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About Reds_Dot

  • Birthday 05/01/1980

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    Austin, TX
  • Interests
    Shooting, sandbagging, Table-Top RPGs
  • Real Name
    Brian Levy

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Finally read the FAQs

Finally read the FAQs (3/11)

  1. August, a rough month. tl;dr I have lost confidence and it shows in my stages then I get frustrated and then angry. I am working on some things but I am having doubts about having any real ability to shoot any major matches this year. So the mission changed this month. I went from velocitization to seeing a clean sight picture and getting high points percentages again. The object was to do this without losing any significant speed. So far, I have failed miserably at that task. I am shooting tense. As previously deacribed when I shoot a stage it doesn't feel easy. It feels hard. I am fighting myself for every shot taken. My failures to get the desired hits make me doubt my ability which makes me slow down and still I miss. This is the first time in 4 months I have had that nagging voice in my head telling me I am, "Going to slow. Go faster!!!" It's that lack of confidence. It's being perpetuated by external life events which I will not go into here. It has me down. I get frustrated by my lack of performance because I KNOW I am capable of doing the things I want to do but for some reason I mess it up every time. When I do I get pissed off. Anger is a typical response for most males when stressed or frustrated. This is a typical response. My outbursts aren't. I am cussing. Throwing magazines all over the bay. I had to stop myself at one point from throwing my gun over the berm after a stage. This, sadly, is an old familiar pattern. It's one that almost had me quit the sport entirely in 2017. I have become the guy no one wants to squad with. I hate being that guy. I wish it was easy to just shut off the emotional response to this but as much as I try, it's still there. My goals for 2021 are basically out the window. I can't make GM by year's end (mathematically impossible), and I'm not gonna be top 25 in CO at USPSA Nationals with 25 GMs and 30 Ms registered. So what is the point? I will just be another no-name also-ran. This makes me feel angry just thinking about it. I'm angry at myself for not doing enough. For not practicing better, harder or more often. My body is breaking down on me and I am getting older. Unlike some folks with "good genes" that stay "young and fit" I have the opposite. So my chance at any real match performance is almost gone. I will just start to slowly get worse every year. This is basically it. I will never be better than I am now and I am fumbling the ball. So, I am frustrated amd angry at myself. This is a huge pile of self-doubt to deal with and a simple, "Just cheer up," from people makes me even more angry. I don't know the answer to this. I am trying some things for my mindset with my trainer and trying to talk to friends but I am in the early stages and I know stuff like this doesn't get better overnight. I have very little hope for any performance at Nationals which is 45 days from now and even less time to Area 4 and North Texas Open. I want to quit it all but I have hotels and Vrbos booked. I have carpools arranged and obligations made. Quitting would mean letting other people down. I refuse to let my failings as a person hurt others. So, I will shoot these majors and suffer the huliation of poor performance. In order to minimize the questions and humiliation I am killing off my social media. No more match videos. No more vlogs. No more Instagram. No more obligation to random people on the internet to try and "make a difference". At this point I am leaving this up only because I can't seem to delete the thread and I figured I would leave some written explanation as to why I left social media. Perhaps if someone I shoot woth reads this they will at least understand why I suddenly started sucking when I showed a glimmer of promise before it all came tumbling down. Maybe I will figure this out next year and I will learn to just enjoy the sport while my skills slowly fade. Maybe It will just be time for me to hang it up and stop shooting all together. I don't know. For now, all I have are questions and doubts.
  2. I am trying to avoid NSAIDS (Aspirin, Ibuprofen [like Motrin], Naproxen, are the most common) if I can. I respond very well to them but they are hard on your liver and kidneys and taking large continual doses over a lengthy time can permanently reduce kidney function and reduce liver effectiveness. Fun side effect for me is that too many NSAIDS in a short period of time makes my feet swell.
  3. Visited my well regarded local podiatrist. Got an xray of my feet and had a pretty thorough exam. He made the following statements to me: 1) Most people do mostly the right thing most of the time. 2) Insoles, foot rollers, icing are treating the symptoms not the cause. They don't make anything worse but in and of themselves, they won't solve the problem. 3) Deep calf stretches for 5 mins intervals (per calf) three times a day (15mins total daily) every day will solve the issue for "most people" in 3-4 months. 4) Icing at the end of the day before sleep can help the inflammation the following morning. 5) Deep tissue massage in the calves and feet by a legitimate massage therapist can help accelerate the process. It's gonna hurt though. 6) Cortizone and/or surgury are last resorts. This guy is actually rated as one of the best podiatric surgeons in TX too. I have to follow a stretching regimen every day and I have a follow-up appointment in three weeks. Keep in mind this was all related to my specific diagnosis. I don't have major inflammation, no heel spurs, and the condition has been present less than 6 months.
