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How to deal with a really bad match result?

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We don't do this for a living and the after match hambuger tastes the same.

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On 3/20/2017 at 2:50 PM, JeremiahD said:

 

I was poking around after a somewhat disappointing first match trying to see what others do for a mental game here and found this thread.  Oddly, theres a zen koan that hangs over my desk at work that illustrates what you posted perfectly.  I  thought I'd google and paste it below:

 

A Zen Teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they had dismounted, the teacher asked the students,

“Why are you riding your bicycles?”

The first student replied, “The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!”

The teacher praised the student, saying, “You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do.”

The second student replied, “I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path.”

The teacher commended the student, “Your eyes are open and you see the world.”

The third student replied, “When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo.”

The teacher gave praise to the third student, “Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel.”

The fourth student answered, “Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings.”

The teacher was pleased and said, “You are riding on the golden path of non-harming.”

The fifth student replied, “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.”

The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student, and said, “I am your disciple.”

 

Funny, I went to the internet for insight all I really had to do was reread an old framed quote hanging over my computer... x,X

 

 I really enjoyed this. Thank you.

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On 2/5/2017 at 8:24 AM, theWacoKid said:

1) Write down a list of things you found difficult with respect to that particular match and include it in practice.  This is the learning step.

2) Let the match go.  This is the mental step.

3) Practice.  This is the physical step.

 

The only match that matters is the current one and the only stage that matters is the one you are shooting right now.  

As far as I'm concerned this post covers it and in a very succinct fashion.

 

only thing I'll add is a note due to where I'm at with my own development...

 

I have been at the USPSA game for a year, had plenty of shooting experience prior but nothing like this sport... much more tactical Timmy stuff (go ahead and make your jokes gamers, I'm with you know ?).  I've found along with practice that I am still experiencing particular aspects of stage design or target arrays for the first time.  If I Mike something up or handle it wrong I file that into my practice bank and work on it... like said in the post I quoted.  The other thing I also do is only beat myself up for so long, just long enough to learn from it.  Something I learned actually outside of this game but it very much applies to it is this... you need to fail and experience everything that comes with it due to pushing yourself.  This is the place where you will learn the most when you are aware of what "you" are doing.  I believe the awareness part is a portion of what Mr. Enos talks about in shooting with an awareness and being in the moment.  Anyway... I chalk everything up to a learning experience, even my better matches, and always strive for continuous improvement.

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When I have a bad match, I just tell myself at least you are at the range and not at work. Just continue to finish the match and go on down the road. Just learn from where I screwed up and keep going.

Or when the finish over, say Thank God and drink more whiskey.

MIke 

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I just did another reread of Lanny Bassham.  He stated among the World and Olympic champions, he never heard them talk about a bad  match.  He went on to say talking about a bad match just re-enforces it and makes another bad match more likely.

 

Learn your area(s) for development and proceed.

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On ‎1‎/‎22‎/‎2017 at 6:18 AM, narwhal said:

I was wondering how people deal with a really poor match result?  Do you take the parts of the match you did poorly on and implement those into practice more to improve?  Do you shrug it off as a bad day and not change too much?  Do you look at your equipment and consider changing it?  Does it tend to de-motivate you and make you wonder if you're just wasting time doing something you don't have any natural talent for, or does it energize you to improve?

 

I shot a club I've never shot at while out of town on business, and got absolutely smeared, finished 24/36 overall when I'm used to finishing in the top 10% of a similar sized field back home.  Yes, it's a better/more competitive club.  Had an equipment problem (a magazine fell out of it's pouch while I was sprinting between positions, costing 20+ seconds), and there were tons of really tight shots on swingers/pop-ups usually with non threats around them plus a lot of partial targets 50% covered by non threats, and I ended up pegging 3 NT's, whereas most of the field was able to avoid doing so.  Also I had not been able to dry or live fire for 2 weeks directly prior due to flying for business, so I was a bit cold.  Anyway, still a beginner, only shot a few dozen matches but this one was probably my worst result.  

Everyone has a bad match from time to time, and I personally believe they are the best thing that can happen to you. when everything goes right there is nothing to improve on. But when its a complete train wreck? You got yourself one helluva learning experience!

 

I just laugh it off, go home and hang out in the yard with the dogs and a bottle or two of speedway stout and mentally plot how im going to correct all the failure I left laying around at the match.

 

The longer you do this the easier it becomes to embrace it. failure is going to happen, without it you can NOT improve. I have been shooting competitively and internationally since I was 10 years old in shotgun, and then pistol and 3 gun and I am over 30 now...learning to embrace the failure was the hardest skillset for me to ever master!

