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Camo Cowboy's performance analysis journal

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I started this sport back in 2003 because I showed up to a range one day and saw a bunch of guys running around and shooting. I had been shooting my whole life, but this running around thing, well I just had to get hooked up with these guys!

After many years of just showing up and shooting the day came when it was faster to start at the top of the results and search down to find my name rather than the usual "bottom up" routine. I decided it was time to get a bit more serious and get an open gun.

So today I'm shooting an STI Open gun in 9mm and have been "seriously" competing for about 3 years.

Currently I'm in A Class. I've got my eyes set on Master and have no doubt that I will make it. Someday I'll be a Grandmaster and when I get there I want to look back and say that was
a hell of a journey and that it seemed easy because the trip was so much fun. However, it's NOT easy.

One thing I've come to realize is that to get to this level I did have to become serious about the details and actually set goals and identify areas of improvement.
Now that I'm here and want to keep learning, changing, and moving forward I need help. It's very difficult and a bit naïve to think I can see these things on my own.
The help that I get comes from a lot of different sources. One of them is the guys I get to shoot with every weekend. I've gotten to know these guys and they give me tips and sometimes I just watch them.
Sometimes we get into discussions and they go one way, I go the other and we compare notes. They are a very cool bunch and I don't discount how helpful they've been even a little bit. Thanks guys.
Then, there are sources I've gone after. Some training sessions and some books, but these have also been responsible for shaping the shooting skill set I use today.
One of those sources is "With Winning in Mind." If you have not read this yet you should. I have a performance analysis journal that I purchased after reading the book and have been writing in since. I can
honestly say, I have more fun now that I'm leaning on the positive aspects of my shooting. Instead of beating myself up over that 1 MIKE, I'm walking away talking about the 17 ALPHAS.
The next important one is, of course Brian Enos' "Beyond Fundamentals." I'm always running around quoting from that book and I say, read it more than once.

So now, I decided to start this diary, or rather "Performance Analysis Journal" as I prefer to call it for two primary reasons:

1. As mentioned, I'm currently using Lanny Basshams Performance Analysis Journal. What I've found is that I'm lazy and can't read my own writing so in reflecting back I'm stuck trying to decipher my own crappy shorthand or slang that I used in order to avoid extra scribbling. This way I can type, be clear and get as detailed as I feel is necessary to properly analyze my performance.

2. I want to be able to share this with others. Really, what good is all this if I'll never give back or allow someone the opportunity to learn something from this journey. I just finished telling you to read these guys' books and they were once dudes just like me trying meet some personal goals too. It's not ego, I really am just trying to help.

So feel free to help me out, and I'll try to do the same and maybe we'll all be better shooters for it.

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Another aspect of my journaling is so that I can be held accountable. if you tell someone you are going to do something, maybe you will.
I've set two goals along with this journal. (more to come)

1. Dry fire practice at least twice a week for a few minutes.
2. Go to the range once a week and practice.

I have a buddy who has the same goal and he's retired so we have been motivating each other to go practice together.
Sessions have been good and I can see improvement in both of us. I'm lucky enough to be self employed and have a business that can bill time out of the normal routine,
so making a weekly trip to the range for a few hours is within the realm of possibilities. Of course, I also work for the worst boss in the world so keeping this one
is going to be difficult.

I dry fired tonight for about 20 minutes and just concentrated on transitions, drawing and reloads. No timer, just went through the motions.
Draw, click, move to the next target.
Draw, click reload while taking a step or two toward the next target.

Finished it up with some fast, repetitive draw and fire. A few times I closed my eyes and boom. I was in the A zone when the click went off.

I purchased some 1/5 scale USPSA targets in a kit and feel these have really helped a lot with visualization.
also, I printed out a little spreadsheet/checklist to keep track of how oftem I'm doing this. Got my first checkmark for this week.

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I did more dry fire practice tonight. Pretty much just draw/reload practice. Trying to cement in my higher reload parking spot. I'm really getting better at that and with a recent move of my #1 mag it's really comfortable and fast now.

I also made a bit of a discovery as to why my last strong/weak classifier went so bad. Grip strength.

On practicing I did a bunch of fast draw's freestyle. All looked good and then when I did a strong hand only I saw the same side-side motion I had on Saturday. I did it twice before I realized that if I let up on my grip by about 50% the dot just stopped shaking.

I put this to the test many times and if I can just relax my grip after the draw, or transfer (better yet, don't tense up during that stuff in the first place) the dot comes into view perfectly still.

This is the thing to practice next live fire. Maybe Friday afternoon if my morning job goes well. I'm going to setup CM 08-06 and run it for a bit.

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I shot a local match today at Aurora gun club. hot and slightly breezy, my objective was to shoot with the visual patience that I've been good at recently. "wait for the A's"
The first stage went will and I've posted it on my Youtube channel.

I had patience on this one and it resulted in no Deltas and only 2 charlies as I recall. One of them on a swinger and there were 3 on the stage. I made some technical errors on the remaining stages today, but overall I was seeing what I needed to see to make my shots count.

The hardest stage for me was the 3rd stage I shot and I learned the most on this one. Also on Youtube it's the "hosefest" stage.

This one fooled me as I decided that some high risk shots on the left side would save me time as long as I could take the time to make those shots. The walkthrough made it seem possible, but sped up to real time I just couldn't wait to see what I needed to see. I made 2 makeup shots and hit a NS on the perf. I called it and moved on, but my knee was seriously fatigued by the time I got out of that position. Then, for some reason I kept both hands on the gun as I ran around the wall. Another goal from my goal list is to "let go of the gun and RUN."

The remaining shots were a ton of Alphas to it's not like I trashed the stage.

The classifier I got to shoot first on my squad and all went very well until I turned about to see everyone with an "oh crap" look on their faces and I heard someone mutter something about "mandatory reload." Oops! I only dropped 2 points otherwise. From a shooting perspective I was VERY happy. I just need to pay closer attention to the WSB.

So, overall I shot well and can plainly see that my goals are getting me somewhere. I'm really counting Alphas not and will continue on this positive attitude. It's way more gun than kicking myself over a couple of mistakes.

My goals for next time:

Work a bit on stage breakdown and be realistic with what you can do and how fast.

Keep waiting for the Alphas.

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Shot a local match at Clear Creek today. Weather was hot, but cloudy.

My objectives, from last time were to work better on stage breakdown and keep waiting for the Alphas.

Overall I shot strong and didn't make any technical errors today so the gun ran and I had no real problems from that perspective.