  4. Depends on how effectively you train your dry fire. If you just draw a bunch and go through the motions then you won't see much improvement. If you put focus, visualization, and weight into dryfire you will find gains in dryfire and fix smaller issues. That work will show in livefire over time. I appreciate the endorsement from @TheChewycookie . I think he nailed the idea that finding a goal will help you focus your dryfire and become more effective in your training. So to ask the same question: what is your goal? "To get better" is an okay answer. "To make B class" is better. "To beat my buddy" is also good. "To make A-class by next June" is best. Pick a goal and a reasonable timeline for you. As TheChewycookie mentioned @CClassForLife went from C-class to GM in less than a year but he went HAM to get there. It's up to you how much effort you want to put in and for how long.
  5. I'm gonna address the points top to bottom. Okay, you went fast but could you OBSERVE the mistakes? If you had time to practice that section of the stage again at the same speed could you fix the mistake? If yes, you are doing it right. If not, focus more on seeing what is happening. Don't slow down just "see faster". With experience this will get easier. That is a common issue (early transitions) and the fact you know that is what you were doing is great news! That means you are aware of what is happening at speed. Now you can work to fix the issue. Speed = Relaxed is right. It's something that is simple but not easy to do. I just recently wrote about that in my range diary. Your trigger freeze is 100% tension. Regarding the result: You have to decide what the priority is. Win the local or get better for a Major match? If it's win the local then slow down a bit and keep doing what you have been doing. If it's a major then sacrifice the local match to get good learning for yourself to improve. I shot/trained a ton with Tony once he moved to TX. He was not always accurate at speed. He was certainly accurate standing still. His basic marksmanship was there. If you can't group smaller than a headbox at 25 yards (while static and under no time pressure) you may need to work on that. Otherwise Tony shot plenty of Ds, Ms, and NSs and had plenty of misses on steel too during practice AND the matches he shot. If you follow that path, you will too. The object is to learn from it.
  6. Can confirm that he never cared how he would finish at a local. He was always looking for that fast path. Also, he used majors the same way. He tested theories at majors to see outcomes and understand technique. He didn't care about the placement. He was much more interested in what he could learn at that level. He only ever "found control" for USPSA Nationals and he placed 23rd at his very first nationals.
  7. A bit late to the game here but I have had online coaching with Travis Tomasie. He will ask you to run some diagnostic drills and video them a certain way. He can use that as a baseline and start coaching you from there. It is effective and helpful.
  8. I submitted my cert in Mid January 2021 for a regular G17 Gen 5 and it arrived Mid-May 2021.
  9. I was using a pure tungsten guiderod in my G34. 15lbs was the sweet spot for me. My PF was usually 132-136. Skip to 2:26 to see the gun under recoil in slow-mo.
  10. I am seeing a good progression of control since your first post. You seem less "wild". A good bit of that has to do with your improved mental process. Is very visable how much better your stage visualization has become. I can see the confidence in your shooting. That is a fantastic improvement in a relatively short time. In these last two matches I saw two semi-consistent things that you can work on: 1) Reloads and moving. You are slowing your movement down quite a bit and getting the gun up late as you take time on your reloads. A specific example from the July Match at 0:47s. You are in a port, you fire your last shot, you withdraw from the port (not sure if you needed to be buried in that port like that either) then drop the current mag and reach for the next. You start moving tonthe left and slow your movement while you focus on fumbling the seating the magazine. You arrive at your shooting position and finish the reload then bring the gun up and engage by 0:50s. On a stage saving 1 second is huge and I think you can totally do this: As soon as the last shot is fired you should be initiating the mag drop and reaching for the new mag. Again, not sure if you needed to be buried in the port like that or not. Then turn your hips for the movement and start with your first step. Seat the mag immediately then, then move with more urgency while getting the gun up sooner and engaging that target sooner. You could extract a whole second there. You have good gun handling skills already. You can do this right now. You just need to program that into your plan/visualization. 2) Movement. You move deliberately and with control but with no urgency. You shoot at the same club as Cash Blodgett and Matt Chua. Watch them on the same stages. See how they move with urgency. Not uncontrolled and not just "fast" but urgent and without hesitation. Watch how quickly they begin moving after shooting or how they slow enough to shoot an array then go right back up to the fast speed again once they have engaged that array. Again, you are 100% capable of this now. This may take more practice to get it to feel "natural" but it will pay off dividends on stages. I hope this has come across as positive criticism. You are really doing well and you have gotten to the point where you need to dial in some techniques you are already using to get even better. Keep up the positing I am looking forward to the next videos and post.
