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Glock26Toter

Camo Cowboy's performance analysis journal

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Well, we skipped the match this weekend.  It was pretty cold for Florida and there were some other factors that made us worry about other things for once.  (I know some people that will give me quite a bit of shit for bringing up the frigid conditions, but hey... we moved here to be warm!) HAHA.

Anyways, we did get out Saturday and practice.  I decided to just do a couple of runs of the Dot Torture drill to reinforce accuracy only.  It did the job nicely of reminding both of us that trigger control and careful aiming are not something that we can just take for granted.  

 

My arm too, with the increased recovery exercises has been getting better.  I had a buddy of mine contact me in PM about some recovery exercises.  Due to significant travel challenges (the decision to cross the border to and from Mexico daily, and stay in the US) I was unable to reply.  But to clear things up the extension and other recovery exercises are the only one's that I've ramped up.  The point being, kind of like when I was grip strength training way back.  If you do a weight that can easily do like a billion times then you aren't weight training.  My right arm healed very quickly because as soon as the pain was gone I hit it pretty hard with relatively heavy weights.  The left arm, I realized I was babying too much.  Although there was some level of pain, by icing and hitting the recovery exercises religiously and much harder the pain is basically gone at this point.  Once in awhile, during the day I might feel a slight twinge but it seems the more aggressive recovery has been working.  So after only about 2 weeks of the more aggressive regimen I feel like I might just get past this thing.    Also, with normal weight training any pain and it's a no-go.  So I'm anxious to get the arm up to the level that I can actually increase my standard weight training.  Soon I'll be all svelte and people will mistake me for JJ Racaza.  HAHAHA.

 

I started reading Brian Enos' book again.  It's been a long time.  It's full of the stuff I really need to hear right now.  If anyone seeing this has not read it, it's a must-read.  I started to "write a book" a while ago.  Inspired by Brian I'm going to hit it again.  I'm NOT even close to interested in writing a real book.  However I think attempting to explain my personal style and how I've learned and interpreted things I've done to get where I am is a good way to analyze myself.  It's kind of like a "technical version" of this journal.   By trying to explain it, I might better understand it and learn more.  

 

So, in summary.  Arm is getting better, practice was good.  Excited for next weekend for some real shooting.  

 

Moving forward I'll work on this:

 

Shed the expectations.  Certain times, or certain placement are not part of performance.  Just shoot and enjoy.

No matter how long it takes, get the alpha. 

Increase alphas by 2%/month at least. 

Keep the energy up.  Be more encouraging, and more engaging to everyone on the squad. 

Remember your most important tool for shooting.  Work on the body and get the arm back in the game.

   

  

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I shot a local match this weekend at Hansen Range.  I also took Friday off and we ran down to Hansen for some practice.  I worked with Heather on some group shooting.  No pressure, no timer.  We just shot the tightest groups we could and concentrated on trigger work.  We also did some swinger training.  I setup an open one, and a 1/2" barrel covered one.  We worked on tracking and trying to get the hits during the swing for a bit.  Then we did a drill where we put as many hits on a swinger as possible while it was exposed.  I was able to land 6 OK hits at most, and 5 alphas without feeling super rushed. 

 

At the match, we were faced with several swingers and the training came in handy.  My main focus was to make progress on my goal set and shed the weight of the timer and any thought of where I might place and what any other shooter may, or may not be doing.  

I really feel like I made some progress on my goals.  A clean match with only 4 deltas.

I did a good job of not worrying about what anyone else was doing, or trying to rush or "be fast" at anything.  I just got my hits and concentrated on calling every shot. 

I sort of lost it on one stage where I had a malfunction.  I allowed myself to get into makeup mode for a few of the "easy" targets and it cost me in my alpha count.  

Looking at the percentage I was 68.2% alphas for the entire match.  If I removed the one bad stage I was 71.7% alphas.  So overall the goal had some progress. 

Both Heather and I did a better job at staying up on the energy and shared cookies with our squad as well as paid attention to how they were shooting and congratulated good runs.  As well as joined in when mags were dropped and good natured ribbing was in order.  

 

I was also able to smoke the classifier and had a pretty spicy run at the stage before it.  With the classifier as our final stage I left the range smiling from ear to ear about logging a GM score for a change.  

 

My arm, sitting in the idle position for over 2 weeks now with increased recovery exercises took a step backwards after the match.  It felt fine on Sunday, but on Monday hurt like hell.  I went to an acupuncture appointment today with a new doc.  This one has a much different approach (more like my Colorado guy with more needles and more time relaxing with them in).  I'm hoping it will be more effective.  I'm pretty disappointed and will cease arm workouts altogether for a couple of weeks to see if acupuncture only can make the pain go away.  I never pushed it to the point of pain with the standard workout, but could have slowed down the recovery I guess.  I don't know what to do with recovery exercises.  Since they don't seem to be doing anything I think I'll just cease those as well and see if I can let an aggressive acupuncture schedule heal things.  No travel until Jan 8th so a bunch of time to get some good poking in.  

 

Moving forward here's the goal list again:

 

Shed the expectations.  Certain times, or certain placement are not part of performance.  Just shoot and enjoy.

No matter how long it takes, get the alpha. 

Increase alphas by 2%/month at least. 

Keep the energy up.  Be more encouraging, and more engaging to everyone on the squad. 