The first stage we shot was called "Stage 5: gonna be hosing." (youtube link) From a breakdown perspective you could have shot the entire thing without going forward, but with increased aiming. After thinking about it I decided to take the safe route and just move forward. This turned out to be a good move. My first comment afterwards about the stage was "I found myself surprisingly far downrange by the time I was done reloading." I thought I would be about in the middle of the shooting area, but wound up positioning way up front. I'm particularly happy with the plate rack that seemed to just go down no matter how fast I pulled the trigger. I missed the first plate, but instantly made it up and then just saw the dot do what it needed to to. I really felt interested in the shooting at that moment. Good times on that one! The only area that I can see some improvement on is maybe get out of the holster a bit faster. Seemed I was stepping THEN drawing rather than step AND draw to get on target #1 a bit sooner.

Another stage was called "Stage 1: gonna be hosing." (youtube link) The breakdown was very cut-and-dry on this one and I put on the POV rig for this since it was long and the Gopro loses you by the time you get to the end on those.

This one I pushed a bit hard on and wound up with a mike and captured the entire discussion about how I didn't want to admit it was a mike until everyone was pretty much laughing at me. Oh well. I left the whole darn thing there to show I have a sense of humor about myself. I was pretty happy with the hits overall (ignoring the mike to remain positive) I can't decide whether leaving both hands on the gun was a bit deal to that third array after the door. it was only a few steps, but you can't run nearly as fast like that.

Last vid is a short stage and classifier. (youtube link) No real breakdown to speak of except that I could see some room to scoot a bit to the right a bit to gain more A Zone on the target to the right of the barrels while engaging the stacked targets on the right. This gave me the extra A Zone I wanted AND Set me up for a great view of the left target under the table. A quick squat-lean for the right target I felt didn't slow me down while giving me the view I needed to get my Alphas. I like the way this stage went.

The classifier is part of the same vid (CM 99-47, Youtube link) ... well, not so good. A mike and a bunch of C-D's mean nothing to get excited about. The only reason I left this one in was to watch how my movements were with my head and single hand shooting. I don't see anything wrong with how I handle this stage. Other than the loss of visual patience I can't see how to improve this on my own. Looking at the results, the only people that shot it clean today took well over 2 seconds longer than me to get there. This one is clearly a lesson in patience.

so, to review, I felt really good today about waiting for the Alphas and did that MOST of the day. I only got 1 or 2 Deltas and 2 mikes. While writing this analysis the results came in and showed that I was rewarded for those Alphas with a 2nd overall spot behind the only GM to show up today. My stage breakdown proved to be better than yesterday as well and that only helped me have a great time and finish strong.

Goals for next time:

Keep up the Alpha hunt and try to stay focused on this the entire match.

Practice strong/weak hand as this is the 2nd time I got thrown for a loop because of this. Something that I used to say was a strenght.

Next weekend it's off to Area 3 Championships! Can't wait to have a great time up there.

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Had a practice session last night, but with a temporary Internet outage, couldn't review it until tonight.

I did some reloads and transitions and I'm still happy with my progress on maintaining and reinforcing my gun's parking position for the reload.

One thing I really want to work on is not doing anything down low. A minor goal I've set for myself is to "make ready" in the same parking position as a real time reload. This will help cement in both the reload and any malfunction work to be done up high where you can get back on target quicker. This same technique will help to keep the gun upright during the actual malfunction clear to avoid the habit of tilting to the left and causing more time and less efficient clearing.

Anyways, I also worked a lot on drawing from different hand positions than "hands relaxed" and "wrists above shoulders." I practiced a lot with my hands coming from a wall or a barrel, or bench. A bunch of different things that meant "feeling" the grip prior to removing from the holster. With my scoop draw it's very important to have a solid grip BEFORE the gun lifts from the holster.

I found that really tuning into your hand as it hits the gun can lead to a solid grip PRIOR to removing the gun and make very efficient draws from any position.

This is something I haven't practiced much before and will continue to work on.

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Well, the Area 3 championship is behind me. It was hot and partly sunny the first day, and the second day got really hot and sunny.

I feel like I shot a great match and really concentrated on my goals. I had some major gun issues and dealt with about 5-6 malfunctions. All fail to feed. It just didn't go into battery and stalled at about the 50% in mark. All it took each time was a slight hit on the slide and I was back in business. This gun has never done that and when I test fired my camo gun it did the same thing so I was really counting on the shiny one to come through. This is all recycled, roll sized brass and I'm pretty darn sure that it's something up with the brass. Without changing anything else I'm going to run a bunch of brand new Starline brass I have this weekend to see if those malfunction. I suspect I'll run smooth as silk and just give up altogether on reloading 9mm major brass.

At any rate, even with the malfunctions I managed a 2nd place spot in A Class and I'm very happy with how I shot.

The stages at this match were particularly challenging when it came to breakdown. I was glad as this is an area that I've got on my goal list and my squad was mostly from other classes and divisions so there was no Open M's or GM's to lean on for breakdown. I was on my own!

I was particularly proud of Stage 6 (Youtube Link) that I didn't see anyone running quite the same way I did. I honestly think that anyone that beat me or got close to my time ran it my way. I missed a strong hand only head shot through the left port while holding a lever with my weak arm across my chest. It was a difficult shot and I just didn't see it correctly. I also waited an extra swing on the swinger so it cost me big time. According to my time it was for sure a good way to run the stage because even with those costly mistakes I was in the upper few posted times. My movement was pretty good on it and I can't see a lot of wasted time.

Another stage to note would be Stage 7. (youtube link) I like what I see on this start. As I was trying to pick the gun up with that darn bag holding up the show I was pivoting around it and assisting with my left hand. This was the most efficient way to be moving toward the shooting while dealing with such a slow gun trick to get things going. Plenty of other people picked the gun up and THEN ran into the shooting area.

With such a long match I'm not going to get too detailed, but overall I gained a bunch of confidence in my stage breakdown and dispite getting several Deltas during the match and picking up to mikes along the way, when I was seeing what I needed to see I was in serious Alpha hunting mode and was generally happy with what I was seeing.

I learned that when doing stage breakdown it's helpful to walk around first and make sure you see all the targets. After that pick a way to run it and then start looking for optimization in each shooting position. While looking for ways to optimize a position keep your eyes open and you might spot a target you didn't know you could see from that particular spot and then start to change things up. But when doing so, be carefull to only investigate a different way if it looks like it will eliminate other movement or positions.

Areas of improvement are for sure more small movement details, but I think generally it's time to start pushing my shooting a bit harder and see if I can knock that Alpha hunt up a notch or two. Generally I'm happy with my movement and accuracy but won't make it to M if I don't start pushing a bit more.

I almost forgot to talk about this. I recieved my DAA order today. I got a new Racemaster hanger (the new style with a rod instead of flat bar) and a new #1 mag holder. It's the one with the 2 magnets on it. Here's what I did:

Moved my holster slightly forward on my belt and then angled it back toward my body, so basically, it's slight more oriented with the top of the gun pointing toward the target. It's also a bit more forward than it was. This allows a more natural path for my arm to come up past my waste with the grip in the path. So now, instead of "reaching for the gun" I just bring my arm up and the gun gets picked up along the way. I need to burn it in a bit, but right away it feels smoother and I think I can get that first shot on target sooner. We'll see.

