narwhal

How to deal with a really bad match result?

25 posts in this topic

I was wondering how people deal with a really poor match result?  Do you take the parts of the match you did poorly on and implement those into practice more to improve?  Do you shrug it off as a bad day and not change too much?  Do you look at your equipment and consider changing it?  Does it tend to de-motivate you and make you wonder if you're just wasting time doing something you don't have any natural talent for, or does it energize you to improve?

 

I shot a club I've never shot at while out of town on business, and got absolutely smeared, finished 24/36 overall when I'm used to finishing in the top 10% of a similar sized field back home.  Yes, it's a better/more competitive club.  Had an equipment problem (a magazine fell out of it's pouch while I was sprinting between positions, costing 20+ seconds), and there were tons of really tight shots on swingers/pop-ups usually with non threats around them plus a lot of partial targets 50% covered by non threats, and I ended up pegging 3 NT's, whereas most of the field was able to avoid doing so.  Also I had not been able to dry or live fire for 2 weeks directly prior due to flying for business, so I was a bit cold.  Anyway, still a beginner, only shot a few dozen matches but this one was probably my worst result.  

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I've just spent the year after a 5 year lay-off trying to improve from bad results compared to my former shooting. I second guessed everything I did and my equipment as well.  I did get my equipment to run 100% and that is a big improvement.  I worked mostly on shooting groups and got my confidence back.  I had to rethink my form and learn to shoot what's comfortable for me, not just what the top pros are doing although I pay attention to them. 

If you've only shot a few dozen matches you have along way to go.  Practice group shooting and then practice your target acquisitions.  Move quick from target array to target array.  Shoot for the A-zone but remember you want to shoot fast A-s  Misses will kill you.

Don't get down on yourself, you will improve.

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I was in the same boat this weekend. I shot a horrible match, and I don't blame the difficult targets, just myself as I wasn't in the game due to issues at home. I am NOT going to let this get me down, as a matter of fact, I am using this as a wake up call to get more focused. Bottom line is that we ALL have had bad matches, even the pros! Do not get discouraged, use the experience as a wake up, and kick @ss at the next match!

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If you're new and finishing well, that makes your home club's stages & competitors seem like a much lower bar than the national average. Factor that in as well...

But, it's a gift. Finish in the top 10% deludes you into overconfidence and thinking you're better than you are.

Losing is what real motivates you to improve.

Identify the weaknesses. Strong & weak hand, tight partial shots on swingers, etc. and work on them until they become strengths that let you pull away from the other shooters.

And fix your equipment.

Suggestion: volunteer to help set up at your local match. Then you can set up the things you never see: I'm that surprised YOU were surprised to see lots of tight partial targets and hard swingers. Do something to get those added to a few arrays at your local matches. Aiming is a good skill.

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Every club has a "flavor" or stages. Some have a broader assortment than others, but still...

Learn from the things you've already identified as being issues, and most importantly, identify why you think those issues arose. Did the "new" club have you moving in ways that were foreign to you? Did they have you in less stable shooting positions? More movement than you are accustomed to? Different types of target arrays?

Look at all of it. Then, take all of that new insight to your next match and leave the bad one behind you.

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On 1/22/2017 at 9:46 AM, wgj3 said:

...Then, take all of that new insight to your next live/dry fire practice session and work on those things.

Fixed. ;) 

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I recommend making a thread about it. Dwelling on it for as long as possible and thinking about it right before you shoot every upcoming stage for the next year or more will help as well. Think about what you did poorly and hope it will get better at the next match even if you didn't work on it since the last event. 

If you have another bad match make sure to come back to this thread to further beat yourself up over it.

 

Or, do the opposite of all that.

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If I have a bad match, I try to figure out what went wrong. I never just chalk it up to a bad day. Some random things I've learned. Get enough sleep the night before. Eat a big meal the night before. Show up much earlier than you think you need to. Clean my gun more than I think I should. Spend time in dry fire the morning of and at the range to get warmed up. Don't eat eggs for breakfast before a big match (yup, it's what you think).

