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Gooldylocks

Not having fun, from being too stressed out?

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So here I am, I have been shooting USPSA for about a year and a half now. I have read a bunch of the slump posts, and the losing the desire to shoot threads, but I wanted to start my own and get a little feedback, and this is just kind of a rant.

After my last match, I was so incredibly frustrated that it had me in a funk the rest of the weekend. I went to my parent's house later that weekend (Sunday) and my mom asked me how the match went, and I told her pretty awful. She asked me why I even keep going, since it seems like every single time I get home from a match I am in kind of a bad mood. I hadn't really thought that I was ever so visibly upset by my match results, let alone often enough that other people would call it "every match." Looking back though, I can see that I haven't been genuinely happy about one of my match results for several months.

Feeling this way all kinda started last fall, when I had a few matches in a row that didn't go according to plan. I had kind of gotten this expectation that I could be winning Limited at my local matches, after a few matches that went well for me. After having a couple matches in a row that were crash and burn type days, and being beaten by shooters that in my mind, I should have been able to beat, really put me into a mental slump over the winter and this spring. I had one of my worst results since my second match ever (December of '13) just last month. This made me very unconfident going into the Oregon State Championships, which were over Memorial day. At that match, I ran straight past two targets, getting the first FTE's I had since one of my first matches, and losing several match places because of it.

In addition to this, I made A early this spring, and since then have felt like I have been shooting more like a C shooter than an A. I know that I am probably overthinking this whole thing, but I don't want to be "that guy" that is an A or an M but gets spanked by the B and C shooters. It is very much an ego driven thing, which I also know is dumb. I am fairly decent at shooting classifiers, because I do a fair amount of dry fire focusing on draws, turns, and reloads. It is the long field courses that always mess me up.

I have read a lot of people say that having expectations is one of the biggest reasons that they have poor match performance. I think that is the root cause of why I have been feeling like this. My goal, that i think is very attainable, is to make M in Limited by November, or by the end of the year at the latest. However, it kinda stresses me out that I am going to keep having poor match performance while having an even "better" letter, so then I will look like even more of a grand-bagger.

So, I apologize for my circular rant that I have taken you all on, but there it is. If you have any advice, let me know, I appreciate it.

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Change divisions or change guns. It can help liven things up for a little bit and take some of the pressure of beating people off of you.

The first few letters come easily and then it gets harder and harder. You need to have fun unless your only goal is to be a national champ.

If you want to be better at field skills, Practice them. This is one of the main reasons I was bummed when I made A class in four months. I could classify well but I shot like a C class shooter or worse on field courses. It's a different skill set.

Comparing yourself to people can bring misery. I know it is part of the sport but here is an example. I shoot with someone regularly and we were always neck and neck. All of a sudden he started really picking up the pace and consistently beating me by 3 percent, then 5, then 10. I was dry firing 5 days a week and shooting twice a week (including matches). Sounds great but he decided to improve and started doing four live fire practices a week and twice daily dry fire.

So in other words, sometimes people get way better and your just getting better slower. Practice is the only thing that will bring you closer.

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Ego, while in moderate doses is a great motivator, can also be the root cause of frustration, and not just in this sport. You've hit on a couple examples of it in your post. Ego says you should be winning, or A class or now that you are A class can't be beat by B or C shooters. (Next by the way is you should be M class. Ego is insatiable.) Having expectations as you pointed out can reduce your performance but more importantly can ruin a day of shooting. Go out to win but if you screw the pooch enjoy the shooting and your friends at the range. My range life improved beyond words when I finally got that.

Edited by Neomet

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mach1soldier, I have recently changed guns actually, partially because I wanted to try to spark a new flame to practice more and inject a little bit more fun back into the game, but it has been only moderately successful. I do however love my new TS :devil:

Neomet, I think I am gonna try to do what you are talking about here next match (this weekend). I am going to go into it with a will to win but if it doesn't work out, then I am gonna just throw in the towel and have fun with it.

One of the things that bothers me is that I know I can pretty reasonably run with the big dogs, IF I can perform. I realized this at the Oregon State Championships, when I was able to get inside the top 5 Limited shooters on a couple of stages, and would have had another 2nd had I not chucked a round into the berm. Knowing that I have the skill to shoot alongside the M's and do well but my failure to execute is what is holding me back is what frustrates me so much.

Thanks for the tips so far guys, keep em coming. I am planning on changing divisions either in October (end of the annual section points race) or at the end of the year, depending on if I make M or not by then. However I can't decide if I should change to Open or Production next, as both could likely improve skills I need to work on to further my shooting with irons. I really need to improve my shot calling (open helps I have heard) and focus on shooting more alphas (minor is punishing for points). Or perhaps I should shoot both for the next year, and just switch off every match, to keep it fresh?

