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How Can We Make our Match Performances Equal Our Actual Skill Level?


Robco

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How Can We Make our Match Performances Equal Our Actual Skill Level?

I am currently struggling and wrestling with the very familiar issue of trying to figure out how to perform as well in matches as I do in practice. I am sure there are tons of similar posts but I thought I would start a new one so it will draw some current comments and input.

I have studied Lanny Bassham's good book on the subject of mental management, read/listened to Brian Enos' great book 4 times in the last month alone, and read and thought extensively on this subject. I have experimented with all of these ideas in actual matches in the last couple of months and had a lot of interesting experiences which expanded my knowledge on this particular subject.

However, I continue to fail to find the consistency in match performances I desire and know I am fully capable of at my current skill level. It is as if the "secret" to accomplishing this, is hidden in a locked safe, and I am trying to "crack" the safe combination by casting about from one idea or attempt to the next. Of course, every time I get the wrong "combination" I am a little closer to getting the correct one!

Below is a summary of my thoughts on the subject, as of this morning.

We PUT pressure on ourselves which is the beginning of the end of good performance, before it even starts.

If we have ANY thought in our minds while shooting a stage, other than calling each shot, one by one, then we are essentially defeated from the git-go. I have experienced and proven this to myself hundreds of times, literally. So, you would THINK that by now I would have overcome this error. Well, yes and no. Yes, because I occasionally DO overcome it and shoot well, as I did this weekend in Area 2 on 5 of 14 stages. And NO because, since it is mental, it is not constant and can change in a split second at the speed of thought. I am confident that this problem is a very minor one in fact, and that I will figure out a way to make it work consistently for me. I also suspect that this will be transferable to and adaptable by others, IF they can manage to actually do whatever it is I/we may come up with. Knowing it, and actually DOING it are two different things, obviously, as evidenced by the gap between our actual shooting abilities and skill levels, and our match performances.

Trying, is by definition, a conscious override. This means, we are literally saying to ourselves, that OURSELF is NOT good enough, so "go faster" or "try harder" or "do better" or "bear down" or "don't miss steel" and on and on. As Enos puts it, the only way to perform well is to operate in a state of awareness, which by definition means in the PRESENT moment at all times. As soon as a THOUGHT enters your head, you are no longer aware. The thought instantly puts you OUT of the present. Shots are called ONLY in the present, so if you are thinking a thought, you cannot be calling a shot. This is complex stuff as it happens so fast during competition.

Additionally, if we find ourselves shooting "out of habit" then we are also NOT aware, and not in the present. Shooting a plate rack is a good example. If, instead of shooting 6 separate shots, one by one, we are shooting a "string of 6" indexing instead of actually aiming and calling each shot individually, then that is shooting by habit, and is usually not successful, consistently. It is a slippery slope and the more often you shoot the same drill or course of fire, the bigger the risk of slipping into habit shooting.

At the most basic core of our match performance, is shooting one shot at a time, period. That is the most basic unit of which ALL stages and matches are composed. (I just made this up, sounds pretty good huh!). Unless EVERY shot we shoot is a well executed shot, then our stage and then in turn, our match performance suffers. So the simplest way to assure a good stage and therefore a good match performance, is to succeed on each and every shot, one by one till all are done.

How simple is that! We mess up our performances by literally worrying about and paying attention to all kinds of OTHER STUFF besides the one shot we can be making right now, in the present. And such a distraction often assures a failure in the present current shot. Self-sabotage.

If we can just learn to focus on one shot at a time, we can be the best that we can be. As Enos says, shooting each shot as fast as we can call it, is the SAME for both a C class and a GM. NOT the same speed, but the same relative to each shooter's ability. Trying to shoot faster than your current ability, is guaranteed to be a failure. Like trying to get 2 gallons into a 1 gallon container - not going to work no matter how hard you try!

On match day, we are what we are, in terms of all of our skills and capabilities. At any given point in time, we simply cannot be 101% of what we are, despite any desire to be so. So, our "A team game," as Bassham puts it, is to BE OURSELVES, no more. Shooting at our own actual skill level and speed, etc, is the ONLY consistent way to perform at our optimal level. Not a "hero or zero" mentality or approach, but consistent. We CAN consistently be ourselves. We CANNOT consistently be faster than we actually are. Might get lucky every now and then, but it will not work out well 99% of the time. Observe how many stages in big matches are "won" by A and B class shooters, who finish the match at 60% or less overall against the much more consistent GMs. i.e., they got lucky.