I put my new magnetic pouch in the #1 spot and put the same angle as the old one. Basically it's the same except now when I slap down on the mag instead of a slight rearward motion, the mag can come straight up. NICE! Except those damn magnets are too powerful and it's really messed up my smoothness in that motion. I think I'm going either, drill holes in the magnets to make them weaker, replace the magnets with weaker ones, or put somethign on them to interrupt the surface contact so they can't hold as well. hmmm.

Goals for next time:

Still need to hit that single handed shooting as I made no practice and once again, got nailed by a single handed stage this time.

More Alpha hunting.

Get used to new equipment.

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I had a practice session yesterday. Most of it was taken up with technical issues. I have reliability issues again that I'm trying to blame on loading recycled brass.
For me "Recycled" means, fired by ME and then reused. Causing mixed brass also. The camo gun will jam 1-2 times in a 29 round mag. The Silver gun not as often, but still will give me a jam in about every 3 magazines. I loaded up a bunch of brand new Starline brass and didn't get a single jam with either gun while practicing with this ammo. it's got to be ammo issues.
I'm going to run new starline this weekend and see what happens. With nothing else changing it will tell a lot.

At any rate, when I got onto the practice it was all strong hand, weak hand training and a bunch of draw/reload practice for getting used to the new holster angles and
new magnetic pouch. I think I like the holster angle better or at least it doesn't make things worse. Need to give it a bit more time and see if there's anything to that.
The magnetic pouch, I'm having a harder time getting used to. I don't like the way it draaaags out of the holder and causes some strange angles coming out. I'm thinking
about making it my #4 where you kind of want that and going back to good old predictable mag-path with an instant release from a standard pouch. I'll give it a match and
see if I like it after that.

So, my goal of practicing strong/weak hand was met. I found that in order to shoot all A's I have to shoot very slowly... I clearly need a lot more practice in this area.
I can tell that my grip is my main factor in accuracy with one hand. I have to hang onto the gun as it recoils, but if I keep that grip strength while aiming the dot
wiggles back and forth so I have to relax my grip while aiming. This takes a concious effort, and therefor time. I clearly just need more practice on this. I like my stance and
don't feel like the draw needs a bunch of work, although clearly just more time doing it.

So, goals for next time:

More strong/weak hand practice. Try to fit this into each practice session for a while.

Stick with the same match goals.... Alpha hunting, and try to pick up some speed in between them.

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I got to shoot another match on Saturday, at CRC. It was a hot, sunny day.
I had my brand new brass loaded and decided to shoot the camo gun to see if there was an issue with it while shooting new brass.

The first stage was a pretty simple back and forth one and I was confident in my stage breakdown. Several people ran to a center portion and shot a complete 180 while standing.
I didn't like this breakdown as it seemed like a lot of extra movement while in that position and I could knock 3 targets out of the way while coming around the corner anyways.
I was happy with that, but in the middle of the stage... jam! The round rolled into the chamber instead of out so clearing it seemed like an hour.
I showed the gunsmith what was up and he agreed something isn't quite smooth on that gun yet... even with brand new brass so I cased it and broke out old Shiny.

The next stage was much more successful with shooting, but way less on ammo. It was classifier 09-09. I had a squib that turned out to be a sideways primer. It happened again
on my next attempt. So the RO moved me to the bottom of the order so I could check ammo. Well, I had dumped 100 rounds in without chamber checking them. (they were brand new
brass, what could go wrong?) I went through them all and found 3 more sideways primers. An issue for another day, but now with good ammo I was back in business.
My final attempt at the classifer looked good from a visual perspective. Called my shots, saw what I thought were A's and broke each shot. The reload felt like silk and I was
rewarded with 81 points and a single Delta. Not quite my goal of Master, but another consistent A Class score. The reason i still look at this in a positive light is because I THINK: The more you consistently score in your current class,
the more you'll start to see those breakout ones that will get you to the next level.

This one (Youtube Vid) I was completely successful on.
In breaking down my performance on this. I really like what I see in my reduction of any wasted time. When I come off the barrel, the entire time I'm stepping into the
shooting area I'm loading. Also, loading high in my vision. This resulted in "getting to the shooting" as soon as possible. Once shooting I like the way I'm firmly
planted in each shooting position and there's no shuffling around dispite the leaning needed to see everything. I have a slight hesitation in the right array as I engaged
the wrong target and then moved to my intended target. This is an area of improvement for sure. I think a GM would have just went ahead and engaged them in the new order
since it was such a simple array and would not have changed the plan at all to take them how they came. It wasn't a costly mistake as I beat 2 GM's on this stage, so
overall I learned that when my shooting platform is nice and stable I can shoot well.

No vid on the next stage, but I made two errors that need to be noted. First was breakdown. The WSB said magazines on one barrel, and gun on the other while you could start anywhere in the shooting area. Somehow I got it in my
head that you had to start near the barrel with the mags. I'm skipping the details, but I was going to do some pretty stupid things here. I was downright embarrased when my freinds were like, "why the hell are you going to wander back and forth??" I need to approach each stage with a fresh head, and READ THE WSB. Once that senior moment was over I was all over the best plan. Surprisingly it was the opposite direction that most ran it. Another learning moment, when I believe I made up for that initial lapse of reason. There was lots of steel to take from the left and I did that more difficult stuff first, then ass-hauled it over fo the hoser portion and just let it rip. I think doing it the other way led to taking that hoser attitude into the much more difficult steel and caused some extra shots. My time supports this as it was the 2nd fastest posted. And I think the 1 faster guy shot it my way.

The second error on this stage was a big fat MIKE. In my head I saw it as a perf breaker in the black, but it was clearly all the way in the black. Not much to say except... should have waited for the Alpha.

Finaly, I'm proud of this one (Youtube link) and I really like some things I see in this video a LOT. Right off the bat as I draw, my feet are firmly planted and the draw is smooth resulting in I quick first shot. I transition over and immediately start to move toward the next array as I engage it. I'm done with it quickly, then take like 1-2 fast steps and I'm engaging the next array on the move. This puts me into postion for the remainder of the stage while I again, stay firmly planted in my chosen shooting position. I'm indexed on the Texas star as the most difficult target and keep a stable platfrom while hosing the paper when I'm done with the star. Not to get too horn tooty on myself, but this one leaves little room to find areas of improvement and is a great positive re-inforcer for me.

Overall, I was very happy with the match and my best moment was actually the steel array on the stage I miked on. I went 1 for 1 on it and it really felt good.
The areas for improvement are for SURE technical with ammo. More care must be taken as I believe ammo has been my largest time waster as late. Another area is still single handed shooting. That classifier might have been better if I could have drilled a few more A-Holes with my strong hand. Sensing how long I need to score more Alphas on those super far shots can be thrown in for a needed improvement as well.