Remember your most important tool for shooting.  Work on the body and get the arm back in the game.

 

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No matches for 2 weeks.  Heather and I have done a bit of dryfire and a live fire practice yesterday.  Currently heading to Colorado through New Year's we will not have any practice this weekend.  I'm trying to let my arm recover through this period as I've been pretty discouraged lately.  The new acupuncture doc has made no improvement so far. Only 3 treatments though. I've been trying to just let it rest and not do anything to aggravate it.  

I really hope I can get this arm working. I can't imagine that I'm ever going to shoot to my full potential with this pain and obvious grip lopsidedness that it comes with.

I just spent a lot or time doing some additional research and the only missing recovery exercise is twisting and bending. I purchased all 4 of the therapy bar devices.

Along with that I've found that "complete rest" is not something universally recommended.  Tendon issues may be best healed by performing recovery exercises as long as they are done without making the pain worse.  With that in mind I'm going to get more aggressive once again.  Although, I'm still going to cease the upper body weight training.

 

So, moving forward.

Continue Acupuncture.

Get back on recovery, adding in the bending/twisting.

Increase message and stretching.

 

 

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I shot a match this weekend at Hansen Range.  Really it was only a lesson in attitude and not skill.  My first stage went pretty poorly and I paid the price for not dry firing and skipping practice on Saturday.  Just too much stuff going on.  The good news is, I'm able to start producing a few frames, but even that lack of practice is showing with plenty of mistakes and frustration in the wood shop as well.

 

On the 2nd stage my gun malfunctioned about 4 times.  Failed to feed.  A trip to the safety area showed that the comp was loose.  It had rolled over enough to catch the guide rod in the groove and prevent the slide from closing.  I thought I was out for the match since I chose to take only one gun.  

 

The stage after that, I used a friends backup gun and it didn't feed my ammo so more malfunctions.  The following 2 stages I used another buddies gun and it ran great.  However, the shooting was not up to par.  Thanks to awesome new friends I got to shoot the entire match.  Try out some new guns, and still have a great time.  The victory here is that even with a colossal failure I still managed to keep my head in the game and have a good time.  I'll need to remember this next time. 

Meanwhile, Heather had the best match she's ever had and I was super glad to have kept engaged with her and make sure my disaster didn't affect her, or my attitude. 

 

The not so cool part of the weekend is that my arm has taken a pretty big step backwards.  I started training with the flex-bands that I purchased last week. I've only used the lightest one, but either I overdid it (not super likely) or there may be more to it than just tennis elbow.  The joint has always been pretty loose, but now it's pretty obvious that the popping is pretty severe and exactly in the spot that it hurts.  I'm making an appointment with a doctor to see if I can get an xray and a bit more of a diagnosis than just assuming it's the same thing that was wrong with my right arm years ago.  I've always thought the pain was a bit different than the right one.  I can only hope that it does turn out to be the same thing.  A degraded, or damaged joint sounds like a surgical fix and that's not cool at all. 

 

 

 

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Its a bummer to hear about your continued elbow issues. You will probably need better imaging than an X-ray for your Doctor to see what is really going on inside there. An MRI or CAT Scan is probably needed to see what the soft tissues are doing.

 

I never had good luck with the flex bands to work out my extensor muscles. It always ended up hurting me regardless of the weight used. I recently got a friction based twisting machine to complement my standard gripper workouts. The machine is called the "Sidewinder" and I listed a link below to it. I got the Sidewinder Pro Xtreme 3 model because it has a 2 inch diameter handle. The Sidewinder is friction based with a spring loaded tension knob so you can set the friction to whatever level you want. This is not a wimpy machine. I currently have it set at its lowest setting and can go through 20 reps of each position with a short rest between positions. After that my forearms are NUKED. I can especially feel the burn on my extensor muscles since they haven't gotten a serious workout in a long time. The cool thing is that even though this machine can nuke my forearms there is zero pain or repercussions afterwards, unlike using the extension bands. This machine may or may not be what you need to get your forearms back into shape. But I can tell you that its a lot lower impact than using the bands.

 

The really interesting thing to me about using the Sidewinder is that I thought I had really good grip strength before using it. Its teaching me that even though I had pretty good gripping strength my muscles were imbalanced due to the weaker extensiors muscles. I am going to keep using the Sidewinder over the next couple of months to see what the long term results will be.

 

https://sportgrips.com/using-your-sidewinder/

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I skipped a post last week after a local match at Hansen because of a crazy work schedule.  But I did get some practice in, a local match, and then shot the Florida State Champs this weekend.  It was at Universal Shooting Academy and as most of us know, they always put on a good match there.  

 

I finally had a decent performance that I would call "shooting at my ability."  There were plenty of mistakes but nothing that I felt was particularly bad.  Also, there was nothing really particularly good.  Except maybe Stage 11.  I hung onto a stage win on that one and honestly feel it would have been in the top couple no matter who showed up to the match.  I'll be posting a video of it soon, but currently on a flight to our sport's favorite locale... California.  HAHA.