So when we shoot in a match, beyond our actual ability, we crash and burn one way or the other, consistently. "All" we need to do to remedy this major and most common error, is to just shoot as fast as we can actually SEE and CALL each shot. Racing at all, even 1% beyond this will result in failure and inconsistency.

It is literally impossible to be able to accomplish an intent to "shoot faster" because this thought is not really measurable. I cannot for example, "decide" to shoot this stage 2 seconds faster than the time I should be shooting it at. It is impossible to regulate or even comprehend. What would it require? Something like saying, okay, I am going to shoot each transition 1/10th faster and each split 5/100ths faster on this stage. Whatttt!! No way.

So that brings us back to the reality that the ONLY thing that should dictate the speed of our shooting or our performance, is the "sight picture" and calling of the shot - on each shot on each target. Period. Let the sights be the accelerator pedal/speedometer for our shooting. Well, HOW do we manage ourselves to allow this to occur in a match?

My main "answer" is to TRUST ourselves and have CONFIDENCE enough in our abilities, to NOT allow ourselves to be led astray by our ambitions and egos! We have to trust that we will score the highest by simply shooting at our actual ability and comfortable "pace" at all times, for every shot.

So HOW do we manage ourselves so this will occur when the Timer Beep goes off?

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I am currently struggling and wrestling with the very familiar issue of trying to figure out how to perform as well in matches as I do in practice.

I have some train wrecks in practice too, because I'm often pushing the limits a little bit. I want my match performances to be more consistent than practice, not as good as practice (or as bad as practice).

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Practice is where we get to know our skills. We need to be true to that. In practice we may push to see where the upper limit of our skill resides. We are trying to grow that skill. We can have a fantastic outcome from that. Then honesty is required. If we push in practice and have success three of seven tries (as an example) we have not witnessed our skill. We have witnessed our future potential skill perhaps. Our real skill is what performance emerges every time.

So we must be able to be true to ourselves at match time. Do not try to call up the deviant runs. Accept the current run without thought. When that other demon dances on our shoulder at a match, hear it for what it is and do not let it try to displace who we are right now. Some say to "kill it" figuratively.

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I think the primary issue most shooters have in performing worse in match conditions verses practice is that their practice shooting is performed way differently than what happens in a match. Many shooters bring a shit ton of ammo to practice and blast away doing drills or stages in rapid succession. Then they finally get "into the groove" once they are 200 - 300 rounds into the practice session. Doing this invalidly enforces the REQUIREMENT of shooting a bunch of ammo before you are actually ready to perform. When do you get to shoot 200 - 300 rounds of ammo BEFORE you start a match? Never.

Every time I have a fellow shooter or student ask me why they perform better in practice verses a match the first thing I ask them is how many rounds do they normally shoot in practice. I also ask them how many times do they dry fire the practice drill or stage before they actually shoot it. The vast majority of the time they shoot a bunch of ammo and never dry fire the drill or stage before they shoot it in practice. I then ask them how closely does that type of practice mimic what they are tasked with doing in a match. At that point, the light bulb usually goes on when they realize they are practicing in a method that is opposite of what happens at a match. If you are entering a Marathon race and only practice 60 foot sprints, how well are you going to do in the Marathon? Not so good because you will be totally out of your element on race day.

Ask yourself this. How many times have you gone to the range with ONLY 100 rounds of ammo and spent 2 - 3 solid hours of training using only those 100 rounds mixed with dry fire? If you never have, thank you for your donation because you are behind the curve when the match starts.

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Practice is where we get to know our skills. We need to be true to that. In practice we may push to see where the upper limit of our skill resides. We are trying to grow that skill. We can have a fantastic outcome from that. Then honesty is required. If we push in practice and have success three of seven tries (as an example) we have not witnessed our skill. We have witnessed our future potential skill perhaps. Our real skill is what performance emerges every time.

So we must be able to be true to ourselves at match time. Do not try to call up the deviant runs. Accept the current run without thought. When that other demon dances on our shoulder at a match, hear it for what it is and do not let it try to displace who we are right now. Some say to "kill it" figuratively.

