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How do I get into A class?

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What got me onto A class after being stuck in B for years was following a structured training plan with dry and live fire practice.  A training program from one of the top shooter's should help immensely.  I think it was the structured dryfire practice that helped the most.

The boat I'm in now is I can finish in the middle of the A class shooters, but am too lazy to dryfire so my classifier scores suck.  That M card will be a long ways away if I don't start dry firing again.

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Start shooting classifiers as fast as you can. Fast enough that you are picking up penalties. You need to try going a speed before your reflexes can learn it. You might zero a couple classifiers but in the long run your accuracy should catch up to your speed. This is assuming your fundamentals are good, whenever I feel I'm on the edge of getting faster this is how I break through. 

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I don't disagree with the practice approach but there is something to be said with hanging it out there when it counts. It helps beat "being able to do it in practice and match results are slower and less accurate."

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Shoot and shoot alot not just matches go out and practice. Dryfire is good to fix an issue youre seeing in live fire. It is not a replacement for live fire practice. Drills drills and more drills the crap ya see in classifiers is basic gun handling and fast accurate shooting. 

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For me, the hardest part on getting to A class is:

I'm plenty fast enough that a mike or a NS will not tank the classifier. Anything above 55% counts and I end up loosing a 78% to a 60%.

I'm getting there though. Just need 3 more percent :-)

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4 hours ago, gransport said:

I'm plenty fast enough that a mike or a NS will not tank the classifier.

This hurts my heart.

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This hurts my heart.


Yup. What I normally tell people about shooting good classifier scores, is just worry about shooting alphas, and the time will be what it will be. Probably 90% of the time that's the more important part of good scores.

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I understand what gransport is saying. It's great to shoot mostly alphas, but if you always shoot only alphas, you will be slow. If you mostly shoot alphas, there will likely be times when you miss, and if you are unlucky, that miss will be just enough to put your score in that below 5% of your current classification range where it will drag you down. The answer here is better consistency, which will come pretty soon if you focus on shot-calling.

I have been guilty of shooting way too slowly (on all stages, not just classifiers), and I have sped up quite a bit lately. I find that going slowly results in about the same score as going as fast as I can see but having a mike. The difference is before I was going slow on EVERY stage, whereas I'm only having a mike now and then. As long as I see them as they are happening and am not surprised, I don't let them worry me.

The other thing I do is just not care about classification very much.

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52 minutes ago, motosapiens said:

I understand what gransport is saying.

I do too. And it hurts my heart. I wasted probably 5 years of my life in that rut.

52 minutes ago, motosapiens said:

It's great to shoot mostly alphas, but if you always shoot only alphas, you will be slow. 

Slow does not mean accurate and fast does not mean inaccurate. I've lost 14+ hit factor stages by shooting a couple C's where someone else cleaned alphas more than once. Shooting all alphas does not mean you went too slow.

52 minutes ago, motosapiens said:

If you mostly shoot alphas, there will likely be times when you miss, and if you are unlucky, that miss will be just enough to put your score in that below 5% of your current classification range where it will drag you down.

Missing the target entirely when aiming for the A zone is very unlikely, if a shooter finds themselves getting "unlucky" frequently, it isn't luck that is the problem. If someone is having trouble moving up because they occasionally tank classifiers just enough to bring their percentage down, I'd call that the classification system working as intended. The answer should not be to shoot more recklessly so your score is either really good for you or too low to be used. The answer is keep practicing and when you're good enough, you'll be a higher class.

52 minutes ago, motosapiens said:

 The answer here is better consistency, which will come pretty soon if you focus on shot-calling.

Absolutely. The problem is that "I'm plenty fast enough that a mike or a NS will not tank the classifier." shows a state of mind that is a long way from shot calling.

52 minutes ago, motosapiens said:

I have been guilty of shooting way too slowly (on all stages, not just classifiers), and I have sped up quite a bit lately. I find that going slowly results in about the same score as going as fast as I can see but having a mike. The difference is before I was going slow on EVERY stage, whereas I'm only having a mike now and then. As long as I see them as they are happening and am not surprised, I don't let them worry me.

The other thing I do is just not care about classification very much.

In my opinion, the words slow or fast really have no place in a match or in determining match strategy. Matches are about going out there and shooting each round at the earliest point that you know you are aiming the target. Get to a target as soon as you can, hit it, get to the next target as soon as you can, hit it, repeat until finished. The speed at which all this happens is determined by your skill. The last thing you want to do in a match is trap yourself into either going slow or fast because both of those choices suck. Having a mike "now and then" is textbook inconsistency and while this is excellent in practice, that philosophy in matches will only hold you back in the long term.

Not caring about classification is probably one of the most important things for a shooter to get out of their own way.

