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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: How do you hold it so still?

#If you're a heavy caffine drinker or chocolater eater, you may have a
#vitamin B deficiency - which will cause you to shake a little more than
#normal.  Brewer's Yeast flakes are the best way to boost your vitamin B

#I have also noted that I am a lot steadier after 3-4 days of no caffine and
#4 - 6 cups of chamomile herb tea daily. (The tea is a nervine and can really
#make a difference in how much you shake.)

The response to food is highly specific to the individual.  Dating back
to my days of motorcycle racing, I know that the best competition day
meal for me is one heavy in starch and caffine.  It may sound crazy
but then most sedatives perk me right up.  Go figure.

My father was a championship military shooter in the 40s and has
taught me some of his techniques.  The first is that you have to
teach yourself to will your muscles still.  Even though he's 71
he can still hold his arm out in a shooting posture and will it
steady!  I'm working on that myself :-) Getting pretty good,
actually.  I suspect that some kind of electronic  feedback
would be useful for practice.  I've found that a bit of  quiet
concentration (I hesitate to use the term "meditation" because
of all the kook baggage it carries) immediately before the match
helps immensely.  I sit either on the shooting bench or in my
car with  my hearing protectors on and my eyes shut and
concentrate on the muscles  in my arm.  I also spend time
visualizing the perfect sight picture.  If I can go immediately
to the line to fire afterwards I notice much better performance.
I also discourage no-shooting-related chatter around my position
during the match.  Tell me where the shot hit but don't chat
about the weather!

Another trick my father used which also works for me but which should be
approached cautiously is the use of large doses of aspirin to slow
the heartrate.  12-15 tablets (coincidentaly the dose my much smaller
wife takes for her rheumatism) a half hour before the match works for
me.  Of course, I'm 6'7" and 300 lbs so such a dose would probably
not be appropriate for the average shooter.  If you decide to try this
technique, consult your doctor to make sure you have no clotting or
stomach problems, get a heart rate monitor and work up slowly.

Another technique I use that was described in "Marine Sniper" is the
practice of getting a sight picture, closing one's eyes for a few seconds,
opening them to see if your sight picture has moved.  If your posture is
correct, it should not move.  I find the 30 seconds between the "load"
and the "fire" command in silhouette competition to be extremely
useful for this practice.

Next is the technique of controlling the motion into a small
circle and snapping the shot when the sights pass the bull.  My father's
and my technique is slightly different in that we use a figure 8.
There are then 2 sight crossings per shake :-)  Actually I found that
as the other mentioned techniques improve my hold, the necessity of
this technique is diminishing.  About the only time I have enough motion
to matter is on the shootoff chickens.

In order of importance, I'd have to rank the mental discipline and the
Marine Sniper technique at the top of my list.

Lastly, consider a trip to the eye doctor.  I'd been fighting
glasses for years and my silhouette score had been hovering
around 36-38.  I knew I needed glasses but was too stuborn to
go.  Well I recently got 'em.   More accurately, I've been
through 3 prescriptions in 6 months. I've only had time to shoot
one match and this was an all-chicken funds raiser match.  With
a new gun, new load, no predetermined sight settings and new
glasses on a  windy day I shot a 31 AND got all the turkey line
chickens - my usual downfall.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: hand shake
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (Dana Rigg) writes:

About eliminating shaking, I use the aspirin trick, which my father,
a shooting champion in the 40s, taught me many years ago.  It works
by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
That does not cure the random shakes but for me, blood pressure
pulsations dominate.

#if it helps.  The gun is only a few months old, and I have not been
#able to shoot anything for over a month because of a silly little
#softball injury that resulted in my doctor drilling a steel pin into
#my finger.  I only have to wait another 5 or 6 weeks!  I try to say
#that cheerfully, but I'm suffering on the inside.  Anybody know
#a cure for shooting withdrawal? :-(

yeah!  Shooting :-)

Hey Dana, looks like the perfect opportunity to work on your weak
hand techniques :-)

73 John

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