Goals for next time:
Keep up with the strong/weak practice until you can see a marked improvement.
Set a specific goal for single handed shooting I can use to measure. (Keep shooting that classifier from last practice until you can get all hits in par time.)
Keep up with the Alpha hunt and start thinking Charlies are the new Delta. (Deltas are a fluke here and there... Charlies are no longer acceptable.)

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Got some dry fire in today. Yay. Another Y on my goal sheet.

Again, no timer. I just drew a bunch to get used to the new holster position and magnetic pouch. I think I'm used to it. I'm sure it still drags out of the pouch but I don't think it messes me up anymore. Even empty when the magnetic hold is super strong on it.

I practiced normal draws, then a reload after a double-tap. I also practiced transitions to and from poppers while reloading. Finally, I practiced from hands above shoulders and some hands on wall, turn and draw. The whole time I kept in mind the aggressive head-turn, then body turn as I'm building my grip on the scoop.

Felt good and the reload got a LOT smoother by the end. I think my new position and new mag pouch are going to stay like they are for a while. More dry practice is in order.

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I got out for some practice this morning. Finally a day in which no "testing" was going on so I could just shoot for practice.

My buddy and I did a drill at the beginning that I really liked. Shoot a plate from around a barricade... haul ass to another barricade 15 feet away and shoot it again, then haul ass back. Do this 10 times in a row WITHOUT MISSING. If you miss, you have to start over. Talk about waiting for the Alpha and then concentrating on all the movement details. Exit - run - enter - sight picture - follow through... it's all there. GREAT Drill. We are going to do this more. I made it in my second attempt in about 31 seconds. (note for later.)

Other than that, we did a bunch of strong hand / weak hand drills. No classifiers, we just made it up and at one point I just shot a bunch of rounds at a far target weak hand only to see what I could do. I did good at that, and feel like this practice was all about "seeing what an A looked like with one hand." Hope it helps.

Goals for next practice.

Do that Back and Forth drill again.

More one handed shooting... I'm getting better. Still need to get that baseline classifier goal going so I can measure improvement.

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The only local match this weekend was an HPPS match out at Ben Lomond gun club. Very hot and sunny and I found that I could control the wind with my umbrella. Put it up... gets windy... take it down... no wind. Oh well.

Overall the match was good and I took 3rd overall / 2nd Open shooter.

I just got the Camo (or Dull) gun back from the gunsmith so I decided to just go for it and see if it ran without a practice session on it.

First up was a stage that started as a hoser and you had to run over to another area and follow up with some tight shots leaning way out. I really smoked this stage and felt really good. I wish I had it on video, but I was so quick in the rotation that I didn't set the Gopro. It was a triple shot on each target and it felt really good to just let loose on the initial 6 targets. I nailed the order of the last two that allowed me to start leaving the shooting area and I was in full "leaning to start running" mode when I finished that last shot. I ran as fast I could to the next spot and just nailed that next position. NO movement of my feet from there on out to finish up on that tight lean. Everyone congratulated me on a 14.xx second run and I only realized how good that run was after everyone else went and ALL of the shooters that should have been close to my time on it were well over 2 seconds slower. What a run to start the match on!

The second stage I malfunctioned on. My brain went into full "what the hell?" mode and I fumbled around with a malfunction that I've dealt with many times before but managed to screw around having to change mags and then didn't do well trying to get back on track. I followed that up with the first high-primer (or otherwise click-no bang) that I've had in... I think the first one ever. By the time I got the last target I ran out of rounds and took a mike rather than continue on the current train wreck. This really hurt my positivity and I didn't handle the transition from such a high to such a low like I should have. I swapped guns and the argument with the gunsmith is a story for another day. These technical issues are tough to stomach still and I've got to work on my acceptance of the open gun issues. I know they are there.. and once in a while it's going to happen. I should have ridden that gun all the way through the match and made sure it wasn't just a fluke. Next time I'll be a bit more patient.

Stages 3,4, and 5 were pretty average and I felt good about watching what was going on in my sight. Generally I called my shots and in most cases felt like my movement was up to par and I was generally "shooting A's as fast as I could and I was fast enough." I think I forgot about my "Charlie is the new Delta" goal and ran a match that was only matching my current ability and not pushing it.

The classifier I completely boned. Shot a no-shoot and I now wish I would have shot the targets in a different order that would have allowed a "warm up" target and PROBABLY would have led to a cleaner run. I don't know that I would have shot it faster and after calculating what would have happened I was gaming for a B Class score anyways so even with a positive attitude of "forget that no-shoot" I have to look at my performance as a learning moment at best. What did I do wrong?

Looking at the vid (not posted as it's not only bad, but boring to watch) it looks like I grab the gun OK and stand up at the same time, but then I just plain shoot slow. On these high-risk targets I've got to let myself shoot faster on them and just go for it. Hero or Zero man! I keep shooting my alphas so deliberately that I enter into the "not worth it" zone every time. Need to work on that for sure.

I'm updating my next practice session to:

Do the back and forth drill.

More one handed shooting.

Shoot some partial no-shoots and work on speed with those.

Goals for next match.

Make sure to tighten up that Alpha hunt and start looking at Charlies way harder as something that's not acceptable.

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I got out and practiced today.
On a technical issue, my ammo that was not reliable before didn't give me a single problem today. I cleaned it thoroughly with alcohol and sprayed some TPFE Dry lube. The rounds are dusted white very slightly and seemed to work just fine today. I don't know why they seemed so sticky as new rounds with only One Shot don't do that. At any rate, it's not worth the hassle so my decision to skip re-processing and keep buying brass is still valid to me. However, from now on I'm just going to use the dry lube.
The next technical issue is to switch to CCI primers and see if I have better luck with sideways primers. I'll switch immediately and see if there's a difference.

So, during practice I setup the CM 08-06, Area 4 standards exercise.
I was alone today and didn't have all the resources I do when I go out with Lance, so it was a bit abbreviated.
My timer is a P.O.S. (Android App) so mostly I just tried to shoot as accurately as possible and see if I could even hope to get all A's within the par time. I was not able to do all A's even once. Even when I skipped timing altogether. The best I got was 2 C's on the far target and 1 C on the middle (strong hand only) target. I was pretty successful at getting all A's on the weak hand, close one. For the most part within par time I can land 6 A's weak hand, 4 A's/2 C's strong hand, and 3 A's / 3 C's freestyle. Still need to work on tightening up a bit but I think this can be overdone also... that's a hell of a difficult classifier. Good practice but not a goal to get that one perfected.
I also did some transition and reload drills. Basically felt good about what I did and gained a bunch of confidence in the reliability of Shiny and my ammo and what it takes to make sure to keep it reliable.