It was a tiny stage, (40 points) but was on that wiggly coil spring mounted platform they have there.  You had to jump off the damn thing, run and get your gun, run to the other side, grab a mag, hit a stomp pad, then jump onto the platform and engage 4 targets.  Two of which were disappearing.  The trick was to get all the hits on the first pass of the moving hard cover.  It had two passes so everyone had a chance.   Jumping onto the platform with some serious Fred Flintstone twinkle toes action was required to even think about getting to those targets before the hard cover hid them.  I did it with some ultra-smooth precision and found that the hits were "almost easy" to make.  Well, I did have 2 charlies but it was still quite a run. 

 

The biggest blunder I made (well, there were two that tied for biggest blunder).  Blunder #1 was a stage that I decided to go the opposite direction of the other top shooters.  There was much discussion, but I had already invested quite a bit of time rehearsing the other way so decided to stick with it.  My decision was based on a decision between two engagements.  I miked a target on one of the engagements that I was advised would be a difficult hit.  Meanwhile, the one I thought they were crazy for shooting the wrong way, was proven easy to accomplish since it was closer and had a much larger "engagement window."  But the blunder was really on a piece of steel.  One lousy mini popper that I shot at 6 times.  I think my arm was pretty crooked during the engagement because it really hurt afterwards.  That would explain the crazy dot that I was trying to get on that piece of steel.  But mostly, no matter what the dot was doing during recoil, I obviously was not waiting for it to get on the target.

 

The other blunder was more mini poppers.  An arrangement of 4 where 2 were activators. A simple 4,3,2,1, swinger/4, swinger/1, routine.  I hit the first activator, and the proceeded to mis the next three poppers.  I went back and took my hits on the swinger and then back across the same order.  That means I hit the last activator last.  Then proceeded to wait out the eternity it took for that final target to show it's ugly face.     

 

From the positive perspective. I had some good shooting moments where I was able to grip the gun hard, get the dot to track consistently and call some good hits.  I moved fast and for the most part will own my stage plans.  I had a good time, kept my energy up for the entire match and only bitched about my arm 100-150 times.  Also, all the bitching was to my wife and not my squadmates.  

 

From the needs improvement side  There were many instances in which I just watched in horror as the dot was vibrating all over the place.  Was this caused by something out of whack in my grip?  Becoming aware of the arm pain?  Letting my elbow bend?  For the most part, the stages that went the worst meant the most arm pain afterwards although I don't recall feeling any pain during.  I suspect it's from recoil with a bent arm and not extra gripping so I'll be watching closely to see if my arm unlocks during my bad runs.   This is supported by a very successful WHO run with no pain afterwards.  I had a fully extended left arm, and firm grip.  After 6 shots, I believe 1 was a charlie and my arm didn't hurt. 

 

Speaking of that darn arm.

 

I went to the doc, they x-rayed and found nothing.  It's off to the MRI next so we'll see what happens next.  Meantime, all I can do it continue the rehab with the bands, bars, and I'll definitely be purchasing one of the Sidewinders that Cha-Lee has turned me onto.   For anyone without hurt arms I would highly recommend doing some real weight training with those devices AND COC grippers.  Not just one or the other.  This will ensure strength building without getting into this situation.  It sucks! 

 

I also will be looking into a new gun.  I've only shot this one gun my entire shooting career and there may be some other brand out there that fits me better, or is just different enough that I can reach a consistent dot track.  I know a firm grip is key to good recoil control, but there are certainly a lot of different guns out there and I need to see if the one I can manipulate at high speed is waiting for me somewhere.  

 

So, back to the goals:

 

Shed the expectations.  Just shoot and enjoy. (working on this still.  Shooting with Speedy was certainly intimidating and took quite an effort not to try to compete.)

No matter how long it takes, get the alpha.  (yeah... even when the dot is going crazy!)

Increase alphas by 2%/month at least.  

Keep the energy up.  Be more encouraging, and more engaging to everyone on the squad.  (really worked on this, I'm starting to talk to more people, make some friends and be a friend to my squadmates.) 

Remember your most important tool for shooting.  Work on the body and get the arm back in the game. 

 

 

 

 

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Well, it's been a little while since my last entry.  There's only been one local match and I shot pretty poorly at it.  Several mikes and I completely blew past a target resulting in quite a disappointing score on that stage.  But I had a good time and just plain don't feel like analyzing it anymore. 

 

I've been doing some thinking about what's happening to me mentally and discussing with Heather.  I think this is as close to burn out as I want to get.  I've had a lot of fun and it's taken a while to admit to myself that I'm just tired of trying so hard.  I love shooting, I love the people, and will not be giving up entirely any time soon.  

What I am going to do is stop taking it so seriously.  I've been writing in this journal that I want to "just have fun" for a while now and I'm going to make some changes to make that happen. 

 

For one thing, I probably won't be updating the journal for a while.  I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their game.  This particular style has worked well for me up to this point.  I can only hope it helps some of the people that have read it along the way. 

I'll pick it back up at some point, but this level of reflection and goal setting is just something I'm going to give up on for a bit and see what happens. 

 

Also, the arm.  I went to the doc today and it was my first meeting with him.  He is a pretty cool dude.  The good news, it's just regular old tendonitis.  Just another case of shooter's elbow and this one just doesn't want to heal.  Why?  Because I keep screwing it up.  This case is, as I suspected pretty severe and in a very tiny localized location.  The right arm was less severe and less localized.  I.e., a larger spot, but less damage.   He's like ''you know what you have to do.'' I can either keep injuring it, or stop injuring it and allow it to heal. 