 

the bench

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I have trouble letting go of it for the day but within a couple days it's old news.  I usually know what I did wrong and decide not to do it again if it's safety related or practice if it's me related.

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I try and video every stage. I use the video to pinpoint what went wrong, and if it's not a one time freak occurrence, then it gets implemented into the practice regimen. 
I also try and pick the things I'm doing well, and use them for positive reinforcement....this way I keep from getting down on myself and becoming discouraged. 

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Video stage helpssssssssssssssss a lot.   It looks tacticool but believe me it helps

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Shot my worst match ever 45 out of 49. First match shooting SS and first time shooting my SS setup in a few years, turns out my sights got bumped and I didn't know. I've already added it as a learning experience on stage planning and movement and now I know to confirm my gear before a match. Live and learn. I did get 2nd in my division. Out of 2 lol

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One thing I've learned, not specific to shooting, but extremely beneficial when applied within the realm, is the importance of a postmortem on any match you shoot.  As others have mentioned, video footage makes this MUCH easier, but is not required.  Being able to be critical and review what you've done after a match, regardless if you won or lost, allows for a lot of personal growth, in my experience.  Looking for mistakes and looking for positives allows you to better evolve your practice regimen and also to add additional focus to certain elements while at your next match.  This doesn't mean reliving the perceived failures over and over or dwelling on the successes either; you review, highlight areas for improvement and then move on.

 

You'll notice that within this commentary, I haven't isolated this to just the matches you've finished poorly at; in fact, I believe that shooting performance as a whole, especially for newer shooters, shouldn't be evaluated based on final placement, but rather specific individual performance.  Don't gauge success against others, gauge it against yourself.  Did you put together your game effectively and efficiently today?  If so, what allowed you to do so...if no, what were the major mistakes to work through?  I really believe this to be critical respective to growth - it forces improvement, even under circumstances where your talent is above average or even the highest at your given club match.

Edited by GorillaTactical

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On 1/25/2017 at 2:39 PM, Fatso said:

Back when I was going through Pilot Training (USAF), I had a particularly bad flight early in the second phase, after a series of pure mediocrity.  It felt like the world was kind of closing in on me and it allowed doubt to creep in.  One of the older reservists "Roscoe" was an old F-15 pilot from the LA militia, and he said (insert bayou accent) "man, why you got tears in your beer?"  I told him I had a terrible mission, and I was worried I didn't belong in fighters, regardless of how badly I wanted it.  He gave me the best advice I've ever received, and it resulted in an immediate turnaround.  I ended up finishing second overall.

Roscoe's advice:  "In the fast jet business, you only got enough time to say oops."  Translation:  ruminating over mistakes serves no practical purpose other than giving birth to new mistakes.  He followed up after I gave him the RCA dog look:  "son... you have to emotionally disassociate yourself from your work."  "If you dwell on your errors or respond emotionally to mistake, you done made more mistakes!" 

When I learned to unhitch my emotions from my performance, say oops airborne, and learn objectively in the thorough debrief (rank comes off in the debrief, thick skin required), I executed at a level orders of magnitude better.  Not perfect, but certainly way, way better.  During a match, if I have a bad stage, tag a no-shoot, miss a reload, etc, I do my best to simply say "oops" and continue to execute. 

After the match, I'll think about the errors, and/or study the video (if taken) and see what I need to work on in dry fire & practice.  I never ever, ever allow myself to "feel" bad about anything regarding my hobby/sport.  I will not allow myself to ruin my favorite hobby.  As I'm sure you've heard, the match is solely validation of what you've practiced/dry fired, and you should merely observe yourself execute what you've trained yourself to do, coupled to the visualization you conducted in the walk-through.  Afterwards, use those lessons learned to alter your training/dry fire regimen, if necessary.  They are never something to "feel" bad about.  Shrug, say "oops" and get back to work!

Best of luck!

FATSO

WOW, I'm going to frame this.  I came to  a similar conclusion about 19 years after starting in this sport and it's helped me the 20 years since.  With the better mind set I've gotten better as I grow older.  I'm confident my Senior self would beat my "Prime Years" self handily. 

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My fortunes aren't tied to shooting.  I still have fun if I don't do as well as I'd hoped, though my preference is to have a personal best of some kind.  The joy I feel at the range with my shooting buddies compensates for all the stages that didn't go as I'd planned, or scores that weren't what I'd hoped.

 

It's good to have total freedom from needing to perform well.  I'm free to practice as hard as I can and get to some next personal best, or not practice so hard and just go out and enjoy.

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On 4/10/2017 at 11:40 AM, mlm said:

When I have a bad match, I just tell myself at least you are at the range and not at work. Just continue to finish the match and go on down the road. Just learn from where I screwed up and keep going.

