September 6th, 2019

Mental Game — Thinking Your Way to Success

praslick emil usamu mental training game marksmanship

SFC Emil Praslick III is now retired from the U.S. Army, but he left a great legacy as one of the USAMU’s greatest coaches and team leaders. A highly-respected wind expert, Praslick also was known for his ability to help his shooters master the “mental game”, which is so important at the highest levels of competition. Here is an article from the CMP Archives in which Praslick explains how to focus your mind to achieve greater success.

Thinking Your Way to Success by SFC Emil Praslick III (Ret.)
Why does it seem that the same small group of shooters wins the majority of the matches? Within the Army Marksmanship Unit’s Service Rifle Team, the same effect applies. On a team filled with uncommonly talented shooters, the same two or three are consistently at the top of the final results bulletin. What is the difference among shooters who are technically equal? Confidence. A confident shooter is free to execute his shots without the fear of failure, i.e. shooting a poor shot.

Negative thoughts (can’t, won’t be able to, etc.) will destroy a skilled performance. The mind’s focus will not be on executing the task, but on projecting fear and self-doubt. Fear is the enemy, confidence is the cure.

Emil Praslick III

How does a shooter on the eve of an important match (the President’s or NTI, for example) attain the confidence needed to perform up to his potential? A pre-competition mental plan can assist in acquiring that positive mental state. The plan can be broken down into a few phases.

Build a feeling of preparedness. Developing and executing a plan to organize your equipment and pre-match routine will aid you in feeling prepared on match day.

Avoid negative and stressful thoughts. Focusing on “winning” the match or shooting for a specific score (like making the “cut” or making the President’s 100) can cause undue stress. Good shooters focus on aspects that are within their control: their sight picture, their sight alignment, their position. Each shot should be treated as an individual event.

Train stage-specific tasks during your practice sessions. Instead of shooting matches or practice matches only, include some drills that focus on your problem areas. Training in this manner will assist your level of confidence.

As part of your pre-match routine, imagine yourself shooting perfect shots. Visualize getting into the perfect position, acquiring a perfect sight picture, and perfect trigger control.

Emil Praslick mental game advice

Let a feeling of calm and well-being wash over you. Spend a few minutes alone thinking positive thoughts. Many shooters use their favorite music to help build the mood.

Once you develop your pre-competition mental plan, stick with it. Through your training you will develop the physical skills to shoot higher scores. The confidence you will need to apply them in match conditions will grow as you develop into a complete shooter; both physically and mentally.

Click HERE for More USAMU Shooting Tips

The USAMU’s article archives are a great resource for competitive shooters. Click HERE for more excellent instructional articles by Emil Praslick and other USAMU Coaches and shooters. You’ll find articles on Wind-Reading, Fitness, Equipment, Shooting Positions, Shooting Techniques, Match Strategies and much more.

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August 15th, 2012

Team USA Wins America Match with Great Britain Second

SGT Emil Praslick of the USAMU just provided this report from Camp Perry: “The America International Rifle Match is complete. In the end, after shooting virtually level with the powerhouse that is the Great Britain Rifle Team, we held off a late charge by GB at the 1000-yard line to win by 3 points. Both sides fired four hundred and eighty bullets each… and it came down to three points on a ten-point target. Unbelievable.” The final scores (4800-480X possible) are: USA 4784-308X; GBRT 4781-305X; Canada 4743-260X; Australia 4729-233X; Japan 4377-109X.

Great Britain America Match

Praslick commented: “I continue to be impressed not only by the quality of GB shooting and coaching, but by their sportsmanship as well. We could all learn some lessons from their team. You cannot possibly find better sportsmen — within seconds of the final shot they were over here shaking hands. They are the best sportsmen I have ever seen.”

Shot over the course of a day, eight-man teams from each country took faced off at Camp Perry’s Viale Range, with stages at 300, 800, 900 and 1000 yards. Though the Americans leaped ahead in round three, Team Great Britain’s hot shooting in the fourth and final relay was almost enough to make the difference. “If we every have another one like this it’ll be enough to kill me,” joked one U.S. coach.

Great Britain America Match

Established in 2002, the America Match is open any country with an eight-man rifle team. This is a biennial match for .308 Win caliber Palma-type match rifles. The teams gather every two years to test their mettle in one of the toughest shooting competitions in the world. Held every four years in the United States, this is the first time it the match was conducted at Camp Perry. The NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM, previously served as the USA host venue. With its 2012 victory, Team USA is now tied with Team Great Britain with three America Match wins each.

America Match Scores Bryan Litz

Story based in part on Report by Lars Dalseide in NRABlog.

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August 11th, 2010

USAMU Shooters Dominate National Trophy Rifle Matches

USAMU NTT matches 2010Report by Sommer Wood, CMP Online Magazine
The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) rolled through the 2010 National Trophy Rifle Matches with almost complete dominance. Shooters from the USAMU finished first in the National Trophy Individual Match (NTI), the Hearst Doubles, and, for the fourth year in a row, the National Trophy Team Match (NTT). The USAMU Team also reclaimed the top spot in the National Trophy Infantry Team Match (NTIT or “rattle battle”) after a shocking fourth place finish last year behind three civilian teams, including the historic win by the California Grizzlies O’Connell Juniors.