I agree 100% SonofSpartans. Steve Anderson makes the good point that practicing both speed and accuracy at the same time, is not effective. I agree. And this rules out practicing full stages trying to run them faster and faster. Instead, Steve (and myself) prefer drills to work on isolated skills one at a time. I learned the hard way, after not knowing how to practice for 3 years, that running in the red all the time in practice was training me to do the same in matches. And that never works out well, of course.

"Trying" to push it in a match, is the surest way to have a poor result. Much better off shooting at 99% of your skill level than at 101%.

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I generally don't have a problem of feeling like I perform better in practice than in matches, but it makes sense to me to do a couple drills (short courses or classifiers) at the start of each live-fire session, and treat them like a match and record the scores. Even then I'm still pushing a little harder than in a match since the consequences of overtrying is only a bad run and the note-to-self to see more and try less, but those scores should somewhat approximate what I'm capable of doing in a match, and it gives me a feeling of what match intensity feels like.

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I think the primary issue most shooters have in performing worse in match conditions verses practice is that their practice shooting is performed way differently than what happens in a match. Many shooters bring a shit ton of ammo to practice and blast away doing drills or stages in rapid succession. Then they finally get "into the groove" once they are 200 - 300 rounds into the practice session. Doing this invalidly enforces the REQUIREMENT of shooting a bunch of ammo before you are actually ready to perform. When do you get to shoot 200 - 300 rounds of ammo BEFORE you start a match? Never.

Every time I have a fellow shooter or student ask me why they perform better in practice verses a match the first thing I ask them is how many rounds do they normally shoot in practice. I also ask them how many times do they dry fire the practice drill or stage before they actually shoot it. The vast majority of the time they shoot a bunch of ammo and never dry fire the drill or stage before they shoot it in practice. I then ask them how closely does that type of practice mimic what they are tasked with doing in a match. At that point, the light bulb usually goes on when they realize they are practicing in a method that is opposite of what happens at a match. If you are entering a Marathon race and only practice 60 foot sprints, how well are you going to do in the Marathon? Not so good because you will be totally out of your element on race day.

Ask yourself this. How many times have you gone to the range with ONLY 100 rounds of ammo and spent 2 - 3 solid hours of training using only those 100 rounds mixed with dry fire? If you never have, thank you for your donation because you are behind the curve when the match starts.

Charlie - that is good advice. Paul Clark told me at the 2013 Nationals, that he practices shooting stages, NOT to try to be faster each time, but rather to be CONSISTENT each run. At the SAME time and HF on each run. Thus simulating match "speed." I have also heard of top shooters practicing COLD runs only. Meaning, they shoot a drill or stage COLD, without a single warm-up round. Then take a 15 minute break and come back and do another COLD run. Etc.

So in the last year, I changed the way I practice, a lot. In the last 4 months I feel my value-per-round shot in practice has skyrocketed. I shoot much lower round counts in most practice sessions, and get a lot more out of the sessions too. And when I do setup a practice stage, I always walk it in dry fire, just like at a match.

Excellent advice! And congrats on your Area 2 performance.

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I generally don't have a problem of feeling like I perform better in practice than in matches, but it makes sense to me to do a couple drills (short courses or classifiers) at the start of each live-fire session, and treat them like a match and record the scores. Even then I'm still pushing a little harder than in a match since the consequences of overtrying is only a bad run and the note-to-self to see more and try less, but those scores should somewhat approximate what I'm capable of doing in a match, and it gives me a feeling of what match intensity feels like.

Motosapiens, I used to do the same thing, pushing all the time in practice. But all I ended up doing was making my match performance running off the ragged edge of my control too. So I changed to making my PUSHING it in practice drills special and different, i.e., NEVER stage-like drills, so I could keep it differentiated in my mind. Pushing myself = Practice drills only, Stage Shooting practice = Match mode only. Has worked well undoing the damage I did to myself in my first three years.

We should push ourselves in practice, carefully, in order to break barriers and test limitations, etc. I am sure this is necessary to progress. But like dry firing "dishonestly," running stages in the red-line in practice can carry over into match performances when the buzzer goes off and your training kicks in subconsciously.

Thanks for your thoughts.

