Seven Mental Skills of Champion Shooters: The Power of Goals Part 1

Previously I’ve mentioned that there are seven essential mental skills for shooting success, all of which are learnable and teachable :

  • Precision Visualisation Skills
  • Positive Self Motivation
  • Powerful Goal Achievement Strategies
  • Emotional State Mastery
  • Positive Mental Attitude
  • Strong Concentration & Focusing Abilities
  • Positive Self Image & Unshakeable Self Confidence

All these skills of the SPORTS MIND can be learned and improved with some simple mental training techniques.

I have spoken of Visualisation, noting that it is the most important mental skill for shooters, and that to direct your shooting performance effectively you want to use clear visual images with feeling, not words, and that visualisation works because it has a measurable, physiological effect on our body. I also noted the importance of getting into the right mental state to visualise, outlined six specific visualisation applications for shooters, and gave some simple tips for getting the best out of your visualisation sessions.

I also introduced the important topic of motivation and said that motivation is an energy – an energy which is influenced by how you communicate with yourself. I noted that there are basically two simple motivation strategies : positive motivation and negative motivation. Negative motivation moves you away something you don’t want to happen, while positive motivation moves you towards something you do want to happen.

With the beginning of a new season our thoughts turn to what we want to achieve – what goals we want to set for upcoming competitions, and for next year.

Goals are important because they provide direction, motivation and focus. Goals are especially important in shooting – those who have clear goals, and an action plan to achieve them are more successful in the long run

There are two types of goals that you want to be aware of : outcome goals, and process goals.

Outcome goals are the end result: winning a competition; being selected for the state squad; achieving a ranking in the top 100; etc.

Process goals are the specific steps, actions, behaviours, technical skills, moods, and mental processes required to achieve the desired outcome, for example maintaining a consistently correct posture; following a specific mental and physical routine before each shot; staying calm and focused if a distraction occurs; and so on.

In recent years, some people have suggested that it’s wrong to set and think about outcome goals; that we ought focus upon and set just process goals.

However both goals are important to success: without a clearly defined and desired outcome, motivation flags and there can be a loss of direction; without process goals we don’t have a clear plan or means for getting what we want. If you don’t have a specific destination in mind, you might be a good shooter, but you’ll end up going nowhere in particular – and this is what happens to many talented sportspeople, simply because they don’t set long term goals. You want to have a desired outcome and not be afraid of setting it, and going for it. However you also want to have an achievable means by which you’re going to get your outcome – and these are your process goals.

What is important is knowing when to focus on outcome and when to focus on process.

Generally, the time to think about outcome goals is prior to and after a performance; the time to focus on process goals is during a performance. If you think about winning during the shoot, your attention and concentration on the moment by moment performance can suffer as you imagine the future, or regret past mistakes, instead of being in the present.

What would give you a real buzz to achieve for yourself in the next twelve months, and 3 to 5 years? The goals you set want to be big enough to challenge and inspire you, but not too far out of reach to be unrealistic. Remember the quality and scope of the goals you set influences not just your direction, but also your character and personality. Most people set goals that are well below their capabilities, simply because of fear of failing.

Face the fear; be courageous.
Write down now your two most important outcome goals to accomplish for this season and within 3 years, and a long term goal – something you’d like to achieve within 5 – 10 years.

This Season [ Or next six to twelve months ]


Winthin 3 years


My Long Term, or Dream Goal [ Within 5 – 10 years ]

In the next issues, I’ll discuss two essential principles if you are to successfully achieve these goals you’ve just written down!

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed “Sportsmind – An Athlete’s Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training” and “Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings”; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph’s College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email :
website :



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