 

So I'm going to take at least a month off.   No shooting, and full on baby mode with the arm.  Compression sleeve, no over use, and put KT Tape on for anything I need to use it for like woodworking.  I'll see if I can get it healed up and save a few bucks on shooting for just a bit.  If it feels better sooner than that then great... I'll start shooting again sooner.  But I'm mentally prepared for at least a month long break. 

 

When I return to shooting I'm not going to worry about anything.  No major match schedule beyond what's already been paid for.  If I get the arm fixed, and start having real fun again, AND can make a major match down the road I'll be all over it.  But nothing that adds stress to my schedule, budget, or performance.  This will also allow me to save up for a new gun and make some decisions about what I want to purchase when the time comes.  Maybe I'll decide that these guns are good enough for what I do, or at that time I'll want to start working hard again and get something that may take me to the next level.

 

Speaking of next level. 

Since I've made GM the shift from that particular benchmark, to micro-analyzing my performance has been rough.  We "paper GMs'' are often reminded that we are not ''real GM's'' and told ''anyone can make GM'' and that adds to the stress and the pressure to go out and try to hold a candle to ''real GM's."  While it's certainly not everyone it's enough that I've let that pressure leak into my desire to just be me, and shoot.  This may be the top of my ability and if so, who cares? I'm going to have fun here.  If I get good enough later on to silence all the people that think getting here was easy then so be it.  If not, well then I guess this "bottom of the GM's'' is going to be home for me for a while.  I need to stop caring.

 

All this may also be a result of putting undue pressure on myself for "moving to Florida for shooting." It could either be the pressure of that statement, or the weirdness of not having a Winter slow season.  Either way, it's a bit of mental screwing that I hadn't counted on.  Moving here was certainly influenced by my shooting career but if I act like it was the only reason and I have to increase my ability to validate my decision then that's a whole new level of pressure that I definitely need to shed.  The move was full of a hell of lot of other reasons... it was more like, we couldn't come up with a reason NOT to move here.  THAT'S what I need to focus on. 

 

Well, there it is.  This is honestly a culmination of all the feelings I've had for a little while now.  A discussion with Heather recently made me really think about these things.  And here they are.   I feel better having written them.  This darn journaling is one of the best things I've ever done.  

 

Goals moving forward: 

no goals - have fun. 

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It’s about time you come to this conclusion. Putting this adventure into the proper perspective is a must if you expect to have fun long term. Why do you thing I am always joking around at the range? My time on the range is about having fun and enjoying my time there. Do I want to perform my best? Absolutely. But I also realize that if I am not having fun while doing it then it’s not worth doing.

 

The “Paper GM” versus the reality of your performance situation is real. When I made GM I was stuck in this frustrating situation for about 4 years. It took me that long before I was able to compete at a “Real GM” Level. 

 

Dont think of yourself as a “Paper GM”. Instead think of yourself as a Baby GM. Babies need time to grow, learn and mature. We can’t expect to skip this natural learning process no matter how difficult or frustrating it is.

 

Taking time off is a good thing. Even though it does make you a quitter :)

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Sounds  like the tendonitis will help you make the decision to take some time off.  I got it early on from too much dry fire.  It was so bad, I couldn't even shake hands.  

 

I call BS on the paper GM title.  It takes a lot of talent to shoot GM scores on a classifier.  Sure, you might get lucky on one with all open targets, but I have a lot of respect for anyone who can turn in those kind of hit factors.

 

Get well, enjoy life a little more, and we will see you on the range in a couple months I'm sure.

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I'm back bitches!  

I actually shot a match 3 weeks ago, and didn't reflect on it in my journal.  Then I got sick and skipped a match.  This past weekend I shot again and had a great time.  I was not concerned about micro analyzing the stage runs, nor about who was doing what.  I just shot.  

 

My arm didn't bother me and there's almost no pain.  I let it rest for what seemed like forever and that did NOTHING to help.  So I decided to just go for the "work through it" technique.  NOT to be confused with continuing to do tasks that make it worse.  I decided to hit the rehab exercises with an aggressive regimen rather than super light, low reps.  Just then, a buddy contacted me and sent me a link to "yet another rehab program."  Believing I had seen them all, I watched this YouTube Vid just so that I could tell him I had without lying.  It was a new set of exercises that I hadn't seen before, in a regimen that just clicked with me.  I've been hitting it hard at the gym, every other day and doing regular cardio on the other days.  I've been mixing in Tyler twists with the  Therabands, plus a heating pad just about every other day as well.   My forearms have made a noticeable strength improvement and the pain is a very dull, spread out, low level pain now.  I'm certain that it will be gone in another couple of weeks and I can start adding grip strength back into my training.  

 

Regarding things that make it worse, I'm very cautious about what I grip and otherwise do to aggravate it.  I invested in a Shop Fox auto feed unit for my router table that has removed ALL physical strain pushing 100's of feet of moulding through the table.  Not to mention profiling in record time.  That alone has gone a long way toward not making it worse. 

