When I was a kid, I loved to play this video game where you could either shoot ducks or play pigeons. The game came with a brightly colored toy light gun that would detect when a bright spot was shown on the television. I was pretty good at the game and thought it would be neat to do it in real life. I found a place that gives shooting instruction to anyone who comes and signed up to learn how to shoot a real rifle. I figured that my skills in the video game would transfer over to the real deal, but I was wrong.
The first time I shot at one of the clay pigeons, my aim was completely off. I couldn’t hit anything, and all I could hear in my head was the game over music that plays when you miss too many shots in the video game. It was a pretty embarrassing first attempt, and even though my instructor told me that it was perfectly normal to not hit anything on my first try, I was still disappointed with myself. The game was no help at all, and it probably even hurt me by making me think I was better than I actually was.
The only way to get better at anything is through practice and experience. I went back to the shooting location each day to practice with the instructor. He taught me how to aim with the sights, adjust my aim based on the environment, and how to deal with the recoil that comes with each shot. I felt less like I was playing a video game and more like I was an actual marksman. My accuracy improved and so did my speed. I finally reached a point where I could hit every target without fail, but now when I play the video game, I can’t hit anything.