements work together, combined with physical talent, to create a shooter and their particular level of success. So without any further adieu, here are the three D's of Shooting!
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, desire is the action of longing, or hoping for something. Translated to shooting, this would be the longing to accomplish a particular shooting goal, or be successful in the sport. Without the desire to be successful at shooting, and much less anything else, it is a pretty sure bet that the final results will be rather suspect. Effort is usually required for success, and "no desire" usually translates to "no effort." And this desire must come from within the athlete, not from outside sources, such as parents, teachers and coaches. Getting pushed, or forced to do something that you don't really have your heart into, is not a recipe for success.
Again, according to Merriam-Webster, discipline is defined as "control gained by enforcing obedience or order, " or "(an) orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior." This is not like the discipline that comes from parents after missing curfew, but self-discipline; behavior that helps an athlete accomplish particular goals. Don't let the term discipline scare you, because the knee-jerk reaction is that discipline is a pain - "I can't use the phone for a week," or "I'm grounded for life." But if you think about the actual definition, it helps to explain it. In fact, the definition of self-discipline is even better - "(the) correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement." If a shooter can gain control over their physical and mental behaviors, and create a constructive pattern of behavior, good things are sure to happen.
Back to our old friend Merriam-Webster, dedication is described as "devoting or setting aside for a particular purpose." Sound like a concept that might lead to success? How dedicated are you, as an athlete and a shooter, to being successful and accomplishing goals? Dedication is a determining factor in how far, and how fast you will go in the sport of shooting. If your goal is to be a national champion, then your dedication to that goal will help determine if you reach the top of the podium.
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