 

Oh yeah... the shooting.   I felt really good about the shooting.  While there were times of some fairly hectic dot tracking for the most part I felt like I was gripping hard enough to get it to track well without hurting the old arm.  I shot a mostly clean match with the exception of some deltas and 1 noshoot on the classifier.  I still managed to get an 87% on the classifier, so I was on pace for a  nice run if I had just landed that shot 1/8" higher.  (I split the perf)  My best stage is the one I really felt like I was trigger freezing the entire time.  Looking back it was because I was not letting myself just hose through it.  It was a hoser stage, with wide open, close targets so charlies and deltas were easy to come by.   While I wound up with more charlies than I'd like I gave up just enough to keep moving and post the fastest time by a fairly wide margin.  

 

So, it feels good to be back.  I'm just going to keep moving along, having fun and not worrying about any major matches until I feel really good about my physical and mental game.  

 

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On 4/17/2018 at 9:49 PM, Glock26Toter said:

I'm back bitches!  

I actually shot a match 3 weeks ago, and didn't reflect on it in my journal.  Then I got sick and skipped a match.  This past weekend I shot again and had a great time.  I was not concerned about micro analyzing the stage runs, nor about who was doing what.  I just shot.  

 

My arm didn't bother me and there's almost no pain.  I let it rest for what seemed like forever and that did NOTHING to help.  So I decided to just go for the "work through it" technique.  NOT to be confused with continuing to do tasks that make it worse.  I decided to hit the rehab exercises with an aggressive regimen rather than super light, low reps.  Just then, a buddy contacted me and sent me a link to "yet another rehab program."  Believing I had seen them all, I watched this YouTube Vid just so that I could tell him I had without lying.  It was a new set of exercises that I hadn't seen before, in a regimen that just clicked with me.  I've been hitting it hard at the gym, every other day and doing regular cardio on the other days.  I've been mixing in Tyler twists with the  Therabands, plus a heating pad just about every other day as well.   My forearms have made a noticeable strength improvement and the pain is a very dull, spread out, low level pain now.  I'm certain that it will be gone in another couple of weeks and I can start adding grip strength back into my training.  

 

Regarding things that make it worse, I'm very cautious about what I grip and otherwise do to aggravate it.  I invested in a Shop Fox auto feed unit for my router table that has removed ALL physical strain pushing 100's of feet of moulding through the table.  Not to mention profiling in record time.  That alone has gone a long way toward not making it worse. 

 

Oh yeah... the shooting.   I felt really good about the shooting.  While there were times of some fairly hectic dot tracking for the most part I felt like I was gripping hard enough to get it to track well without hurting the old arm.  I shot a mostly clean match with the exception of some deltas and 1 noshoot on the classifier.  I still managed to get an 87% on the classifier, so I was on pace for a  nice run if I had just landed that shot 1/8" higher.  (I split the perf)  My best stage is the one I really felt like I was trigger freezing the entire time.  Looking back it was because I was not letting myself just hose through it.  It was a hoser stage, with wide open, close targets so charlies and deltas were easy to come by.   While I wound up with more charlies than I'd like I gave up just enough to keep moving and post the fastest time by a fairly wide margin.  

 

So, it feels good to be back.  I'm just going to keep moving along, having fun and not worrying about any major matches until I feel really good about my physical and mental game.  

 

 

 

I came across that tendonitis workout video a couple of years ago.  I gave it a good go for a few months.  Seemed to work ok but tendonitis still lingered.

 

I got that Sidewinder that Charlie was talking about.  I've been using it for a month.  It's been giving me surprisingly good relief.  I'm not sure where your tendonitis is located but mine is located in the spot pictured below.

 

205292.jpg

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I believe I'll get a Sidewinder soon.  I'm just trying to give the current regimen a chance.  It seems like the flex bars are the same thing from a muscle building standpoint and between that, and the dumbell exercises I'm seeing improvement.  Although some lingering pain still exists.  It's slight, and with KT Tape on during a match I don't feel anything.  

 

I have shot 2 matches without updating this journal.  I'm sucking pretty bad from an aiming perspective.  My lack of practice, and loss of concentration on maintaining a good, strong, aggressive grip is showing.  Posting an embarrassing number of deltas and charlies is the norm now.  I'm not getting too worried about it as I'm still just concentrating on making it to a pain free status before I worry about re-training my grip strength and working on this accuracy issue. 

 

This past Sunday there was a single stage (2nd to last) where I said to myself, "get on the grip!"  I did, and concentrated on a very aggressive grip and aiming run.  This resulted a time that was a couple seconds slower than I could have run, but not only did I increase my alpha hits, but I noticed that on most targets my alphas were only 2-3 inches apart.  On 3 other targets they were touching.  So I can get the gun to track like I used to.  I just need to get my training back.  

 

  

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Although two weeks since my last entry, there was only one match.   I shot it yesterday and was super excited to have an absolutely pain free match.  

Since I went to Scotland a couple of weeks ago I have not done much rehab (10 days off for Scotland) nor shot much.  I think this final rest after a lot of rehab has allowed it to reach a healed condition.  I'll start aggressively working on the rehab exercises again this week.  If there is no pain I'll also start my grip strength training and see if I can build some grip strength back without more injury.   

 

Shooting the match was a heck of a good time.  I knew, while I was shooting I was feeling no pain and was able to grip aggressively and hold the gun hard enough to maintain a decent dot track.  There were a couple of bad calls resulting in 2 mikes for the match but for 99% of all the shooting if I called a marginal shot, I was seeing clear enough and controlling the gun enough to fire a makeup shot.  I still picked up 5 deltas and the alpha count was pretty low for what I would consider a large improvement.  However, this is a good step toward improvement both mentally and physically.  

