The following information comes from The Elusive Ten by William Reichenbach. The Elusive Ten is also available to purchase in print.
You have one of the most deadly and manly weapons in your hand that science has developed; yet the handling of it is to be of the most delicate nature imaginable. Brute strength and ferocious desire are only handicaps.
(It has always been a mystery to me how some of the gunmen of the frontier days could have been such marvelous shots, and I think we can safely relegate most of the wonder stories to the ashcan by saying that we are satisfied to become only outstanding target shots.)
Relaxation—Just what I said.
Forget that there may be anything martial about our sport.
Consider the thing in the light of a game of nerve against muscle, intelligence against brawn.
Take the tenseness entirely out of mind and body.
No muscle need be tensed—
(Shooting does not require muscular exertion, and it would be assinine to tense your muscles when there is no call for it)—
You are not boxing or fencing—
You are just relaxing—
Verily a sport for lazybones.
You might also look up Webster again for a definition of “nonchalance.” It will penetrate better that way.
Yes, we need a certain amount of nonchalance.
Do not try too hard. Take it easy. Do not be too much concerned.
While we do not wish to waste a single cartridge, and shall try to get every shot out along proved lines, we shall not act as though our very lives depended upon a perfect target.
True enough, we are serious and pedantic while we are shooting, but we should not conduct ourselves as though we had a large bet on the shot.
Nonchalance and complacence—very good requisites for a shooter.
We are not too extremely serious, but we certainly have quit fooling.
Either we shoot or we don’t.
If you should have among your club members or your shooting friends some one who likes to monkey around, and, through his fooling or kidding, is apt to distract your mind from the concentration, which shooting surely demands, you will have to act.
As the well-known mule-driver said to his balky charge: “I shall either have to steel my nerves sufficiently so as to be able to overlook your antics, Aphrodite, or I shall have to!!”