USAMU NTT matches 2010The 2010 NTT was closely contested going in the last stage, with only a couple of points separating the top five teams, but at the 600-yard-line the USAMU finally pulled ahead to finish with a 2920-100X. The winning NTT team was comprised of Team Captain SSG Walter Craig, Team Coach SFC Emil Praslick III and firing members SSG Brandon Green, SGT Sherri Gallagher, SPC Augustus Dunfey, SFC Grant Singley, SFC Lance Dement and SGT Tryel Cooper. The USAMU Praslick Team edged out the California Rifle and Pistol Association-Coalinga civilian team, which finished with a 2910-84X.

What was the driving force behind the USAMU Praslick Team’s dominance this year? USAMU shooters SFC Lance Dement, SGT Brandon Green and SPC Tyrel Cooper all said that outstanding coaching was key to victory. This was particularly evident at the 600-yard-line where the Team pulled ahead of the pack during the 2010 National Matches.

USAMU Sgt Tyrel CooperSGT Tyrel Cooper Wins
National Trophy Individual Title

After finishing a close second in 2009 National Trophy Individual Match, SGT Tyrel Cooper of the USAMU emerged victorious this year with a tough-fought, X-count win over his USAMU team-mate SFC Lance Dement. SGT Cooper finished the day with an impressive 495-23X, three Xs better than SFC Dement, who shot a 495-20X to claim second.

Entering the final stage of this year’s NTI, SGT Cooper tried not to focus on score and instead talked about wind strategy for the 600-yard-line with USAMU coach SFC Emil Praslick III: “I have lead in the past and let myself start thinking too much about scores…. I switched my focus to the strategy I wanted to use for the wind and followed my plan.” The plan worked and SGT Cooper shot a 197-9X at the 600-yard-line to secure first place.

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August 5th, 2010

USAMU and SSG Green Dominate 2010 Interservice Match

U.S. Army Marksmanship UnitThe U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Service Rifle team dominated the 49th Interservice Rifle Championships. USAMU shooters won the coveted 10-man Interservice Rifle team championship and swept every major award at the Interservice tournament, held last week at Quantico, Virginia. USAMU teams also won the the 1,000-yard team match in both the service rifle and match rifle categories, setting a new match record in the service rifle category. With its performance at Quantico, the USAMU completed a sweep of all interservice marksmanship championships in 2010 — soldiers and teams from the USAMU previously won the shotgun and pistol interservice competitions, as a team and individually.

Sgt. Brandon Green USAMu

Individually, Staff Sgt. Brandon Green was the big winner during the week. He won six championships, including the overall individual championship — his second time winning the prestigious title. He also won the Coast Guard match, the Marine Corps match, the 600-yard match rifle, the 1,000-yard match rifle, and the match rifle individual long-range championship.

Members of the winning 10-man Interservice Rifle team were: Sgt. 1st Class Lance Dement, Sgt. 1st Class Grant Singley, Staff Sgt. Tyrell Cooper, Staff Sgt. Brandon Green, Staff Sgt. Joel Micholick, Staff Sgt. Scott Grant, Sgt. Sherri Jo Gallagher, Spc. Kevin Trickett, Spc. Augustus Dunfey, and Pfc. Amanda Elsenboss. Coaches were Sgt. 1st Class Emil Praslick and Staff Sgt. Walter Craig. Cooper was the high individual shooter during the match with a score of 497-21x.

Interservice Championship USAMu

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June 11th, 2010

Reading the Wind — Tips from USAMU Coach Praslick

We know many of our readers will be headed off to Camp Perry, Ohio for the NRA National Rifle Championships soon. To succeed at Perry, given the high level of competition, you’ll need solid wind-reading abilities. We’ve found an article by Sgt. 1st Class Emil Praslick III, USAMU Service Rifle coach, that can help you make better wind calls in competition.

SFC Praslick is considered one of the best wind gurus in the United States, if not the world. He has authored an excellent two-part article on wind reading that is available on the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) website. Both articles contain helpful illustrations, and are “must-read” resources for any long-range shooter–not just Service Rifle and Highpower competitors.

Click to Read Articles:

Reading the Wind (Part One) | Reading the Wind (Part Two)

Part One covers basic principles, tactics, and strategies, with a focus on the 200-yard stages. Emil writes: “There are as many dimensions to ‘wind reading’ as there are stages to High Power competition. Your tactical mindset, or philosophy, must be different for the 200 and 300 yard rapid-fire stages than it would be for the 600 yard slow-fire. In the slow-fire stages you have the ability to adjust windage from shot to shot, utilizing the location of the previous shot as an indicator. Additionally, a change to the existing conditions can be identified and adjusted for prior to shooting the next shot.”

In Part Two, Praslick provides more detailed explanations of the key principles of wind zeros, wind reading, and the “Clock System” for determining wind values: “The Value of the wind is as important as its speed when deciding the proper windage to place on the rifle. A 10 MPH wind from ’12 o-clock’ has No Value, hence it will not effect the flight of the bullet. A 10 MPH wind from ‘3 o’clock’, however, would be classified as Full Value. Failure to correct for a Full Value wind will surely result in a less than desirable result.”

USAMU Praslick wind clock

Praslick also explains how to identify and evaluate mirage:

Determine the accuracy of the mirage. Mirage is the reflection of light through layers of air that have different temperatures than the ground. These layers are blown by the wind and can be monitored to detect wind direction and speed.

Focus your scope midway between yourself and the target, this will make mirage appear more prominent. I must emphasize the importance of experience when using mirage as a wind-reading tool. The best way to become proficient in the use of mirage is to correlate its appearance to a known condition. Using this as a baseline, changes in mirage can be equated to changes in the value of the wind. Above all, you must practice this skill!

Click HERE for more excellent instructional articles by Emil Praslick and other USAMU Coaches and shooters.

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