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I need to improve my shot calling and focus on shooting more alphas

What are you planning on doing to accomplish these objectives?

How often do you shoot live fire, and dry fire?

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Life is what you make it. It can be stressful, unfulfilling, and short. It can also be pleasant, rewarding, and last a long time.

After a couple of years trying hard, in the competitive shooting arena, I chose to accept my slow progress and enjoy myself. Funny thing is, I have shot better over the past year than ever before.

I look forward to every match and thoroughly enjoy my hobby . . . come what may.

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Sure sounds like an ego making you push way too hard. If I get to where I am coming home from matches literally pissed off then I'll go back to golf.

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I am fairly decent at shooting classifiers, because I do a fair amount of dry fire focusing on draws, turns, and reloads. It is the long field courses that always mess me up.

It sounds like you need to fix your practice regimen. Your dry fire is focused on a very small part of what happens during a stage.

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What you are experiencing is a fairly common problem .... Basically your training regiment is not focusing on the skills you need to do well at matches. Practicing draws, turns and reloads, as you've discovered, helps with classifiers but will not do much for your match performance. Having a 1 sec draw and reload really won't help you win a field course stage. You must work on target transitions, stage movement, entries and exits, etc, etc. how do you mentality prep for a stage? What about visualization?

You might also consider taking a class from a practical shooting instructor so you can focus on these skills. As a A class shooter you don't need to be spending all your time on fundamental action shooting skills .... You need to work on field course skills ...

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One more observation. Being able to beat a M class shooter when the stars are in alignment and you don't throw an alpha-mike-no shoot doesn't mean that you actually have the skills to of a M class competitor. Part of being a M class competitor is being able to perform at a certain level consistently. What you are viewing as throwing away a stage or match because you made a "stupid" mistake is actually you performing at your current skill levels. I missed more and took longer to shoot a stage when I was D class. I miss less (sometimes) and take less time to soot now that I am in A. I still make more mistakes and shoot slower than people who are better shooters than me. Strive to become better but realize the level of inconsistency you will have at your current skill level.

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What you are experiencing is a fairly common problem .... Basically your training regiment is not focusing on the skills you need to do well at matches. Practicing draws, turns and reloads, as you've discovered, helps with classifiers but will not do much for your match performance. Having a 1 sec draw and reload really won't help you win a field course stage. You must work on target transitions, stage movement, entries and exits, etc, etc. how do you mentality prep for a stage? What about visualization?

You might also consider taking a class from a practical shooting instructor so you can focus on these skills. As a A class shooter you don't need to be spending all your time on fundamental action shooting skills .... You need to work on field course skills ...

I try to run through the stages quickly and get a "good enough" plan and then just focus on ironing it in until it's my turn to shoot. I run through it and visualize every shot and reload several times before I shoot.

What are the some ways to practice field course skills? I find that the place I'm losing stages is in my accuracy more than anything else (entries, exits, etc). When I am faced with a 20 yard hardcover/NS target, I immediately get worried, because I so often will have misses on stuff like that, which can completely toss a stage (and a match).

So I have been trying a lot at live fire recently to focus on just shooting groups, working primarily at 15 yards and out. I should probably start incorporating NS's with them as well.

Thanks, if you have any tips for working on field course stuff I would appreciate it!

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Sounds like you need to recommit to training for field stages or take a break. I've had to convince myself there is nothing wrong with taking a break. When the motivation returns and you feel like training, get back to it. I think trying to force it can do more harm than good.

Either way, good luck!

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I need to improve my shot calling and focus on shooting more alphas

What are you planning on doing to accomplish these objectives?

How often do you shoot live fire, and dry fire?

I have been trying to improve both my accuracy and shot calling by shooting groups during live fire, something that I have severely neglected up until this point in my training.

I want to start dry firing every day again, but recently it has been more like once a week...

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I am fairly decent at shooting classifiers, because I do a fair amount of dry fire focusing on draws, turns, and reloads. It is the long field courses that always mess me up.

It sounds like you need to fix your practice regimen. Your dry fire is focused on a very small part of what happens during a stage.
Do you have any tips to improve field type skills? I currently use the Refinement and Repetition Anderson book, and then occasionally will mix in a bit of leaning around visual barriers or shooting little mock stages in my living room just to keep it interesting.

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One more observation. Being able to beat a M class shooter when the stars are in alignment and you don't throw an alpha-mike-no shoot doesn't mean that you actually have the skills to of a M class competitor. Part of being a M class competitor is being able to perform at a certain level consistently. What you are viewing as throwing away a stage or match because you made a "stupid" mistake is actually you performing at your current skill levels. I missed more and took longer to shoot a stage when I was D class. I miss less (sometimes) and take less time to soot now that I am in A. I still make more mistakes and shoot slower than people who are better shooters than me. Strive to become better but realize the level of inconsistency you will have at your current skill level.