One of the biggest things I'll look at is my tempo. In my crap match, was I shooting too fast or too slow for what the stage gave me? Usually it's too fast. Was I thinking ahead? Did my stage plan just not work out and is there anything I could have done to help that. Had I never seen a type of target or never trained on one? All of those things contribute to a "bad match." You just have to identify them is all.

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Back when I was going through Pilot Training (USAF), I had a particularly bad flight early in the second phase, after a series of pure mediocrity.  It felt like the world was kind of closing in on me and it allowed doubt to creep in.  One of the older reservists "Roscoe" was an old F-15 pilot from the LA militia, and he said (insert bayou accent) "man, why you got tears in your beer?"  I told him I had a terrible mission, and I was worried I didn't belong in fighters, regardless of how badly I wanted it.  He gave me the best advice I've ever received, and it resulted in an immediate turnaround.  I ended up finishing second overall.

Roscoe's advice:  "In the fast jet business, you only got enough time to say oops."  Translation:  ruminating over mistakes serves no practical purpose other than giving birth to new mistakes.  He followed up after I gave him the RCA dog look:  "son... you have to emotionally disassociate yourself from your work."  "If you dwell on your errors or respond emotionally to mistake, you done made more mistakes!" 

When I learned to unhitch my emotions from my performance, say oops airborne, and learn objectively in the thorough debrief (rank comes off in the debrief, thick skin required), I executed at a level orders of magnitude better.  Not perfect, but certainly way, way better.  During a match, if I have a bad stage, tag a no-shoot, miss a reload, etc, I do my best to simply say "oops" and continue to execute. 

After the match, I'll think about the errors, and/or study the video (if taken) and see what I need to work on in dry fire & practice.  I never ever, ever allow myself to "feel" bad about anything regarding my hobby/sport.  I will not allow myself to ruin my favorite hobby.  As I'm sure you've heard, the match is solely validation of what you've practiced/dry fired, and you should merely observe yourself execute what you've trained yourself to do, coupled to the visualization you conducted in the walk-through.  Afterwards, use those lessons learned to alter your training/dry fire regimen, if necessary.  They are never something to "feel" bad about.  Shrug, say "oops" and get back to work!

Best of luck!

FATSO

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Any match performance analysis can be covered by the question, "what did I learn"?   Praising or denigrating my own performance is not relevant.   But, I still catch myself doing it.

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It's like getting caught up in a story about something you did one time that might forever be identified with.  Like a nickname you earned and either detest, or carry as a badge of honor.  (not implying that anyone here ever did that)  But, that can actually limit how your brain processes new information.   So, "dwelling" on past match experiences is a definite detriment in my opinion.  De-bugging them and applying the lessons is the fun thing.

 

 

  Unless, you just want to turn the badger loose and see if you can pull-off a flying multi-round jump-shot flurry to finish the stage like that one at the 2013 Jamaican Invitational.

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Some of my thoughts and a coupe quotes from others..

Quote: : 1 :never.... never disrespect a target .. 2: shoot in the present and  what you are seeing ,when you see it, except non threats. Non threats should never be brought into the sight picture.3: when it happens at a match, you cannot reshoot that stage, so look at it before you leave the bay, make a quick mental note and forget it..Move on and win the next stage..

After the match, I have had sometime to think about what happened driving home and then work on that issue with in the next 48 hours, then will just erase it..

 

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15 hours ago, Sam said:

Any match performance analysis can be covered by the question, "what did I learn"?   Praising or denigrating my own performance is not relevant.   But, I still catch myself doing it.

 

This is good. I'm stealing it. Thanks.

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1) Write down a list of things you found difficult with respect to that particular match and include it in practice.  This is the learning step.

2) Let the match go.  This is the mental step.

3) Practice.  This is the physical step.

 

The only match that matters is the current one and the only stage that matters is the one you are shooting right now.  

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I think you answered your own question in your post, you found out that you need to practice accuracy. If you are going to compete at the highest level, you need to be able to dial up your accuracy on demand. I would look at this as a learning experience and work accuracy drills like the dot drill. 

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Why do you shoot?

 

I try to deal with disappointment from a sub par match by remembering that my primary goal is to have fun, and adjusting as needed to accomplish that goal. 