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I generally don't have a problem of feeling like I perform better in practice than in matches, but it makes sense to me to do a couple drills (short courses or classifiers) at the start of each live-fire session, and treat them like a match and record the scores. Even then I'm still pushing a little harder than in a match since the consequences of overtrying is only a bad run and the note-to-self to see more and try less, but those scores should somewhat approximate what I'm capable of doing in a match, and it gives me a feeling of what match intensity feels like.

Interlaced in this reply is a very important point that often gets overlooked. In practice you need the latitude to allow yourself to push to failure so you can learn and experience different things. But that type of training should be a conscious decision up front, such as "I am going to run it like a rental this time and see what happens". This ebb and flow of trial and error is needed to discover new things or flaws in your skills. For many shooters, their practice is rooted in this method of training.

The problem with is that they are not use to reigning it in and executing at 100% of their skills confidence level. Then applying the appropriate penalty to screwing up when they are suppose to be shooting in "Match Mode". If you went to the range with $100 in $5 bills, then burned a $5 every time you had a miss on the stage run while shooting it in "Match Mode" then that would give you an appropriate motivation to not screw it up. Unless you are rich and then you can burn $50 bills instead to make the screw up painful enough to make the punishment for screwing up tangible. Burning money when you screw up is an extreme "Motivator" example, but it helps me get the point across. You can easily use a more viable penalty such as downloading your magazines a round for every miss you have, or decommissioning a whole magazine for every miss. Eventually you will run out of ammo in mags or have no mags to shoot with forcing you to stop shooting. For many, not being able to shoot any more when they really want to is punishment enough. I know it is for me. If I am driving 50 miles one way to the range to practice, I am going to make full use of my time there. I don't want to send myself home early by allowing myself to shoot sloppy because there is no punishment for shooting sloppy. If you treat repeated screwing up during practice as "Oh well, its just practice" then you are setting yourself up for some serious failure when you attend a match and there are no more mulligans.

For myself, the majority of my live fire practice is done in "Match Mode". The majority of my dry fire practice is in "Run it like a rental" mode. I can observe and feel what is or isn't possible in dry fire while pushing the limits. Then fine tune the process to 100% execution and once I feel confident in doing that I will live fire the drill/stage at that level. This is exactly what we are tasked in doing while attending matches. We have virtually endless time to dry fire the stage but only get one chance to live fire the stage. I try my best to emulate match conditions in my practice as the closer they are to one another the more effective the practice is going to be to my live fire performance.

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Something I have found that helps is doing your best not to think about a classifier any differently. I try to shoot with friends that joke around a lot so I'm relaxed when it is my turn to shoot.

I find that if I think about the classifier and what I want to do, I bomb it.

Cha-lee has some awesome points.

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I generally don't have a problem of feeling like I perform better in practice than in matches, but it makes sense to me to do a couple drills (short courses or classifiers) at the start of each live-fire session, and treat them like a match and record the scores. Even then I'm still pushing a little harder than in a match since the consequences of overtrying is only a bad run and the note-to-self to see more and try less, but those scores should somewhat approximate what I'm capable of doing in a match, and it gives me a feeling of what match intensity feels like.

Interlaced in this reply is a very important point that often gets overlooked. In practice you need the latitude to allow yourself to push to failure so you can learn and experience different things. But that type of training should be a conscious decision up front, such as "I am going to run it like a rental this time and see what happens". This ebb and flow of trial and error is needed to discover new things or flaws in your skills. For many shooters, their practice is rooted in this method of training.

The problem with is that they are not use to reigning it in and executing at 100% of their skills confidence level. Then applying the appropriate penalty to screwing up when they are suppose to be shooting in "Match Mode". If you went to the range with $100 in $5 bills, then burned a $5 every time you had a miss on the stage run while shooting it in "Match Mode" then that would give you an appropriate motivation to not screw it up. Unless you are rich and then you can burn $50 bills instead to make the screw up painful enough to make the punishment for screwing up tangible. Burning money when you screw up is an extreme "Motivator" example, but it helps me get the point across. You can easily use a more viable penalty such as downloading your magazines a round for every miss you have, or decommissioning a whole magazine for every miss. Eventually you will run out of ammo in mags or have no mags to shoot with forcing you to stop shooting. For many, not being able to shoot any more when they really want to is punishment enough. I know it is for me. If I am driving 50 miles one way to the range to practice, I am going to make full use of my time there. I don't want to send myself home early by allowing myself to shoot sloppy because there is no punishment for shooting sloppy. If you treat repeated screwing up during practice as "Oh well, its just practice" then you are setting yourself up for some serious failure when you attend a match and there are no more mulligans.