 

I'm going to seek out some training rather than worry about anymore major matches this year.  I still may get to a couple more, but currently my money has gone into the Colorado State match, Nationals, and training.  After that, if things work out I'll pick up a major or two, but need to get trained for Florida's major match season.. a.k.a Winter for northerners.  

 

Time to review my goals:

Keep having fun.

More physical training.

Continue to work on accuracy as my top priority.  

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I shot a match this weekend.  Forgot my memory card, so no videos.  Some of the shooting was good.  On two stages everything was great resulting in stage wins.  I was gripping hard, dot was tracking. I was liking it.  On the other stages, not so much.  I just didn't concentrate enough on making sure to call every shot.  My primary gun malfunctioned really bad again and caused me to drop an extra mag.  I needed it, so I picked it up and wound up shooting some arrays strong hand only.  It was a bad scene but I just laughed it off.   Something I couldn't do 6 months ago. 

 

I couldn't switch guns because my backup has a loose comp and missing grip screw.  So I'm not doing too well in the equipment department.  Hopefully I'll have them worked out soon.  The gun did run fine the rest of the match though. 

 

Some good news is that I shot another match without any arm pain.  Now I just need to continue getting my body, and gun running again.  I've been slacking on any physical training with a pretty bad work schedule.  Hopefully I can get back on track with that soon.  

 

For training, I contacted JJ Racaza and I'm working on getting signed up for a class.  I don't expect a miracle, but at least need to have some outside help on identifying new goals to work on.

 

 

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I was able to get to a match on Sunday.  Due to a crappy work schedule coupled with laziness this is like, the 4th or 5th match without having sighted in either gun.

Also, the GoPro took another s#!t.   No vids.   

Too bad because one of my stages was actually pretty sweet.  

Aside from that, some of the aiming was OK throughout the match but I still racked up a couple of mikes and too many deltas.  I'm leery of whether I'm the one that miked a few, or if I should have called a C/D hit and wound up with a mike.  

 

Either way, I'm still not reining in my aiming like I need to.  

 

Without practice, what can I expect?  I'm still babying the arm and it hurt during the match on Sunday.  I was pretty bummed but by today it's not hurting anymore.  I'm really just still trying to take it easy and not get to hung up on whether I should be shooting better, or what I should be doing to fix it.  Hell, I'm not even sure why I'm still journaling.

 

I guess I'm just making sure that I don't beat myself up for not getting any better when the only thing I do all week is write about how I didn't do anything to get any better. 

 

So, I have the JJ Racaza class coming up and this has provided some motivation to get something done.  I think within the next couple of weeks I'll get some practice in and hopefully the arm will be stronger than ever.  A few minutes ago I just knocked off of work until next Monday so several days of range time.  I'll at least get my guns sighted in and get some slow-fire all alpha practice going!  

 

Goals are still the same:

Keep having fun.

More physical training.

Continue to work on accuracy as my top priority. 

 

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In my attempt to continue having fun, I have been slacking on the journal.  But have made some progress in shooting and equipment.  

 

With the continued recovery of my arm, I'm getting very satisfied with my ability to track the dot.  I would say it's no longer "out of control" during shooting.  I'm calling almost every single shot.  Even the deltas.  Now, I just need to get control over those moments of allowing deltas to be good enough.  

 

With that in mind I went to the practice range and sighted both guns in.  The backup was dead nuts on.  But the main gun was about 3" high and right. (at 15 yds)  After a slight adjustment I took some closeup vids of my shooting a plate rack.  I did this so that I could watch my thumb, and weak hand in action to determine where I would position a thumb rest.  After all was said and done, I could see that when I was most successful on the rack,  I was gripping very hard with my weak hand and my thumb was basically flat against the C-More mount.  Here's a vid. 

 

What that told me is that I don't need a thumb rest.  So I just stuck some grip tape on the mount where my thumb lands to hopefully increase the effect of my thumb on the gun, even if my grip loosens up.  This has proven pretty sweet in the last two matches.  

 

Then, my guide rod broke.  I don't know if this was related to the latest malfunctions or not, but since it's been to, and back from a gunsmith with a new guide rod and other tuning work, I'm really hoping the malfunctions with this gun are behind me.  

 

I also FINALLY purchased a grip scale after being motivated by Cha-Lee's video on grip strength.  I was surprised that after all my arm crap I've been through I was sitting at 140lbs grip on my weak hand, and 150lbs on my strong hand.  It should only be a matter of a few weeks before I can get them even.   While many will argue this is a project in futility, I personally believe that the closer the two hands are, the easier it will be to maintain a neutral yet very firm grip.  That's my goal.  Once I reach it, I'll be more qualified to comment on it's value.  

 

So, progress on all fronts.  I'm having just as much fun as I was before I moved.  The decision of "should I be doing this with my arm" is starting to fade at the thought of every movement, especially shooting.  And the accuracy, well I'm finding that with more consistent dot tracking, there is progress.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I was able to make a match on Sunday at the WAC, in Clearwater FL.   It's hilariously humid in SWFL right now so it was a relief to shoot a match in the shade.  