But isn't there also a difference between shooting the same points in the same or faster time, but then getting a penalty that throws you far down the ranks? If I could consistently shoot a clean match then I am certain I could play at that level.

Because I don't disagree that part of being competitive at M is about consistency, I am just struggling to find any consistency at all and it frustrates me.

Last match I shot one of the short hoser courses with the fastest time of anyone there, but bounced a round off the barrel and missed a probably 2 yard target. That's what the kind of stuff im talking about.

So when that kind of thing happens during a stage, how do you shake it off and move on?

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Being able to beat a M shooter when the stars are in alignment doesn't mean that you have the skills of a M class competitor.

What you are viewing as throwing away a stage or match because you made a "stupid" mistake is actually you performing at your current skill levels.

:bow: :bow: WOW!!! I like this explanation, The Best.

Someone here said a few years ago "Amateurs practice until they get it right; Professionals

practice until they can't get it wrong", or something like that.

Neomet is correct - we are NOT as good as our Best Day, but as good as our Worst Day.

But, those best days keep us coming back ... :cheers:

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One more observation. Being able to beat a M class shooter when the stars are in alignment and you don't throw an alpha-mike-no shoot doesn't mean that you actually have the skills to of a M class competitor. Part of being a M class competitor is being able to perform at a certain level consistently. What you are viewing as throwing away a stage or match because you made a "stupid" mistake is actually you performing at your current skill levels. I missed more and took longer to shoot a stage when I was D class. I miss less (sometimes) and take less time to soot now that I am in A. I still make more mistakes and shoot slower than people who are better shooters than me. Strive to become better but realize the level of inconsistency you will have at your current skill level.

But isn't there also a difference between shooting the same points in the same or faster time, but then getting a penalty that throws you far down the ranks? If I could consistently shoot a clean match then I am certain I could play at that level.

Because I don't disagree that part of being competitive at M is about consistency, I am just struggling to find any consistency at all and it frustrates me.

Last match I shot one of the short hoser courses with the fastest time of anyone there, but bounced a round off the barrel and missed a probably 2 yard target. That's what the kind of stuff im talking about.

So when that kind of thing happens during a stage, how do you shake it off and move on?

I just realize it is simply what happens. Rob Leatham once told me when he misses it is almost always on a really close target... In order for me to be pissed at myself I would then have to assume I am better than Rob. As a shock to nobody I'm not, therefore there is no sense in beating myself up. You can mike a target 5 yards or 50 yards away. The distance makes no difference.

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That makes a lot of sense. Thank you. It's just the implementation that is tough.. but we can only ever work on it, it will never be perfect right? Thanks for your wisdom on this. One of the reasons I love this site so much!

I'm heading to the range with my dad in a couple minutes, and I think I'm going to focus on letting the last shot go, and only focusing on the one at hand. And just see what happens.

Edited by Gooldylocks

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What you are experiencing is a fairly common problem .... Basically your training regiment is not focusing on the skills you need to do well at matches. Practicing draws, turns and reloads, as you've discovered, helps with classifiers but will not do much for your match performance. Having a 1 sec draw and reload really won't help you win a field course stage. You must work on target transitions, stage movement, entries and exits, etc, etc. how do you mentality prep for a stage? What about visualization?

You might also consider taking a class from a practical shooting instructor so you can focus on these skills. As a A class shooter you don't need to be spending all your time on fundamental action shooting skills .... You need to work on field course skills ...

I try to run through the stages quickly and get a "good enough" plan and then just focus on ironing it in until it's my turn to shoot. I run through it and visualize every shot and reload several times before I shoot.

What are the some ways to practice field course skills? I find that the place I'm losing stages is in my accuracy more than anything else (entries, exits, etc). When I am faced with a 20 yard hardcover/NS target, I immediately get worried, because I so often will have misses on stuff like that, which can completely toss a stage (and a match).

So I have been trying a lot at live fire recently to focus on just shooting groups, working primarily at 15 yards and out. I should probably start incorporating NS's with them as well.