For myself, the majority of my live fire practice is done in "Match Mode". The majority of my dry fire practice is in "Run it like a rental" mode. I can observe and feel what is or isn't possible in dry fire while pushing the limits. Then fine tune the process to 100% execution and once I feel confident in doing that I will live fire the drill/stage at that level. This is exactly what we are tasked in doing while attending matches. We have virtually endless time to dry fire the stage but only get one chance to live fire the stage. I try my best to emulate match conditions in my practice as the closer they are to one another the more effective the practice is going to be to my live fire performance.

Dang! Cha-Lee. You are full of good stuff today. Keep it coming!

I call what you described as putting "leverage" on yourself in your decision to take practice seriously. I think Lanny Bassham and Tony Robbins teach the same thing. It really does boil down to an attitude and discipline in the end. I continue to learn a lot from you.

This coincides with my assertion that focusing on each shot is the key to a good stage/match performance. In the first place, every single shot in our sport is worth as much as ANY other. I saw Open Division shooters getting D hits on open targets only 6 feet from their muzzle this weekend. Wow. How much additional focus and attention or time would it have taken to get an A hit and 3 more points? None. Allowing our minds to drift or fade during a stage is costly. Bearing down on ourselves during the shooting is just too easy to do, for what, all of 18 seconds or so on average!

"Run it like a rental." Awesome!

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A very good shooter friend, a high M class in Limited, shared privately the following with me today. I am very excited and anxious to try it in two matches this weekend! It is one thing I have NOT tried yet myself. And he says it is responsible for his much higher match performance level of late. When I asked for permission, he said I could share it here with all on the Enos forum. Thanks Buddy!

"Hey Rob, just finished reading your post and have a few thoughts that have helped me. This past Area 2 match was by far my most consistent match to date, and what did it for me was purely mental. My skills have not improved that much in that short a time, it was my mentality on match day that allowed me to perform the way I did. What worked for me was to not think about time in any way shape or form. Now this is something that is way easier said than done, it means "trusting" that as long as you make the shots, your time will take care of itself. The way I was able to do this was to really focus on the shooting, and this starts in your stage breakdown and walk through. After figuring out how I'm going to run the stage I walk through it VERY SLOWLY, never thinking about time or speed, only focusing on each shot for each target. Mentally seeing my sights on the A zone, seeing the sights lift and come back down for the second shot, and seeing the second shot lift. I go so far as to mimic the recoil with my wrists during the walk through. The key is to do everything in SLOW motion, including any movement during the walk through. This takes a great deal of trust in your skills, and that is something that can only be built in practice. It feels very counter-intuitive to do the walk through slow, because you think you need to go fast, but I have found that going slow in the walk through calms me, and there is no feeling of being rushed, and THAT transfers to a calm un-rushed feeling during the shooting, which transfers into fewer mistakes and better points shot!"



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Something I have found that helps is doing your best not to think about a classifier any differently. I try to shoot with friends that joke around a lot so I'm relaxed when it is my turn to shoot.

I find that if I think about the classifier and what I want to do, I bomb it.

Cha-lee has some awesome points.

Good tactic mach1soldier. It is amazing how we all pucker up like a duck's butt in water, for a classifier stage in a club match! I finally stopped doing that myself last year, and treat them just like any other stage. And an especially RISKY stage at that usually, one where playing hero rarely pays off in point count. I have shot several of my highest classifiers in big matches as a result.

Thanks

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On match day the best advice I can give myself and others is listed in my signature line "Focus only on the present tense". This basically means that your attention or observation should ONLY be on what is happening RIGHT NOW regardless of what you think the schedule of events should be. The "Right Now" may be calling a shot, launching out of a shooting position, sticking a reload, emptying your mind of useless ramblings, or an innumerable amount of other things. In the end it really comes down to eliminating distractions so you can allow yourself to be fully observant in the present tense. When we perform our best, we allow the process to happen subconsciously and that can only happen if we get out of the way so the subconscious can do its job.