 

I didn't get any vids, but overall I had a good match.   It started off with a headshot only classifier, (It's not brain surgery).  This was an excellent reminder that my primary goal was accuracy.  I managed to snag a 98% on that classifier.  I didn't worry about anything.  Just aimed and went through the motions. 

 

Moving on, I had a couple of rough stages where I forgot my primary goal.  On the 4th stage of the day I shot more charlies than alphas.  This was a stern reminder to get back on track. 

 

The 5th stage was particularly notable for goal progress.  There were some upside down targets, a couple of long shots and some shoot on the move ones to round out a very good shooting challenge.  (It was called "10 minute build" but seemed more like something from a major match with a lot of planning.)  I was very happy with how I was able to not even think about my movement and just aimed and waited for the sight picture I wanted on each shot.  When I arrived on the upside down targets I recognized the orientation and didn't break the shot until I had consciously got into that low alpha zone.  There were some partials too, and I did the same conscious aiming that put the hit where I wanted rather than just between the white and the edge.  There was a port to go through and although I had intended to move into it from the previous position by a couple of steps before engaging I got on that first target what felt like way too early.  However, I shortly realized that it allowed me to aim deliberately on the first wide open target while getting into the position that allowed the completion of the position.  This really meant that, while it felt too early it allowed me to enter the port with one target already hit.    

I don't know if my score was anything to get excited about compared to another GM, but for that match it was average hit quality, and a full 2 seconds over the next fastest time.  

 

While only on a couple stages, this match reinforces two things to me. 

First, is that I can put much more thought and care into aiming no matter the difficulty of the shot.  

Secondly, I can trust that while putting my efforts into aiming the movement will generally take care of it'self. 

 

In other words: I showed myself what it is like to get interested in the shooting, and trust that I'll be fast enough.

 

I'm really starting to get some of that old excitement back now.  For the first time in a while I think that there may be some hope for improvement in my game. 

 

To give an update on the arm.  I worry less and less about it, and have even started hitting the grip strength training and adding in some standard arm workouts at the gym. 

 

Goals are still the same:

Keep having fun. 

More physical training. 

Continue to work on accuracy as my top priority. 

 

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Last week I attended a JJ Racaza training course.  This class was amazing and I would highly recommend it.  I was surprised how much I got out of it.  I'm not going to go on an on about it, but JJ has had quite a career and has developed a very enjoyable and concise way of sharing that with people.  It was an absolute pleasure learning from him.  Also, he's a very cool dude.  

 

Overall, it did the job I was hoping and inspired me to get things moving in my own shooting.  I'll begin setting some goals with dry fire training and a more aggressive practice schedule.  I'm having a lot of fun these days and really want to polish my technique and move on from this year long "slump" I've been in.

 

Regarding my arm, I'm going to quit talking about it.  It's not an issue anymore and I've gone on to include all the normal weight training exercises that a guy without tendinitis would do.   This should help increase my total upper body strength, and put the problems farther an farther behind me.  I'm able to control the sight now and any issues with said control are not due to my inability to grip firmly with my left hand. 

 

so, after a 1000 round training class with JJ, I went out the following day to see what I could do.  I sent another 500 rounds down range with accuracy in mind on a dueling tree and 2 paper targets.   The 2 paper targets took about 150-200 of those rounds and I only had a single delta and a handful of charlies.  Overall I met my accuracy goal for training.

 

The following day I headed up to Ruskin for a match.  I was pretty happy with how my newfound skills played out, but there's obviously a long way to go.  There were two stages that were very well designed.  They had some arrays that were just far enough apart to prevent a smooth transition, but close enough that you couldn't justify an exploding, exit.  They required some extreme visual patience as you were forced to very awkwardly try to smooth them out.  I feel like I was generally successful at finding the most efficient way through them. 

 

The match did point out to me that I need to commit more time to practice.  I'm going to get 1 practice day in per week.  If I've been unsuccessful at it, say on a Friday or Saturday, I'll skip the match that Sunday and practice instead.  Prioritizing practice over local matches is something that I think every trainer has recommended and I've never taken that advice before. 

 

I'm also going to get dry fire in my schedule.  JJ said he only dry fires for about 5-10 minutes per day, but does it EVERY DAY.   Yeah, same here back when I used to do it.  

 

So what are my goals after training and a few shooting sessions to think about how it has affected my shooting?

 

Looking at my "work on accuracy" goal I now have a clear understanding of what steps go into having visual patience.  It's more than just waiting for the sight to get on target.  It's how you are manipulating the trigger and how you feel (tactile, not emotional) the relationship of trigger and sights that really make up that patience.  My new goal is going to be to work on that confirmation of trigger prep/prime while maintaining the dot on target.  How can we give ourselves this "extra time" to allow this confirmation?  Get on target sooner.  This is the additional realization that movement is not about your feet.  It's anything that's not shooting.  During the class I was given the proper information and drill to allow me to really see the difference between shooting, then transitioning, and shooting into the transition.  (i.e., flat lining after the shot, VS bumping the gun to the next target.)   I've setup drills and practiced this before and sometimes I was successful.  But what I learned from JJ is a new level of understanding what it looks and feels like to do it right. 

