Whether you are trying to win your class at the US Open, or wanting to enjoy your Saturday off by shooting at the local club with your friends, there are a few very common sense, basic things you can do to make sure you perform your best on the course. While these will come across as ‘no brainer’, you would be amazed at how often shooters ignore these simple guidelines.
First, drink plenty of water. Start early...heck, start the day before! Your cognitive brain function, and your ability to visually focus depend HEAVILY on being well hydrated. Your eyeballs are small bags of water, and the pressure created by the amount of water, effect the shape of your eye, thus setting the distance between the lenses and retina. Get dehydrated, and it can change that distance. When that distance changes, you can't visually focus like you should. If you aren’t peeing occasionally during the round of clays, you aren’t getting enough water. You should have water with you at all times, and you should be sipping along before and during the whole round.
Second, have food in your stomach, with more in your range bag to nibble on during the round. I don’t want to have a heavy meal right before shooting, but I certainly want to have food in my system, and trail mix, nuts, fruit, bars, etc to keep satiated with during the round. Know your system…..while I love fried/greasy chicken, I don’t want something like that in my system when I’m on the course. I love grapes in the cooler, and pistachios in the cup holder of the cart!
Third, get plenty of sleep. At least as much, if not a little more, than you get normally at home. If you are a person that normally likes 8 hours of sleep a night, get at LEAST that much the night before you shoot. That being said, if you have to shoot early in the morning, allow yourself plenty of time to get awake before you shoot. My general rule of thumb is to have my feet on the floor a minimum of 3 hours before I compete. And if you were any type of corrective lenses....contacts or glasses....get them on as soon as possible so your eyes can adjust.
If keep these 3 guidelines in mind, you will be helping your performance quite a bit when it comes time to head out on the course.