The Goals are cut and pasted from last time. Nothing new after today... well, except buy a timer!

I'm updating my next practice session to:
Do the back and forth drill.
More one handed shooting. (well, I did that.)
Shoot some partial no-shoots and work on speed with those.

Goals for next match.
Make sure to tighten up that Alpha hunt and start looking at Charlies way harder as something that's not acceptable.

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I shot a match today at Aurora Gun Club. It was great day, warm and not too sunny.

Overall I was happy with my performance and I was careful to review my goals in my head prior to starting the match. "Charlies are the new Delta" I said a few times during walkthrough.

Then, just before we started shooting... I got a migraine. Damn. This was the first time I've ever had to deal with a migraine at a match. I was determined to tough it out, and my squad stuck me at the bottom of the rotation to give me time to be able to see as the aura usually lasts about 20-30 minutes and clearly I would be unable to maintain any accuracy if I couldn't acutally see.

The first stage was Chicken Soup, a 32 round port shooter with 4 poppers. (youtube link) There are 2 areas of improvement I can see in this vid. First was the initial movement out of the box was a bit sluggish. I didn't really get moving like I was exploding... more like a mozy for sure. Same thing happens in leaving that first position. The remainder of the movement looks good. Especially trainsitions. They are fast and I can see myself snapping to each target then engaging it with two aimed alphas. I'm very happy with what I saw in my sight. I was very concious of the act of looking the shot off, and breaking the shot with my vision. An example of that is the slight pause between Popper number 3 and 4. I was waiting for the front popper to clear the rear popper just enough to be sure that I could get that one on the first shot. My dot was on it, but I HAD TO WAIT for the clear shot. And I did. I was rewarded with a stage win in Open on that, and the only guy faster was a GM.

Next up was the classifier (Steely speed VII, 06-10)(Youtube Link) and a small stage together. This one was a simple classifier that you've really got to move on. There is no room for wasted time here and I tried too hard and lost my visual patience. I rushed that 2nd steel and going back to make it up could only mean one thing. NOT moving up today. The thing that I know now, is there is no room for a mistake at this level. If you studder, rush, or do anything but spot on work as an A-Classer bucking for Master you get dropped to a B Class score in a hurry. It doesn't kill a match, but sure the hell makes sure you aren't moving up. The learning points here are that movement is key... or rather, less is more. I was all set and then you can see when the timer goes off, I only draw to 90% and then move my head down to meet that last 10%. This costs me in time and stability and I think that's why I missed that small #2 target. I should have left my stance like I started and moved around slightly as I took targets to reveal the remaining targets. More deliberate and rehersed on my micro-movements next time!

I got to the 4th stage of the day and by now my head bone was screeming for mercy but I kept going. (Youtube Link.) This one I'm pretty proud of. I won this stage handily and can only see positive things here. This stage was a 27 round, 3 best per paper stage. There were lots of options here and I put the old "run and hose over stay and aim" debate to the test. I can see at the initial target that I'm basically already moving out of the shooting position when the gun fires it's last shot. It was super fast and I had a shadow of a doubt that I had called that last shot when I was about 3 steps downrange. It was kind of like "hmmm... yeah, you saw that. It was just really fast... your fine." was going on while my body was like "dude, keep up we are moving out!" It was a hit, and another rewarding stage win due to continuting to keep my visual patience going when I hit that forward position. I can remember just getting a bit of that feeling that the dot is actually bouncing off of the borders of your intended zone. I need to see that more often.

So, even with my head bone throbing in pain, I was happy with my ability to keep calling the A's and I believe I only got 1 Delta and whole mess of Alpha's today. A clean match and a first place spot in Open is all a guy can ask for.

My Goals for the next match:

Keep narrowing down that Alpha getting and repeating "Charlies are the new Deltas" until you can cound Charlies on one hand, or stop caring to count them.

Look harder at micro movements in a classifier. Reherse them just like a walkthrough.

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Another local match this weekend at Clear Creek. It was sunny, but very windy. The kind of wind that takes it out of you.

Overall I shot well, except I managed to lose focus and go home with 2 mikes. I kind of forgot about my Charlie/Delta goal and don't know how I really did with that. Gotta get back on that.

Looking at some videos I can see some areas for improvement, of course. In true Lanny Bassham style, I've got to do some positive analysis also.

Stage 4 was my first stage. (youtube link) And watching what's going on here I can see my head dipping a LOT. I needed to be low on this as I knew there was a quick almost 180 to the next array, but yeesh. That's a big dip. I should have started lower in the first place and then turned rotated on my left foot to make that 2nd position. From there it was pretty decent and I like the way I engaged the targets on the far left/right just as I was reaching that shooting position. I don't recall how accurate the shots were, but waiting another 1/2 second to start settling in would have resulted in a much more stable shooting platform and therefore more accurate. The steel was no match for me, so that was cool.

Stage 5 appears to go pretty well. (youtube link.) Especially that plate rack, I mean wow they went down quick! However the GM at the match had 2 full seconds on my time. It's not "just because he's faster." I should have been much closer to his time. Watching the stage breakdown theres an obvious miss by me and Jason. We went over this together and I wish I would have went a bit more with my instinct on this. Not sure it woudl have led to the fastest way, but next time think about this. I ran to the first array on the RIGHT. Ignoring my instinct to "get to the shooting" by starting with the array directly to the left of me. THEN, I worked my way down the left side targets and then ran the rest of the stage... that last part was fine, and no other ways to get that done. I trusted my reload speed and it was the same as the GM. HOWEVER, I lost that 2 seconds or so in the first movement.

I should have shot that first array on the left and then backed up while shooting all the left-side targets. Ending up on the right (same spot I ran to) and then swing 180 to the array I mistakenly did first. The reason is that the shooting was about as fast moving backwards as it was standing there like a chump after running several steps. I picked up NO speed in my shooting by moving first THEN shooting as opposed to moving WHILE shooting and ending up at the same spot. The rest of the stage was the same.

When looking at NO RISK targets (no no-shoots) why not shoot them on the move while covering ground? Weigh that against how fast you can engage them otherwise. In this case the engagement was just as fast whether walking backward or not... hence saved time since well, no matter how fast you run it's always slower than being done already.

I'm going to skip vids of the next 2 stages as they were the classifier and quick shoot. Upon review the one was rushed too much and I got a mike. I just lost visual patience for a split second... and that's all it takes. It's reflected in my time of 5.32 which is clearly the fastest time but the big fat MIKE shows it's just not worth it. Next time see what you need to see! The classifier was an 81% and I'm happy with that. I felt there was a bit clunkyness on it. That clunkyness reinforces my earlier thought that I can generally shoot in A Class and I'm just waiting on enough break-outs to move up and start that process over again. IT WILL HAPPEN. What I'm saying is, if clunky is A Class, when I can smooth that out I'll hit M for sure. I'm glad I remembered my goal of rehersing the micro movements.