We all need or respond to different motivations so what works for me may or may not work for you. For me, my mind clearing self talk is simply saying "Just Shoot". When I feel conflicted, distracted, or unsure right before a stage run I say "Just Shoot" to myself and that allows me to hand the keys to the kingdom over to the subconscious mind, jump in the back seat and hang on for the ride. I am not sure how, when or why I came up with the "Just Shoot" internal self talk phrase, but it works for me and I have used it for years with great success. For someone else this phrase may be "Pink Bunnies" or whatever else. I have also heard of top sports athletes recalling a specific image from a memory. As they say, do what you gotta do to get your game up.

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On match day the best advice I can give myself and others is listed in my signature line "Focus only on the present tense". This basically means that your attention or observation should ONLY be on what is happening RIGHT NOW regardless of what you think the schedule of events should be. The "Right Now" may be calling a shot, launching out of a shooting position, sticking a reload, emptying your mind of useless ramblings, or an innumerable amount of other things. In the end it really comes down to eliminating distractions so you can allow yourself to be fully observant in the present tense. When we perform our best, we allow the process to happen subconsciously and that can only happen if we get out of the way so the subconscious can do its job.

We all need or respond to different motivations so what works for me may or may not work for you. For me, my mind clearing self talk is simply saying "Just Shoot". When I feel conflicted, distracted, or unsure right before a stage run I say "Just Shoot" to myself and that allows me to hand the keys to the kingdom over to the subconscious mind, jump in the back seat and hang on for the ride. I am not sure how, when or why I came up with the "Just Shoot" internal self talk phrase, but it works for me and I have used it for years with great success. For someone else this phrase may be "Pink Bunnies" or whatever else. I have also heard of top sports athletes recalling a specific image from a memory. As they say, do what you gotta do to get your game up.

+1

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so I've been struggling with this exact issue over the last year with respect to Steel Challenge matches. On an individual match stage basis my current classification using the new system is 88% (M class). However, at a match while I'll always shoot at least a couple of stages at that level I've never been able to do it for the entire match until this past weekend's sanctioned full 8-stage match. i shot an all-time personal match best, & had multiple individual run personal bests but only 1 stage all time best. However, I shot incrediably consistent throughout the match because there was no 'trying' or 'pushing' or worrying about anything. I finally brought 'match guy' to a match and it showed ....

So what did I do differently? two weeks ago I simply turned off the timer in both dry fire & live fire and simply started shooting, letting my subconscious takeover and do what it knows how to do without any effort from me. I completely ignored any hint of results, it simply didn't matter what my time was. I'd shoot the stage, go reload for the next and then paint, score or RO & then move to the next. The only conscious thoughts I had the entire day WRT shooting was as part of my pre-shoot mental program where I told myself "grip, eyes first".

On an individual stage basis my personal match best time is ahead of the current senior national champion in 6 of the 8 stages but my ave overall match time this past year is not even close. Saturday's match time was within 4 secs of him which equates to about .1 secs slower/run.

At the moment (we'll see if it continues in this weekend's match) 'simply' choosing to ignore time has helped me bring match guy to the match and shoot very close to what I am capable of in training. I also execute training in match mode every session by starting out the first cold run of each session shooting a stage for score - this simulates walking up to a stage with no warm-up and seeing what you can do. It's a pretty eye opening experience the first few times you do it.

After teh Nationals are over I'll go back to using the timer to help push speed gains but I plan to always turn off the timer in training just before any big match to ensure match guy shows up to the match ...

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so I've been struggling with this exact issue over the last year with respect to Steel Challenge matches. On an individual match stage basis my current classification using the new system is 88% (M class). However, at a match while I'll always shoot at least a couple of stages at that level I've never been able to do it for the entire match until this past weekend's sanctioned full 8-stage match. i shot an all-time personal match best, & had multiple individual run personal bests but only 1 stage all time best. However, I shot incrediably consistent throughout the match because there was no 'trying' or 'pushing' or worrying about anything. I finally brought 'match guy' to a match and it showed ....

So what did I do differently? two weeks ago I simply turned off the timer in both dry fire & live fire and simply started shooting, letting my subconscious takeover and do what it knows how to do without any effort from me. I completely ignored any hint of results, it simply didn't matter what my time was. I'd shoot the stage, go reload for the next and then paint, score or RO & then move to the next. The only conscious thoughts I had the entire day WRT shooting was as part of my pre-shoot mental program where I told myself "grip, eyes first".