  11. I use LaSportiva Kaptivas I have also used the Mutant from them as well. LaSportiva Kaptiva Shoes LaSportiva Mutant Shoes I can't use shoes with narrow toe boxes like the Solomans. LaSportivas have nice arch support and good tread. The rubber works pretty well even on wet painted wood. They are comfortable for all day wear as well.
  12. I am fighting this now. It's due to a combination of me being obese (6'1" and 260lbs), not stretching and wearing bad shoes. I am on a weightloss plan at this point. I have some generic orthotic insoles and better shoes. I have been rolling my feet with an R8 foot roller as well as icing. I stretch my plantar facia before getting out of bed in the mornings and always wear shoes around the house (we have tile floors). I also stretch periodically throughout the day. My calves, achilles tendon, and plantar fascia. It is getting better but I'm still limited in the time I can be on my feet before it becomes painful to walk. I am gonna go see a podiatrist to make sure that there aren't any other contributing factors or other treatments that could be done.
  13. As The Bard said, "...ay, there's the rub." That is a big part of my journey. I found a good coach and mentor in this journey with Travis Tomasie. I also have a great group of guys I train with. Not just on shooting but in the mental game. We talk mindset and philosophy as much as we talk about position entries. So, I am getting better control of where my head is at. There is always more room for improvement. Good to know. I know I'm not the only one going through this stuff so I'm hoping this can be helpful to others. I like this. Thank you for sharing. This is also a great example of something that is simple, but not easy. Worth working on. Yeah, in the end while I'm not interested in a National Championship I know that I am good enough to be a legit GM. I'll just have to go check that box later. That is the primary focus of this range diary. While I am working on my technique I am working on my mindset and mental game more. For me, it's not just some switch I can flip. However like any skill the more I practice it the better I get at it. I have made some big strides in my self-reflection and kicking my ego out of the way to make room for learning and development. I have to keep working at it. 90% of my improvement in the last 18 months has been mental game. My technical skill has only improved a bit.
  14. SO another month and another update. (I owe you all match vids they are in the can; I just haven't done final edits) A ton of velocitization this month. Just melting faces with speed. It has induced more than it's fair share of mistakes. Which is good. I'm starting to learn how to quickly navigate a stage. My A-D and C-M hits are becoming A-C / C-D hits. I can see what is happening and know when wild shots happen and it's been fun the split 0.15s at 15 yard partials. I'm gonna break down some interesting info regarding tension and efficiency and talk about my next steps. I am also having some doubt and wrestling with nerves over my goals for the 2021. As always there will be a tl;dr at the end. I expect to have some match videos out soon'ish and I will post them here once that is done. I am getting lower (physically; bent knees and engaged core) and finding a better way to control my mass (I'm 6'1" and 260lbs). It's helped. Moving faster also shows me where I am being inefficient (more on that a bit later) because I almost wobble past or over-run positions. Once I see that it makes the next run better. I'm still trying to integrate "strong-side" entries to make them the norm for stopping movement and starting shooting. I have been using "trailing-foot" entries so this is a change-up. Honestly I think if I get good at both I won't have to worry as much about how I get to the shooting position quite as much because I will get my hips and shoulders turned towards the target and I can just focus on setting a vector of fire with my feet and setting up for my first shots on target as I enter the position. I have been finding myself breaking my grip much less. I will bring the gun into my body at like chest level for 1-6 steps or so. Much more than that I tend to break my grip. This happens with very little conscious thought. Oddly it "feels" slow but my stage times and transitional splits say otherwise. It's interesting that this evolution is happening naturally from velocitization. It's forcing me to be more efficient. The big lesson (the forest instead of just the trees) is that by speeding up inefficiencies are magnified. I don't bleed enough momentum into a position and now versus just being a bit unstable on my feet (at a slower pace) I stumble out of the shooting area entirely. That poorly planted foot isn't just an adjustment to exit a position now it's a lost 1.25s on a stage because I didn't set myself up to shoot on the way out of the position. Etc.... Going fast reveals deficiencies not only in your shooting technique (I think most practical shooters know that) but also highlights inefficiency in how you negotiate a stage. It's not just moving on a stage but how you plan to shoot the stage and how/when you choose to manipulate your gun. It's no good to be able to move through a stage at high speed and you can't get the gun up fast enough to capitalize on that. That sort of thing. The part of going fast that most people miss is the need to *relax* to go fast. It seems counterintuitive. This goes to both relaxed in body and relaxed in mindset. I use a mental gauge