1. Clean up the stages, use make up shots if necessary (aim for zero down overall)
6. Make up misses while on the move (after engaging targets from mandatory positions)
The question is how you know to make up shots. If you can call your shots and make up as needed, great. I see a lot of people wasting time peering at the target. Another thing I do is to program in "insurance shots" on difficult targets.
2. Watch for the procedurals
Amen. My first couple of matches in the "Reopening" were awful. My hits were good because I had been shooting regularly on a square range. I was very out of practice managing a set CoF and picked up a FP and several blunders that did not draw procedurals but sure hurt my time.
3. Get really low when shooting around barricades (for exploding out of position)
Good idea but I am too arthritic. My last match was USPSA and a couple of us codgers had to take a route that put a low port last. IDPA will not require you to get up from kneeling or prone on the clock which is a help.
4. Do visualize stage plan even though it seems unnecessary
I think it is necessary, because you are working to somebody else's plan.
7. Practice shooting from awkward positions
Oh, yes. I just cringe when I hear people going on at length about "stance" and see them shuffling around to get in their stock position.
When you combine the fact that fault lines extend to infinity with the fact that you can re-engage targets from other positions if they're still visible, some interesting (and not so obvious) stage strategies appear.
Yes, the substitution of fault lines for cover calls was a major change. You can do a lot even within the length of a board, never mind the virtual prolongation.
SOs who don't know the rules like they should.
The reason I am no longer an SO. I can't completely overwrite the last edition(s) of the rules with the current version.
3. Go fast in the fast parts and slow in the slow parts.
Something to watch for, MDs around here are bad about putting targets at widely varying ranges and degrees of visibility from the same Point of Cover.