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Goal Setting for USPSA

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A couple of weeks ago I came across a NSSF Video of Doug Koenig discussing goal setting. He explained that he sets goals for everything, from practice sessions to shooting the Bianchi Cup. I thought it was sound advice and wanted to begin applying goals to my own shooting.

The trouble that I began facing is how do I set goals for match with a variety of unknown variables. I shoot local matches and don't know what the stages will be ahead of time, so I can't go into the match with a list of goals. Such as, on Stage 1 I want to have a Hit Factor of X, or a Time of Y with a score above Z, etc.

Because I was going into each local match blid, in a sense, I instead focused on "I want to place in the top 50%" which later turned into "I want to break into the Top 10". The more matches I went into with this mindset, the more problems I saw. The last match I shot, I just so happened to be squadded with 3 Master Class shooters. It was a great learning experience but I found myself trying to keep up (As a C class shooter I didn't have a prayer, but I got sucked in and tried anyway). When the results were posted a few days later, I was pumped when I saw that I made 8th Place in Production. That was, until I looked at my scores for each stage and watched my match video. I shot sloppy and that 8th place finish didn't mean so much anymore.

The next problem with my goal of Making Top 10 was that I never knew who would be shooting the match. One match I might find myself shooting with mostly C and D shooters with maybe one A and two B shooters. That made it considerably easier to place higher as opposed to a match with a handful of M's, a few A's, and a couple of B's.

I'm finding this method of goal setting very unreliable and I think it is actually hurting my shooting. I suppose the moral of the story is that I should be shooting each match with a goal that I can control. Regardless of the course of fire, I should be striving for 90% or better of the available points. Don't worry about my time or how the guys around me are shooting. Let the chips fall where they will and shoot the most accurate game that I can. Maybe at that point a top 10 finish will be all the sweeter.

I've only been shooting for two seasons with a total of 9 local matches. I think I've made some great progress based on where I started. I tend to be rather competitive (especially when I'm competing against myself and comparing a given match to how I shot the match before) but I want to continue improving. Some look at me like I'm crazy, taking it too seriously, but I'm having a great time. I go to each match with a Contour HD Camera and a Flip Cam (so I get 1st and 3rd person video) and love going over my game film. When results are posted I put everything into a spreadhseet and compare the numbers to the video (It is a lot of work but I think it has helped a great deal).

I'm curious though, when you are going into a given match, with no idea what the stages are, how do you set goals for yourself? Are you trying to to shoot X% of the points available or are you doing something different?

Anyway, I've been reading this forum for quite a while and thought it was about time I posted something.

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I think goal setting is a great idea and have been doing so ever since reading the Lanny Bassham books. I like to set different types of goals for different matches/practice sessions. For majors where I know there will be tons of talent, I can start to think about "Top XX", or winning my class. For local matches, I try to stick to things I can control. No penalites or procerurals, limited D hits, controlled movement, no missing a reload, etc etc. Things that if done well on a regular basis will lead to Top XX finishes both at local matches and majors.

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Corey nailed it. Set goals of no Mikes or no NoShoots. Find a shooter that is one class ahead of you and start birddogging him. Set a goal of shooting classifiers at the high end or above your current classification. Set a goal of seeing your sights on every shot it is necessary. Set long term goals of overall finishes in club matches, classification and overalls at majors.

Make sure your goals are realistic and attainable. Achieving those goals you set are very satisfying.

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Thanks for the recommendations and the articles.

I hadn't considered setting smaller goals, just all encompassing goals. I like the idea of setting small goals, especially if I apply them on a match by match basis. The couple of clubs that I shoot at definitely have their own feel. One is geared more towards running and gunning, another uses a lot of distance shooting, another uses angles to make targets only visible from certain spots, etc. I can tailor smaller goals for each club and track my progress that way.

Thanks again

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Dave Re had some good articles about goal setting..

http://re-gun.com/2011/05/goals-appropriate-and-attainable/

And another good article to figure out what you need to practice so you can set some goals...

http://re-gun.com/2011/04/what-do-i-need-to-practice/

Great information. I'll have to check out this website more often. Thanks from a newbie!