Thanks, if you have any tips for working on field course stuff I would appreciate it!

practicing group shooting at 15 yds will not make you good at shooting long distance, partial types of tragets on a field courses ... you have to practice those specific types of targets .... take note of anything that "makes you nervous" at a match ... that's exactly the stuff you want to practice. When I first started USPSA I was horrible at steel & used to dread seeing it at a match. Seeklander was the first one to teach me to work on stuff I sucked at. When i shoot steel in training now I start at 20 yds shooting a plate rack ...

trying to outline here the types of field course stuff you should be working on would be really hard. My best advice is to get one Stoeger's books where he breaks down dry fire drills into: marksmenship, core skills (stand & shoot type stuff) & field course skills. That should give you a good sense of what types of drills focus of which specific skills ... the best thing would be to take a class from Ben since his "fundamentals" class is focused on shooting stages and the drills associated with that

Edited by Nimitz

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What you are experiencing is a fairly common problem .... Basically your training regiment is not focusing on the skills you need to do well at matches. Practicing draws, turns and reloads, as you've discovered, helps with classifiers but will not do much for your match performance. Having a 1 sec draw and reload really won't help you win a field course stage. You must work on target transitions, stage movement, entries and exits, etc, etc. how do you mentality prep for a stage? What about visualization?

You might also consider taking a class from a practical shooting instructor so you can focus on these skills. As a A class shooter you don't need to be spending all your time on fundamental action shooting skills .... You need to work on field course skills ...

I try to run through the stages quickly and get a "good enough" plan and then just focus on ironing it in until it's my turn to shoot. I run through it and visualize every shot and reload several times before I shoot.

What are the some ways to practice field course skills? I find that the place I'm losing stages is in my accuracy more than anything else (entries, exits, etc). When I am faced with a 20 yard hardcover/NS target, I immediately get worried, because I so often will have misses on stuff like that, which can completely toss a stage (and a match).

So I have been trying a lot at live fire recently to focus on just shooting groups, working primarily at 15 yards and out. I should probably start incorporating NS's with them as well.

Thanks, if you have any tips for working on field course stuff I would appreciate it!

I’m the last person qualified to chime in. But I feel your pain and want to help.

You’re very efficient in your movements so you’re good there. I could see you’re judging yourself while shooting the stage. Eliminate that and postpone judgment. Those moments are interrupting your follow-through. It’s carrying into your next shot.
The long stages are memory glitches. The living room isn’t big enough at your level. Eliminate that practice and that will eliminate wasted effort.
Are you willing to go to your practice range and set up targets for an hour? That includes setting up as if you're designing the stage yourself. If short on time, don’t even bother bringing your pistol and ammo. It’s the memory drills you have to walk through. How about setting up stages for the next match?
As example, think of immediate reaction drills. You do it over and over so when you go into the scene, you have no thinking involved.
What are you willing to do that your competitor isn’t?
You really are doing better than you’re recalling it. Like RangerTrace said, you probably need a break. But from what you’ve written, it looks like you’ll just be thinking about shooting and making things worse in your head. As Nimitz suggested, an instructor might be needed. Or at least an observer who isn’t you.
Best of luck and keep us posted.

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What is this "training" everyone keeps talking about ?....

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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You pretty well diagnosed your issues which is always the first step. You have a mental issue to tackle.

Lanny Bassham's book is excellent. It is well worth the money. His CDs are good too. He talks about what it takes to perform at a high level. It is more than just being able to pull the trigger or move quickly.

Mike Seeklander - Shooting Performance - is very good at the mental part of shooting. His books are great as are his CDs. BUT I would strongly recommend you go to his Website or FaceBook page and check him out. Give Mike a call. He is probably one of the most helpful guys I have ever met. His reasoning works for me.

I don't think you are far from Springer Precision-Scott is an incredible resource. I do not know if he is training anymore but he sure helped me during the Desert Classic/Area2 one year. He also did my XD work.

BTW: IMO changing guns does not keep it fresh. Your mind keeps it fresh. Changing guns is just fun and challenges in other ways mechnically but the mind is what controls what is going on.

Edited by pjb45

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I think it sounds like you already know what you need to do.

You said you've got classifiers down, good. field courses are the problem. Dry fire shooting on the move, entries and exits. Mix in steel, hard cover, no shoots and turtle targets too. Get used to seeing everything in dry fire. Make sure you call your shots and are honest with yourself about your "hits"

You mentioned getting worried about 20 yard partial targets. Start shooting 25 plus yard partials in live fire practice. I love trying to hit 2 steel plates at 50 yards in under 2 seconds. That's fun, so maybe do some shooting at 50 yards. Use a timer to keep pressure on yourself like in a match or else your wasting your time.

Your mental issue may be a bit more difficult, try to focus on something you can control instead of worrying about winning. Your goal for the day should be no penalties, and call every shot. Once you shoot enough club matches penalty free your self image will change and that's going to help the mental game. Shaking off bad stages can be tough, when something goes bad try to think about the next stage and not dwell on what just happened. Or try to focus on other peoples stage runs, if they shoot well let them know. Sometimes that positive attitude and complementing others can help get you out of the funk you've put yourself in.

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Is your emotional state too tightly coupled with your shooting? Just something to be honest with yourself about.

I like the idea of complimenting shooters who you see do well. A positive attitude is something people want to be around, and it will come back to you.

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