On an individual stage basis my personal match best time is ahead of the current senior national champion in 6 of the 8 stages but my ave overall match time this past year is not even close. Saturday's match time was within 4 secs of him which equates to about .1 secs slower/run.

At the moment (we'll see if it continues in this weekend's match) 'simply' choosing to ignore time has helped me bring match guy to the match and shoot very close to what I am capable of in training. I also execute training in match mode every session by starting out the first cold run of each session shooting a stage for score - this simulates walking up to a stage with no warm-up and seeing what you can do. It's a pretty eye opening experience the first few times you do it.

After teh Nationals are over I'll go back to using the timer to help push speed gains but I plan to always turn off the timer in training just before any big match to ensure match guy shows up to the match ...

Nimitz- I am basking in your success here! Great job and great idea. I am encouraged that such a simple thing can make such a dramatic change in match performance. Your story is being echoed in many great suggestions by others here. I know that my worst enemy is thinking about the outcome or the speed or time before I shoot a stage. It derails me so badly it almost unbelievable.

One thing I have noticed is that attempting to shoot at a predetermined pace or speed or tempo is a killer to my being able to shoot at all. Once I have that in my mind, I completely forget about aiming and sight pictures. The worst is if I follow a fast Open shooter in the order, and I pay attention to his performance. If I cannot get the SOUND of his shooting out of my mind I am doomed.

Thanks for sharing this.

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So what did I do differently? two weeks ago I simply turned off the timer in both dry fire & live fire and simply started shooting <snip>

After teh Nationals are over I'll go back to using the timer to help push speed gains but I plan to always turn off the timer in training just before any big match to ensure match guy shows up to the match ...

That's good stuff. When you posted a couple weeks ago about turning off the timer, it clicked with me a little, and I started doing more untimed drills, just focusing on fundamentals; sight picture, grip and trigger control. It's so easy to become a slave to the par time and keep giving up sight picture a tiny piece at a time until you're really just not seeing enough to get the hits.

Congratulations on your match! I shall drink a glass of homebrewed hefeweizen in your honor.

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it was probably the first match where I've shot subconsciously the entire match ... i wish i could take credit for the idea but it was Brian's ... in his book he talked about turning off the timer before big Steel Challenge matches and something in the back of my brain just clicked and said "hey dummy, that's your problem too ..."

I actually should have realized it a while ago because it has happened once before and is currently happening with my open gun. Shortly after figuring out the basics of Steel Challenge I would go to matches and put up some amazing times on individual stages becuase I had no expecations nor cared what my time was because I believed I wasn't any good. As i started to b able to repeat these performances, particularily in training where I'd put up multiple sub 2 sec runs, I started to struglle in matches because (un recognized by me) I was trying to repaet these performance because know I knew I was good .... disaster.

I'm going through the same thing in open right now. With only 5 matches under my belt and 4 months shooting the gun I have no expecations .... so what do you think is happening? I'm shooting the gun really well. At saturday's match I had 6/8 personal best stage performances and I'm not very far from making A class in open ...

It's easy! More shooting & less thinking .... :)

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ok, given the extreme importance to having a robust mental program for being able to have your match performance equal your match performance, I'm going to start another thread in this subforum specifically about this topic .....

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ok, given the extreme importance to having a robust mental program for being able to have your match performance equal your match performance, I'm going to start another thread in this subforum specifically about this topic .....

Bring it on Nimitz!

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My 2 cents.

On match day I forget everything I practiced. This way I dont have any expectation. Negative or otherwise. I had some match runs that I can honestly say equal or better than my practice runs.

In practice sessions I give utmost importance on my first runs, be it a drill or a stage run.

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My 2 cents.

On match day I forget everything I practiced. This way I dont have any expectation. Negative or otherwise. I had some match runs that I can honestly say equal or better than my practice runs.

In practice sessions I give utmost importance on my first runs, be it a drill or a stage run.

Well, it apparently worked for you BoyGlock, so go with it!

I think you benefited from not CONSCIOUSLY trying to think about your training, while performing in the match. So, you allowed your Subconscious skill set to perform in the match. -Which is the way to go.

And bravo for making practices real, and therefore more applicable to match performances.

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