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You must set goals where you control thre variables. When I started out this past Dec after taking mike seeklander's competition handgun course I would set those kind of goals. Mike taught me to think differently about goal setting. Before I had a goal to finish in the top 50 of the FLOpen next year as a long term goal. Unfortunately you don't control who shows up at matches so you may shoot great but not make your goal. Now my goals are more realistic and achievable. My short term goal is to simply complete all the training sessions in the 18 week training program from mike. My match goals are simple too: 90% As with no Ms or NSs. Once I can achieve that I will begin to worry about speed in a match. So far after 6 matches the best I've been able to do is 87% As with 3 Ms. I've also eliminated my "become an "X" class shooter by some date" goals. The bigger picture stuff will come if I just focus on achieving the smaller goals one at a time - and keep putting lots of rounds down range ... :)

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I agree with most everything. Corey (goal setting bastard) is dead nuts on. I've watched him over his shooting career and his goal setting style has served him well, high B at Ohio State this year in a division he hasn't shot much.

I would add that 90% of points with no penalties is great at every match and should be a top goal at any level.

IMHO, learning to "call your shot" is the single most important GOAL you'll ever accomplish. This should be every shooters focus. You can get far not having the ability, but you'll never be consistent. "Shot Calling" is foundational to every thing we do in our sport.

As an "A" Open guy, this is now my prime focus. I could call shots marginally as a C class, but wish I would have focused on this skill a lot earlier. Now I can call them better, but the road to being a TRUE Master/GM is blocked without this skill firmly in hand.

If you don't know what I am talking about do a search. You'll stumble across it easily enough. IMHO it should be your ONLY goal until you achieve it, every shot, no matter distance, every target.

Edited by Chris iliff

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Get Brian's book and Lanny's "With Winning in Mind" and you will have enough goal setting material your head will explode. Sadly, I lacked enough brain material to build up the required pressure so I just burped twice.

Lanny gives you the mechanics and theory behind moving to a winning performance and Brian provides the aspects specific to USPSA/IDPA style shooting. Both great books!

Leam

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I agree with most everything. Corey (goal setting bastard) is dead nuts on. I've watched him over his shooting career and his goal setting style has served him well, high B at Ohio State this year in a division he hasn't shot much. I would add that 90% of points with no penalties is great at every match and should be a top goal at any level. IMHO, learning to "call your shot" is the single most important GOAL you'll ever accomplish. This should be every shooters focus. You can get far not having the ability, but you'll never be consistent. "Shot Calling" is foundational to every thing we do in our sport. As an "A" Open guy, this is now my prime focus. I could call shots marginally as a C class, but wish I would have focused on this skill a lot earlier. Now I can call them better, but the road to being a TRUE Master/GM is blocked without this skill firmly in hand. If you don't know what I am talking about do a search. You'll stumble across it easily enough. IMHO it should be your ONLY goal until you achieve it, every shot, no matter distance, every target.

I need a lot of practice when it comes to calling my shots. The recoil happens so fast that I can't consistently determine where the shot impacted the target. I can determine if I was on target, but calling an A, B, C, or D zone hit at this point is a guess.

Get Brian's book and Lanny's "With Winning in Mind" and you will have enough goal setting material your head will explode. Sadly, I lacked enough brain material to build up the required pressure so I just burped twice. Lanny gives you the mechanics and theory behind moving to a winning performance and Brian provides the aspects specific to USPSA/IDPA style shooting. Both great books!Leam

Thanks for the suggestions. I put an order in for both books (I was going to get one now and one later but with Fathers Day coming up, I thought why not just get both....)

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I need a lot of practice when it comes to calling my shots. The recoil happens so fast that I can't consistently determine where the shot impacted the target. I can determine if I was on target, but calling an A, B, C, or D zone hit at this point is a guess.

...

Thanks for the suggestions. I put an order in for both books (I was going to get one now and one later but with Fathers Day coming up, I thought why not just get both....)

A great Father's Day gift! Let those in your family know how much you appreciate them! :)

Calling the shot depends on seeing it when it breaks, not after the recoil started. YOu see the A, break the shot, and know it went where the sight picture said it would go. Once you can do that, watching the sights rise is a great next step. Or so I'm told, I've only been able to do it a few times.

Leam

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I take the Seeklander approach and break down my goals into sizes.

My small goals are stuff like reload in x seconds, Draw FS, SHO, WHO on a 10 yard target in x seconds. FS, SHO, and WHO 'X Drills' from Seeklander's book in a certain amount of time. Splits on a 20 yard target using FS, SHO, and WHO. All of those goals are time to get alphas. If I'm not getting alphas, it doesn't count.

Then I'll have medium goals which are HF on certain classifiers or standard stages. These could be my own, friends, or Seeklanders, as long as I can set it up the same way and record my progress.

Then over all goals, like get classified as 'A' in Production.

Edited by PistoleroJesse

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