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My first major match


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I competed in my first major USPSA competition this past weekend at the Area 2 Championships.

I had a great time even though I felt I could have performed better; isn't that always the case?

However, I learned several important things that I believe will ultimately result in my becoming a better shooter.

I thought that I would share a couple of these seemingly simple things:

  • Relax, it is just another competition.
    My hands were actually shaking right before the first stage.
    The morning chill had a little to do with that, but it was mainly because I was nervous.
  • Don't focus on speed.
    While speed is important, always focus on calling and seeing the shot.
    This is critical; I think speed comes as a by-product through practice.
    As a shooter in Production this is something that I deal with all the time when I get caught in the trap of "keeping up" with the Open and Limited shooters.
  • Visualize, visualize, visualize... Visualization is such a powerful tool.
    Visualizing how you will work through the course of fire trains your muscles and your mind.
    Visualizing while positioning your hands, upper-body, and lower-body is even better. Sure, it may look funny, but I found that it really helped me prepare for the stage.
  • Don't be afraid to take a piece of paper and sketch how the COF should be engaged during the walk-through.
    This is very important on those stages where you actually have to think...
    The Grandmaster and Commander stage was a perfect example of this for me: I missed a target; If I would have sketched out how I wanted to engage this course, then it would have been easier to visualize.
    Steve Anderson has mentioned this before and I now see the value of his advice; I wish I would have taken it...
  • Identify potential problem areas in the walk-through.
    After these items have been identified, address how you will take care of these areas.
    Examples: Targets that might be missed, targets that might be engaged more than once, etc.
    This should work great if you sketch the stage out.
  • Don't focus on moving from target to target in the stage, instead focus on landmarks in the stage that can aid you in determining where to position yourself most efficiently for engaging multiple targets from a single location.
    This can also aid in triggering your mind when to start a reload which is critical in the Production and Limited-10 divisions.
  • Last, but not least: Have fun!

Lets see if I can use these things for my next Area 2 Championships. I will be there for sure...


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Don't be afraid to take a piece of paper and sketch how the COF should be engaged during the walk-through.

i did that at area 8 this year on a 160 point stage with many targets visible from multiple positions. some of the guys kidded me about it, but darned if i didnt have the fastest time on that stage shooting production, even beating the open guys! of course, that's because my gun broke halfway through :P

i agree...nothing wrong with using that stage diagram they give us.

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