I threw up a POV vid of the last stage. (youtube link) as this was a great run. I'm very happy with my movement here and I particualarly like the last 3 arrays. Basically the two targets before the reload and then the last 4. I got them on the move and didn't slow down at all. Smooth, fast and mostly Alphas. My time was great... but I got a Mike on the very first array in the doorway. I can remember vividly looking at it and still thinking about the marginal hit on the first target and NOT seeing the first hit on the second target. I knew damn well that marginal hit was good. I just hung around dwelling on it while the rest of my body was engaging target #2 and it didn't catch up until I was finished. In the vid I can hear myself talking to the RO about that first target. When I got back there I saw the mike. D'oh! However, the rest of the stage is a positive note and good way to wrap up this journal entry.

My Goals for the next match:... CUT AND PASTED with 2 Additions.

Keep narrowing down that Alpha getting and repeating "Charlies are the new Deltas" until you can cound Charlies on one hand, or stop caring to count them.

Look harder at micro movements in a classifier. Reherse them just like a walkthrough.

+ Think about the stage plan and optimize each section for wasted time.

+ Review your goals before the match.

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I shot a local match at Centennial Gun Club tonight. Indoor matches are not quote up to par, but overall it had some great stage design.

I kind of felt like I was an instructor more than a competitor. These matches are probably around 60% first time, or very new shooters. I was the only open shooter on the squad and I was far above anyone else in shooting ability. This is kind of drag when it happens as I don't really have anyone to relate to and feel like I'm showing off a bit. I think it makes me shoot a bit sloppy and it showed in my score. I got several mikes and a no-shoot, and I think if there were some more experienced shooters on the squad I would have been more careful and no just ran through it with kind of a "these people won't notice any mistakes" kind of attitude. Maybe it's an ego thing or just a stupid mental game, but I need to get over it and compete to my highest ability no matter who's watching or what I'm doing. It's not like its conscious and I'm only thinking like this in retrospect and written out like this it makes me look like a huge a-hole. Bringing it front and center like this can only be a good thing and help me get my shit together when shooting these matches.

I'm going to skip reviewing individual stages this time. With the exception of the fact that I need to learn to watch the dot and ignore indoor dot-ghosts or reflections, or whatever makes me unsure that I've even seen the dot. I have fun, but don't think there's a bunch to analyze and learn from except for mental stuff I just said.

On a non-performance related note however; it's a LOT of fun helping new shooters out and they are so polite and ask questions that I really enjoy answering for them. I like giving them little tips that help to make them have more fun and I hope that I honestly do give them something to help bring their shooting along.

I think I need to forget about looking at these matches as a major performance building opportunity for myself and just give that opportunity to new shooters.

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I got a chance to practice on Friday and then shoot a local match on Sunday at Aurora Gun Club. I designed a stage that was a "1 per paper" stage and it all stemmed from a funny 5-Head target that I dreamt up in an effort to make people laugh. I like stages that make people aim with odd angles to my targets and lots of opportunity for mikes or no shoots. And I always put something in there to make people wonder what the hell I was thinking when I designed this. This one was no exception. The odd target was 5 head's on a pentagon piece of hard cover so it was like a Texas star.

Anyways, it was the first stage my squad shot and here's me shooting it. (youtube link) From a performance perspective and looking at what I did, I like the way I came out of the holster at the same time I stepped into position. No wasted time there and the transition was nice and quick to the right array. Thinking about the shooting I might have been running it a bit cautiously but they were good hits. After the reload which I'll cover next, I really picked up the pace and I like the cadence that I maintained. A pretty decent stage, but I did get a mike on that texas star style head shot. I can see why when identifying areas for improvement. First is the reload... it took about 5 steps and I dropped my arm way too low. Something that was needed since I was running during the entire process. I should have kept my gun UP and reloaded within the first step or two and then hauled much faster to the door. Then, when I got to the door I stopped way to soon and didn't adjust my platform properly as I made it around. I did OK initially, but because I was so far right in the door I got a funny angle by the time I shot the 5 Head one (and miked) and the last two on the right I was leaning waaaay out of position... those were 2 Deltas. Next time, think about the platform and stab that position better.

The next stage (youtube link) allows for more areas of improvement. I was happy with most of the movement here and although I got the fastest time on the stage by far, I nailed 2 No Shoots in the process. They are in the hard leaning, middle position, and I just didn't have the patience to stabilize before taking a risky head shot with a no-shoot directly below it. I wish I would have identified that during the walkthrough as a high-risk target and reminded myself to shoot that at a much slower pace than the previous targets. Next time, I'll add a second to the position and get the hits. That's what everyone else did that beat me on the stage. Generally though, I like the movement I did. Looks like I powered out of the positions as aggressively as I could and my footwork looked funny straddling the line into position 4, but it was quick and with the angle of the line I think running on one side or the other would have been slower. Not a bad stage for 95% of it.

The classifier, Pucker Factor 09-04 (Youtube Link) looks good to me now, but while shooting it, I didn't quite have the visual patience to get the A-Hits I thought I needed. I got like 4 charlies and was a bit disapointed. However, I scored an 85% on it as those charlies were awfully fast. So after not being too happy, then getting a chance to review the video. This stage is easily filed under "as well as I can shoot" and I'm glad to have it in my recent 8. My strategy on these is to shoot "easy to hard" and that's why I shot from back to front as opposed to front to back like on "down the middle." Those targets are all the same difficulty so the closest one is the easiest as opposed to this one where you really need to be concentrating and "settled in" by the time you get to that head shot. You can't afford bravo-charlie shots (or worse, MIKES) on the head shot. Also, I think as you process what's happening in your sight I think it becomes increasingly more difficult to adjust your aim point and on that far target you've got to aim LOW Alpha/Charlie zone (my gun shoots high at that distance) and once you've done that out of the draw transition shots become automatically center A-Zones. By then the targets are close enough to be dead-on. I think I was super smooth out of the holster also and my cadence was rock solid too. For all these reasons I was rewarded with an 85%, my strategy is validated (for now) and it's time to kick it up with higher accuracy!

Finally, Which way (youtube link) is really only in here for on reason. Movement. I really like the way I was able to use my stepping in time to build my draw and start shooting pretty darn quickly. After a bit of stance "edits" that might fall under the needs improvement category, I left that position very quickly and eased into position 2 nicely. It could have been better, yes, but the edits were minor and I got very good hits there. Then, I do the step out and spring off the trailing leg move that's on my goal list to get out of position 2 very quickly. I can remember REALLY RUNNING. That was seriously as fast as I can move my ass. Then I was able to hit the brakes just in time to stab that final position precisely. That "explode-run-ease into" final position is really the reason for all my positivity here. I had a darn mike on the stage, but in true "with winning in mind" form I want to go away thinking about that movement. It was responsible for a very quick cadence on the final 4 targets and you can see I don't move my platform an inch while engaging them and got very good hits. I stood there checking them while the RO wondered if I was going to shoot some more because I was surprised how quick I was able to shoot them. hehehe. Fun stuff!

