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I came into the matches feeling pretty rusty, but with a mindset that I was just going to do my best and have fun.
Oddly enough, I tend to perform well in matches that I have low expectations for.
Music has always served as a constructive release from the pressures of school for me.
I didn’t put any pressure on myself this year to shoot a particular score in any of the matches, and I think this allowed me to relax and focus on what I needed to do.
I concentrated on my fundamentals of breathing and trigger control, and didn’t let myself get distracted by thinking about what my scores were in between stages of the matches.
I first came to the National Matches when I was in the 9th grade, entering my first match with a beat up old M1 carbine that my grandfather loaned me and earning a gold medal right out of the chute.
This experience got me hooked on competitive rifle shooting, and the National Matches have been a yearly occurrence for the Stout family ever since.
My father is a lieutenant with the West Bloomfield police department.