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Its hard for me to do but taking a minute to let your head clear and refocus helps.  Shooting a new venue can be intimidating.  I can always tell by how jittery I get while cleaning/loading mags after I shoot my first stage.  I try to remember that that feeling is why I love to shoot matches and try to use it maintain focus.  If that feeling ever goes away I'll find a new hobby.

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I never lose at a match. I either win...or I learn how to win.

Take a bad match as a learning experience. Focus on what you did well, and take inventory on the things that need more work. Then get to work!

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5 minutes ago, BillR1 said:

I never lose at a match. I either win...or I learn how to win.

 

 

WOW !!!   Great idea and attitude :) 

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2 minutes ago, Hi-Power Jack said:

 

WOW !!!   Great idea and attitude :) 

 

Doesn't count though, he shoots IDPA. 

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Never give up during the match.  I've let myself get flustered and focused on a mistake during a match and beat myself up over it.  It ruined a day that I paid for with the goal of having fun and spending time with my friends.  I got so serious my second season in IDPA that I stopped shooting majors with people I knew because I didn't want to get distracted.  When things went bad, then all I had was a frustrating day shooting with folks I didn't know or care about.  After that season, I decided that I was not making a dime shooting IDPA or USPSA and that if I didn't place well, that at least I had my friends there to lean on (or make fun of me).

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I'm a newbie and had real trouble with feeling bad about sucking, an older shooter advised me not to have a bunch of expectations and just shoot, just hold yourself accountable for what you can do. He told me Babe Ruth struck out a lot more than he hit.

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Each match, or even practice session for that matter is a learning experience.  Take it in stride and learn from your mistakes as you go.

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Posted (edited)

On ‎2‎/‎17‎/‎2017 at 10:31 PM, IHAVEGAS said:

Why do you shoot?

 

I try to deal with disappointment from a sub par match by remembering that my primary goal is to have fun, and adjusting as needed to accomplish that goal. 

 

I was poking around after a somewhat disappointing first match trying to see what others do for a mental game here and found this thread.  Oddly, theres a zen koan that hangs over my desk at work that illustrates what you posted perfectly.  I  thought I'd google and paste it below:

 

A Zen Teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they had dismounted, the teacher asked the students,

“Why are you riding your bicycles?”

The first student replied, “The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!”

The teacher praised the student, saying, “You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do.”

The second student replied, “I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path.”

The teacher commended the student, “Your eyes are open and you see the world.”

The third student replied, “When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo.”

The teacher gave praise to the third student, “Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel.”

The fourth student answered, “Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings.”

The teacher was pleased and said, “You are riding on the golden path of non-harming.”

The fifth student replied, “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.”

The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student, and said, “I am your disciple.”

 

Funny, I went to the internet for insight all I really had to do was reread an old framed quote hanging over my computer... x,X

 

Edited by JeremiahD

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I'm competitive, but mostly with myself. I know that I'm holding me back when I screw up. 

 

I take video of everything. It's important for review. 

 

After a bad match I go through the results and see how I did overall on each stage and identify the ones that I did not perform well on, then I figure out what steps I could go through to do better in the same situation next time, or what I would do differently if I could do that stage all over again. I don't dwell on the bad performance, but I am hard on and critical of myself. I'll try to see where I could have placed if I had done things better or differently. But you can't stop at "well I would have won had I done XYZ." you have to say, "next time I am faced with this problem, it won't be an obstacle where I face my past failure and regret it, I'll be happy to have failed so that I learned to not do it again."

 

It's important to learn to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses to know how risky you can get with your stage plans, and where you should be practicing. You should pick your strengths during a match and use those on your stage plan. Then go home and practice on the weaknesses. 

 

Get your equipment in order first, there's no reason to have that in the back of your mind. And so what if a magazine explodes or something crappy happens to you once in 10k rounds and it happens to be during a match.

 

There's nothing you can do about it once it has happened. Don't let it be the anchor that you drag through every stage the rest of the day.

 

Lastly, what itch are you scratching by shooting? Is it the competition? camaraderie? Do you want to win, or are you just seeking to get better for yourself? Is it your passion or your business? Are you having fun of not?

 

The answers to those questions are for you and you alone, but they are what you should keep in mind on a bad day.

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