Another aspect that I want to say about this stage was that it was actually pretty tricky. That distance was measured out (surely by accident) so that a shooter would reach his top speed at the exact moment he needed to start slowing down. Many shooters on my squad (and I'm sure many more) didn't start slowing down soon enough and overran that last position. I saw that and cautioned myself to pay attention to that while running.

Goals for next time.

Keep narrowing down that Alpha getting.

Look harder at micro movements in a classifier. Reherse them just like a walkthrough.

Think about the stage plan and optimize each section for wasted time.

Review your goals before the match.

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I practiced today at an indoor range in Longmont called Trigger Time. A really nice range where you can draw from holster and no restrictions on rapid fire.

Since it was raining this was our only choice... well, besides working and to hell with that!

I shot about 200 rounds in a couple of hours. I ONLY took my Camo gun because I knew it could use the sight-in and I still don't trust it 100% since all the work.

I spent the first part making sure my accuracy was good and it's about 2" high at 25 yards and right on at 10 yards. This should be the normal accuracy that I'm used to.

Then I hit the real practice. The target system there allows for random distances and rotates the target for 2-3 seconds. It does this 10 times.

I just let it go and every time it turned I drew and put 2 rounds in the target. I did this for like, 180 rounds and was really feeling good by the end.

The last thing I did was a 1.5 second turn at a fixed distance (the only way to get the timing lower than 2 seconds.)

I was easily able to draw and call 2 alphas with this timing. Any faster, like 1.2 and I could still make the motions work but couldn't maintain accuracy at the same level as 2 seconds.

This seemed to be a valuable training day for me as it included some tuning and then just practicing one drill until I felt really good about it.

The gun did jam once. Not sure what to think about that yet. Nothing is perfect, but I think I'll use old Shiny for Nationals coming up just to be sure.

The main things I learned or reinforced from a day like today was:

1. KNOW the accuracy of your gun and practice it often enough that you still remember it.

2. There's nothing wrong with doing 1 drill repeatedly, as long as you are maintaining your skills. I was careful to leave before I took it to the point where my accuracy faded.

My goals haven't changed, even for practice and I think I met the one about all alphas and not pushing speed over accuracy.

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I shot a local match at Yampa Valley Practical Shooters this weekend. I've never been there and the funny thing is, I heard that those guys weren't very friendly up there. Nothing could be further from the truth. They were a great bunch of guys (like almost everyone I've met in this sport) and it is a very nice range. It turned out to be a nice sunny day, and they made up some pretty darn good stages. I'll be back up there for sure.
I took zero vids, but shot the match with Charlie and he gave me a bit of a pointer session on the way home. He made a couple of points and looking back, I knew all these things but just didn't put them into action. My goal list will change accordingly and hopefully I'll see a bit of improvement for it.

My first stage I was very happy with my accuracy and only got ONE charlie. I had a slight hesitation on target #1 as it was a 3 per paper stage, but once I got past that, I ran quick and was happy with the results.

Second up was a stage that had many possibilities. I didn't maintain quite that level of accuracy, but again was happy with how I moved. I hesitated for what was probably a full second after the first shooting position and looked around for the target I thought I forgot. Nothing came up so I was off and running. There was no missed target, and the other thing I could have improved on was the swinger. I hit that thing in full ambush mode and didn't take the time to track it or place my shots worth a damn. I heard a barrel hit so I put 3 rounds down there and wound up with a C-D on it. I should have posted another second on my time and at least put an A-C on it.

Next was the classifier "Merle's Standards" yeesh! I vividly remember coming out of my draw onto the first target and the dot just landed right on it. I got excited and railed the 6 virgina count rounds downrange like that target was 10 feet away. The only problem was, it was 105 feet away (or something like that) and by the time I realized I was not seeing what I needed to see to call those difficult shots I was done and the reload was in full swing. The rest of the stage, including said reload, went very well. I stabbed both reloads in my parking position very nicely and my weak hand only run got me all 6 Alphas. I went down to the far target and found that my loss of visual patience cost me 4 Mikes. If I can control that initial ass-haul mode on that first target I think I can do very well the next time I see that stage.

Finally, the last stage was a lot of movement. This is one where I shot OK, moved super fast but failed to meet my "optimize the stage" goal. I got hung up right away with a poor stage plan and despite Charlie trying to correct me, I stuck to my flawed plan. I ran this stage in 19 seconds and took 3 shots to take down the initial steel. This was caused by my desire to hit a single target and haul ass to the next box. I actually ran this stage again after the match and did it in 16 seconds by staying there and taking 3 paper targets while in that same box. I'm not going to get into details on the stage, but it pointed out that it's better to go ahead and settle into a shooting position and get better points instead of "shoot on the move" and risk several mikes while you are trying to get out of a position.

So based on Charlie's feedback and reviewing my performance over the last couple of matches. I'm going to ditch my previous goal of just trying to narrow down Alpha-getting. I think at this point, accuracy is already part of my mindset and I don't need to continue to sacrifice other skills to try to get better at accuracy alone. That will come with more trigger time.

Now my new set of short term goals is:

Speed up the shooting by working on visual patience, but breaking that shot the instant I see what need to see.
(I know what an alpha looks like... stop confirming it and let it happen)
Think about the stage plan and optimize each section for wasted time.
Look harder at micro movements in a classifier. Reherse them just like a walkthrough.

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Well, I'm at Nationals. I just want to do better this year than last. No lofty goals. I just want to do all the stuff I need to make each shot my best and let others decide my place on the board later. (where have I heard something like that before?)
I shot 2 local matches the weekend before, but with Nationals stuff I didn't have time to journal about it. Both matches had some errors relating to my new goal to speed up the shooting a bit. I've decided that I still need to try to speed things up, but cannot let myself completely forget about the importance of Alphas. So a bit of pressure on the brake pedal should bring me to a place where I'm getting alphas as fast as I can.

I just finished Day 1 and watched some vids. With the incredibly slow Wifi at the hotel I've only managed to upload 2 vids but will still talk about Day 1 as a match to hopefully dump all my thoughts about it and move onto Day 2 without dragging anything with me.