 

Movement?  Well, besides working on micro-movement aspects like transitions, I'm going to work on my smoothness.  This is going to require a lot of work.  Although I'm not exactly a "plant and shoot" guy, there are a lot of things that I do with my feet that I think are fast, but are actually slowing me down.  Avoiding the drop step for instance.  I'm a big drop-stepper.  I'll need to work on looking at the situation and making a better decision on exactly what type of movement to incorporate into it.  Drop stepping is actually a "last resort" movement and there are usually better ways to handle getting through an engagement.  

 

One area I got to test this was Sunday's match.  There was a particular stage where there were several arrays across a long area.  There were 3 places you could shoot everything from.  Or there were about 5 places you could work your way across without ever lowering your gun or taking more than one or two steps.  No time for drop-step or aggressive explosions with the 5 "position" plan.  I was the only one that "shot on the move" across those 5 positions on my squad.  I was about 1 and 3 seconds faster than the next 2 guys closest to me in ability.  Plus I had better hits, and didn't actually shoot anything on the move.  I was shooting when I felt stable and was properly prepped and had my sights confirmed but was already moving out of the position the instant the shot broke.  I was transitioning into the next target and moving into the next position simultaneously.  Therefore, I spent the most time on target possible, allowing the trigger prep and sight alignment to converge without doubt.   I make it sound all like any GM out there didn't stand a chance against me.  I'm fully aware that it was probably 2 seconds slower than any "gown up" GM but for me it was passing a little quiz based on what I had learned 3 days earlier from JJ.  I'm putting this "smoothing out of each position" on my goal list.

 

OK, so this was certainly a windy entry.  Time to get to the goal setting. 

 

Shooting:

1. Prime the trigger.  Feel the wall, push into it. 

2. Watch the aim.  Maintain the dot on target while confirming the prime. 

3. Look it off. Watch the track for the right one.  Should be either the next shot, or next target track. 

4. Keep the trigger ready. Feel the return path and prep.  This will mean more time on target.

 

Moving:

Analyze the spaces.  (spaces between shots on a single array, or spaces between positions) Make sure the movement is the optimal, and only movement executed.  

 

Time:

One practice per week.

4 Dry fire sessions per week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

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I've managed to dry fire a couple of times this week and make a live practice.

In preparation for the ProAm match next week I've been working on lots of reloads out of all pouches.  The reason I'm shooting that match is really to help a new friend out who is involved in running the match and it's very cheap to go to.  (I'm working it as well) So I thought, what the hell.  It's an all steel, all par time match and honestly I don't think I'll do very good at all. 

It will do me some good to gain a new experience.  No expectations, just fun.

 

I have never been happy with my reloads out of pouch #3, but have always blown it off as a "when will I ever use that" low priority skill.  The problem is, in matches like that ProAM, the Monster Match, or Rocky Mountain 300 I use it like crazy.  Also there is the rare occasion when something goes wrong and I need it.  Missing that #3 reload only makes things worse.  You should never have a skill that throws you off.  Practice everything.  

Well, I decided to do something about it and analyzed the troubles I've had.  The main problem is that with my natural reach is downward as I go back.  So I need each mag to be slightly lower than the previous one.  This also prevents pulling two mags and I can get them closer together.   The problem is, that mag pouches are not very well designed for varying drops.

 

I wound up taking an old DAA Racemaster hanger and attaching a DAA mag pouch to it so that I can drop the thing low enough to reach it consistently.  This was possible because the adjusting balls are the same size on both components.  The shafts however are not the same size.  So it took a bit of drilling and coaxing but I got it to swap over.  I also cut the drop shaft off so it doesn't dig into my leg.  It worked great and I'm very happy with my reloads all the way to #3 now.  I've dry fired this for about 25-30 reps and didn't miss a single load with this configuration.

 

image.thumb.png.150d3be29b9c343002014c1ccdd14794.pngimage.png.0f0fba5ae4d85c941d0bd1b1f1161b5c.png

 

With that out of the way I'm looking forward to working on some drills with lots of reloads tomorrow in practice.  I'm considering making Sunday's local match a 10 round capacity match.  That would certainly drive home the planning and reloads.  hmmmmm.

 

Regarding the practice I did on Thursday morning.  I was disappointed at the results of trying to break the trigger work down into the steps I identified in the previous journal entry.  I found myself adding stress, and flinching quite a bit.  In my attempt to become conscious of the prep and time the two events of calling the shot and breaking the shot I added some hand movement in.  I could feel a flex just as I attempted to break the shot and would miss. 

 

I took a break and just "forgot about the training" and was able to pick up my speed and accuracy by a LOT.   I've never had any troubles with my trigger and I think putting too much thought into it, and trying to break it down into too many steps has introduced a lot of error in my current system.  I'm going to shorten my process and not worry so much about that particular part.   Once I just worked the prep as usual and really concentrated on watching the dot for the proper track to clear steel and get into the transition I was much more accurate and relaxed.  I took this lesson to one handed shooting for about 60 rounds and was surprised how accurate I was with either hand. 

 

So dropping the extra detail I'm going to modify my goals. 

 

Shooting:

Look  it off.   Watch the track for the right one.  Should be either the next shot, or next target track. 

Keep the trigger ready.   Fast return path during recoil.

 

Moving:

Analyze the spaces.  (spaces between shots on a single array, or spaces between positions) Make sure the movement is the optimal, and only movement executed.  

 

Time:

One practice per week.

4 Dry fire sessions per week.

 

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