when I shoot. Was that easy or hard? This applies to running drills, mock stages, or actual stages. If it was easy odds are it was very fast (for me) and I had few inefficiencies. If it felt hard then there was probably at least two notable inefficiencies or one large one. Tension (the opposite of relaxed) is usually the primary source of the inefficiency. Again both physical and mental tension lead to issues. This is a tad bit esoteric when it comes to the mental side but I will use a two-step reload as an example for both physical and mental tension. So let's say you are working a short movement drill where you are taking two steps laterally and need to reload. You have a par-time shot-to-shot you are trying to accomplish. There are a bunch of moving parts to consider. For the sake of simplicity (and speed) we aren't going to worry about the hits and just look at the split from one position to the next. Now we are really focused on two things: Moving over quickly and getting the reload done fast. I'm going to assume that moving two steps laterally isn't a problem so we are now down to just the reload. Here are the potential issues that can arise and how one is physical tension the other is mental tension: Physical Tension: In order to facilitate a fast reload you need to get that new mag off your belt in a hurry. If you try to "muscle down" to the magazine in a hurry then you create antagonistic muscle tension which actually works against the muscles (and gravity) that will actually accelerate your hand to the mag pouch. That tension slows down your reload and can even impede you from getting a consistent seating of the reload as well. So, net effect is that you can't make that reload happen before you take your two steps and you don't make par. You need to relax your pecs, traps and tricep to get to the mag fast. Your deltoids and lats are doing the work and they aren't doing that much. They are just assisting gravity. If you relax those muscles your had will get to that mag pouch faster. By removing the inefficiency of the antagonistic muscles you gained speed and used less energy to do it. That is the effect of physical tension and how physically relaxing is actually faster. Mental Tension: Same scenario. Now you have been working on this drill and you still can't quite make the par time you've set. In your head you think something like, "I always flub this reload." Once you start the drill mentally (maybe even physically) you 'flinch' hoping it goes okay but believing you're not gonna make the par and you flub the reload. That mental 'flinch' is the mental tension. You aren't allowing yourself to perform the task. You are actually interrupting the process worrying about something that hasn't happened yet. (I know I am getting into Brian Enos territory here but this seems like the right place to do it... ) It's like flinching on recoil. It's not a problem anymore for you right? You know the gun is going off and you know what to expect. You relax and don't flinch. Same goes for that reload under the par time you set. Know that the reload is going to happen. Relax mentally and just LET it happen. You'll see that mentally you almost 'move through' the whole process. You don't 'flinch' mentally the whole drill just happens. When you get to that place mentally you will pick up a ton of speed. I am wrestling with my goals mentally this year. Looking at the at the stats top 25 in CO may be a tall feat. There are 268 CO shooters. 66 Ms and 36-GMs. I am one of those 66 Ms. My goal of top 25 would require me to beat at least 11 GMs plus however many Ms that are underrated and shooting at a GM level. I can think of three off the top of my head. Paring with this is the fact I have been slowly sliding back on my classification percentage I am feeling like I am somehow going backwards. Just before Nationals I was at 94.4%. Once decent classifier away from GM. Since then I have slid back to 89.5%. At this point it's not likely that I will make GM before 2022. SO while I have been doing good work and making good progress (even though it doesn't feel like it). It isn't enough. I am on track to fail both of my goals which has me doubting my ability to perform when it counts. Mental tension. Since I know the skill ceiling is actually relatively stable at the top I think I am going to shift goals. I am just going to stop chasing classifiers. It's a mini game that I keep loosing and it's hurting me to keep trying. I will target mid 80s for my match percentage at Nationals. 83%+ Will be a success. That would have gained me a top 25 in last years CO Nats. Plus it will be based off a similar skill ceiling so that will be a true measurement of improvement. The mental game isn't just visualizing stage plans. That is a pretty epic update and a wall of text. I doubt anyone is actually reading this stuff at this point but it's helpful to me so that is all that matters. More videos to watch coming soon. tl;dr: Going fast teaches you about efficiency. You should relax to go fast. Setting goals is part of the mental game.
  15. Don't burn out homie. Dial back and have some fun. Take care of your health (physical and mental) and work on that stress at work. I have taken a bit of a forced break with a personal injury and the rediculous rain so I'm only working easy stuff for the time being. It's helped me refocus. You and I are doing the same crazy push for A4, NTXO, and CO Nats. It's gonna be nuts and fun as long as you aren't burnt out.
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