The first stage I seemed to come out of the gate really hot. It was Stage 23. (http://youtu.be/NA8eAd72LaY) I just couldn't seem to keep the gun straight and literally shook from side to side while trying to aim. I missed a LOT of mini poppers and although I came out without a complete disaster (no misses or penalties) I didn’t feel good about my first run. The only positive aspect I can pull from it was that I nailed a swinger array that proved very difficult. It was a “Activator – Static – Swinger” type of array, but the activation was very quick and the swinger was only visible for about 45 degrees. I hit the steel, went over to the swinger and put 1 solid alpha hit on it. I then went and got the static and put another alpha hit on the swinger on the way back. That felt good and went a long way toward forgetting about all the other things I didn’t like about the stage. My movement looked a bit labored and I had a “shove off” action each time I got out of a position that contributed to the clunkiness of the run.
Second stage went well with shooting, but the gun jammed. Other than that technical problem I liked what I saw in the sights and for such careful shooting from the video looked about as fast as I could shoot that one. The positive take-away on this would be my ability to clear the jams efficiently and get back on the same target without blowing the Virginia count and adding penalties to such a bad stage.
Stage 25 I was happy with. Nothing spectacular, but shot it pretty easily and smoothly, especially when comparing to how my day started out. I was finally calming down and shooting like I can shoot.
Next up was stage 26. A run that really got my juices flowing. Reviewing the vid on this one shows a smooth run and I like what I see. When it comes to the punch line (final array sliding down a rail from left to right) I’m all warmed up and shot that about as well I think I’m capable of. I did drop two points on it, but what was nice is I saw the whole thing and found that target “easy” because of how well I was seeing. I was comparing my movement between that and Stage 23 and can see that I’m smoothly coming out of each position and not doing “a slight Rock back and the push forward” that I’m doing on that first stage.
The next three stages show nothing spectacular, and I’m going to sum up today's journal with the note that I think I’m starting to improve my movement. I’m not getting somewhere and then performing extra motions such as getting low and I’m not habitually moving out of a position with any extra “rock back” or other movements that I can see. The shooting seems to have calmed down and I’m calling shots within my ability. I just need to keep doing these steps one at a time and moving forward.

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Well, I’m sitting here waiting for Day 4 of nationals. Due to the schedule, I didn’t get a chance to journal Day 2 so I’ll need to review 2 days of shooting this morning.
Overall the shooting was pretty decent. I didn’t do anything particularly out of the ordinary and that’s really all I want. My main goal here is to well.. Remember my goals and consistently do what I need to do. Shoot like I shoot… one stage at a time…one round at a time.
That’s the way I felt Friday. The second stage I shot I kind of “fell apart” and I even said that to the RO. Looking back at the video though (youtube link) it just wasn’t that bad. I got all my hits and did what was required to make sure that happened. I had to go back on a couple targets in position 2 and 3 and that feels bad, but beats the hell out of moving on and beating yourself up over not shooting with your eyes. If it wasn’t right the time for correction is the instant it happened, I think. In other words. Even though the stage run wasn’t great I saw a mistake. Fixed it. Moved on and learned a lesson. Movement looked good and my hits were just fine.
The rest of the day went fine and at this moment can’t really pick out a striking positive but I also can’t pick out a striking are that needs improvement. Maybe THAT’S the positive?
Yesterday (Saturday) it was raining like hell. I couldn’t use my glasses or progrip but I think in only 1 case that was an issue. No vid on that stage, but I triple tapped some rounds downrange and both the RO’s and I thought maybe the gun wasn’t working properly. I had a bad grip coming out of the holster and when I feathered the trigger for a shot the gun rocked back and forth in my hand and I rattled off 3 “fully auto” shots. Scared the hell out of me for both the obvious safety reasons and I thought the RO would stop me. He didn’t and I composed myself and moved on for a very good stage run.
My best movement was in stage 11 (Youtube link) I shot the poppers on either side with my eyes, calling the shot the instant it broke and therefore was able to move out quickly. When I went into the middle I put 3 rounds into the right front target due to some over excited energy going in, but settled into that awkward position exactly the way I wanted to. That enabled me to hammer the last targets in the back and complete the stage very strongly.
Sure the day had some areas that can be improved upon, but I would say that’s only the goals I’ve already set about getting more alphas and giving up a bit of time to be more accurate. Today I’ll just concentrate on that. I don’t want to get hung up on mental battles with the fact that it’s the last day. I’m just going to shoot like I shoot, and go alpha hunting.

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I had my final day at Nationals. I rained some more and even hailed for a while. Our group was definitely the unlucky ones when it came to whether. I don’t feel like it was a disadvantage, but who could argue that it didn’t cause some issues? Might our times have been a tad better overall if we didn’t have to shoot at bags? I’m not sure, but I can see why it gets people down. I just refuse to let it. I had a great time and my overall experience with this year’s nationals was very good.

What I did? I shot to the best of my ability this year. I was able to maintain my mental stability throughout and really performed well when it came to just doing one stage at a time and not letting the previous stages performance affect my next one. I did this each day and feel like I shot the last stages just as well as the first ones. This is actually very exciting for me as this is something I’ve rarely successfully done. Having done it here I can now clearly feel what it feels like and can work build on this as a recipe for success. As far as the shooting goes, I don’t think I did anything spectacular. I shot a bit conservative and didn’t take any risks. I picked each stage run with the lowest risk in mind and regret it on a couple of stage, but for the most part I’m happy with what I did.

A couple of things I did particularly well, would be Stage 11, Blaster Master. I scored 15th overall on that stage and just happened to hit everything. I called my shots, moved quick and got into quite the awkward center position exactly as I practiced it which allowed me to continue calling shots and took me to a smooth finish. The other think I like that I did was to reload very well. I didn’t fumble a single reload. In one instance I left my #1 mag pouch empty and when I reloaded my hand just naturally passed up that pouch and landed on mag #2 and I reloaded without missing a beat. I remember thinking “huh, that just came out of #2” while engaging the next array.

I was rewarded with a 6th place A Class finish for this nationals and with my best place yet in the books, I can look forward to some new goals for next year and my matches down the road.

New goals for this year:

Push HARDER. I definitely need to try to pick up my Alpha hunting speed and narrow down splits just a hair. Sometimes I surprise myself and while a clean Nationals is a feather in my cap, it’s a sign that I could have pushed a bit harder. You have to break some eggs to make an omelet.

Work on way more aggressive movement. I’m just not getting low enough and pushing hard enough between positions. Watching videos of the GM’s on the same stages I was on I can plainly see why they are consistently about 2 seconds faster. They aren’t normally more than 2 seconds faster… usually I’m only trailing by that 2 seconds. Where is that time? Splits and moving slightly faster. They just get a bit lower and wait another step before putting on the brakes entering their next position.

Find more mentors. I need to work on some more training in the form of classes or get on some squads at major matches that have plenty of GM's.

To sum it up for moving forward:

  1. Push harder at those alphas.
  2. Get lower and more aggressive at movement.
  3. More classes and squads with GM's.

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Great job at the Nationals!!!!

I also think that your goals going forward are right on target. Keep up the good work and before you know it you will be where you want to be.

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