Edited by Jake Di Vita

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Change the way you approach the stage.  Believe you can shoot it just like you do in practice, accurate, calm, no mikes and at your speed.  It won't be long until what you see in your mind is what you will see on the stage.

 

Dry fire is good but visualization will help you improve faster.  If you think you can do it you can.

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To this discussion, I'd add that, if skill itself is not the problem (you are beating A and M Class shooters but still classify as a B), dry fire and practice might not be the immediate #1 solution, as your match execution appear to be solid.  And although practice certainly can't hurt and will help improve your skill, I'd propose there is another technique you might try simultaneously.   

I'd just suggest looking at the percentage breakdown by HF for the classifier you are shooting.  While it may seem like a lot of effort to go through, doing so may help provide you some vital knowledge regarding how you should approach a given classifier; specifically, how fast you need to try and be in order to achieve the classification you're looking for, and whether this is actually achievable for you based on skill level (which you can then correct with practice as needed).  Instead of just going into the classifier "blind", with no knowledge of a targeted HF, and simply shooting as fast as possible or allowing yourself to possibly slow down and be complacent and safe, knowing a par time, in effect, can assist in setting you up with an exact goal and understanding of needed speed while also mitigating the possibility of blowing up by going too fast and under preforming by being safe/complacent.

Just as an example, for CM 06-04 (Fluffy's) Limited - according to AZS Calc:

HHF: 13.38

GM: 12.71

M: 11.37

A: 10.03

B: 8.02

So...if you breakdown Fluffy's:

40 total points - You need to hit a time of 3.98 seconds to hit A Class if you shoot all alphas.  If you drop say, 2'c, presuming major, you're now at 38 total points, meaning you need to hit 3.78 seconds to make A classification.  

Then check if your skill level will allow you to meet that par time:

These are semi-safe estimations of my own times, but you can plug in your's here to see how you come out:  1.3 (draw) + .25 (split) + .35 (transition) +.35 (transition) + .25 (split) +.35 (transition) +.35 (transition) + .25 (split) = 3.45 total seconds.

If you can't achieve the par time, then you need to work on your skills a bit more because in actuality, for the particular skills required by the particular classifier, you are not an A level shooter. (For example, I struggle with left handed shooting - and while I may be a high A/ low M on most classifiers, on those which require offhand shooting, I tend to not be able to meet the par times I've targeted while maintaining hits, so I need to work on that skill more).  

If you can beat the par time, then great, proceed to the next step and dry-fire the classifier a few times against that par time, to validate your estimations.  Then it all comes down to execution.  If you fail on the execution, it does come back to practice again.  See where you failed and why, then practice - dry fire, working specific skill sets like draws, transitions, etc as needed.  If you succeed, then well done - see how you can move to reaching the next step up on the ladder.  

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Having moved from C-to-A in the last year, I attribute everything to being mentally prepared, improving grip strength, isolating trigger finger and improving my cadence.

Mental game is tough. I had to get better sleep, calm my nerves the morning of a match, and build confidence by entering as many level II & III matches as possible. I also bought a Mobius ActionCam and mounted it to my hat so I could review my stages and dissect my faults.

Improving my grip strength while isolating my trigger finger just took time.  I grip the gun as tight as possible without inducing shakes. I started doing the same thing with all my power tools at home (weed eater, leaf blower, circular saw). Together with dry fire, this has tremendously helped my speed and accuracy.

By improving cadence, I simply mean giving every target enough time to get A's and no more. Close, open targets get quick shots and far targets get extra time. If targets are equal in distance and presentation, and within a few feet of each other, my double-taps and transitions are nearly identical splits. For me, this meant I slowed down my second shots to where my sight fell back on target, but also improved my transitions until I was breaking my first shot right as fiber optic hit A-zone.

Lastly, as someone else said, I used online tools to figure out an "A" or 75% on classifiers, and worked backwards to figure a target time given all Alphas. I was surprised that the times aren't always THAT fast.

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I have found people can just show up and classify D.

C comes when they start to practice with a mind on USPSA.

B comes when you start to become proficient

A is when your gun handling skills are getting very good OR you start to push very fast but doing both is still inconsistent.

M means great gun handling and very fast at the same time.

GM is M plus being able to do it on demand almost every time.

 

I think in looking at the general skil sets it can help you identify opportunities. 

 

Anyone ageee/disagree?

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I'm in A and feel slow and sloppy.   I'll keep practicing until that isn't the case. 

Another avenue is to shoot more major matches.  One, the competition will be better, and two it will count as a classifier.  While I haven't been match bumped, some of my current scores were percentages from majors.  If you aren't shooting within that percentile at majors then there's no reason to move up yet.

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I agree that a match bump is a better qualifier for skill advancement.  Some may disagree.

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