Or when the finish over, say Thank God and drink more whiskey.

MIke 

This is how I live my life... except when i have a bad day at work then it's a question of how quickly I can sneak out of the office and shoot!

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On 4/2/2017 at 9:14 PM, jnr88 said:

We don't do this for a living and the after match hambuger tastes the same.

 

The best response, so far. You guys are taking this thing we do way too seriously.

If you all were trying to make a living at this it would be one thing, but it isn't. Remember, the guy who came in last place got the same size trophy as you did.

But, after all this free forum counseling nothing seems to help, try alcohol. Millions of people swear by it. :lol:

 

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First, are you having fun? Priority #1.

Next, identify weaknesses.

Practice overcoming weaknesses, rather than spending all of you practice time on your strengths or in your comfort zone. Have a clear goal each practice.

Rinse, repeat.

Did I mention having fun?

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I am probably my worst critic. I video tape every stage not to post all over social media and get famous but to see where I made mistakes. I am by no means the best shooter I have been competing in uspsa for a year now. I have swiched from limited to co and now to open. I tend to fall in the top 30ish . but I have improved greatly over the last year.  my last match I finished 51st out of 80. probably the worst I have done in 6 months. My dot mount would not stay tight and would move around on me while shooting.  All I can do is go home watch the videos, see where I messed up and what I did right. put some loctite on the screws and get back to the range and keep running drills. 

 

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For me, Shooting is a game!  I treat it like any other game.  I'm competitive and i want to do well, but there are times you don't play the game very well.  For example, a couple of weeks back, I took 9 procedurals on a simple stage.  I ended up finishing 19th out of 73.  The stage i screwed up I finished 66 out of 73.  I took it in stride and learned from my mistake.  It made me train harder, identify my weaknesses and correct them.  The next match I finished 8th out of 70.  Enjoy it,  have fun and remember it's just a game!

Edited by stick

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Lately,  I have not been shooting that well for a whole match. Something unforeseen happens, or I just stink it up on a stage or two. I have started looking at the stages I shot well, and try to apply what I did for those to my next match. If you dwell on the negative, it may cease to be fun, and unless you are getting paid to shoot, I think fun should be the number 1 concern.

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I just try to rethink and not do it again... I know I have the ability  just sometimes that timer goes off and  bamn I go full retard.. and screw up an easy shot or toss a mike.... brush it off and go to the next stage... were human.. we're going to make mistakes...

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I'm dealing with this from last weekend's match: Got an FTE on a stage that wasn't that complicated. I used to get Failure to Engages quite a bit but had worked out some thinking in my stage strategies and hadn't gotten one in months. Now that's all I think about when remembering Saturday when for the most part, it was a successful day. On the positive side, I'm getting the hang of planning mag changes in Limited so no standing reloads.

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On 1/22/2017 at 4:18 AM, narwhal said:

I was wondering how people deal with a really poor match result?  Do you take the parts of the match you did poorly on and implement those into practice more to improve?  Do you shrug it off as a bad day and not change too much?  Do you look at your equipment and consider changing it?  Does it tend to de-motivate you and make you wonder if you're just wasting time doing something you don't have any natural talent for, or does it energize you to improve?

 

I shot a club I've never shot at while out of town on business, and got absolutely smeared, finished 24/36 overall when I'm used to finishing in the top 10% of a similar sized field back home.  Yes, it's a better/more competitive club.  Had an equipment problem (a magazine fell out of it's pouch while I was sprinting between positions, costing 20+ seconds), and there were tons of really tight shots on swingers/pop-ups usually with non threats around them plus a lot of partial targets 50% covered by non threats, and I ended up pegging 3 NT's, whereas most of the field was able to avoid doing so.  Also I had not been able to dry or live fire for 2 weeks directly prior due to flying for business, so I was a bit cold.  Anyway, still a beginner, only shot a few dozen matches but this one was probably my worst result.  

 

I think you answered your own question if you read what you wrote. You did not do well because the course was harder than what you were used to and you were not prepared.

 

Now, you know. BTW, even if you had not dry fired for a while nothing prevents you from getting up a bit earlier and dry firing for some minutes prior to leaving for the match. That really helps even if you have been dry firing/practicing regularly. I can tell the difference when I dry fire before a match, so now I do both for matches and live fire practices.

 

In regards to whether a bad result de-motives me? No. After every stage I take notes on what I can improve on and then study and incorporate that into my practice. Based on what you said I'd do a lot of dry fire on partials ;).

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not sure that the competition being stiffer and the courses being more challenging is what I would call 'a really bad match', but whatever.

 

Why do bad matches happen? Here are pretty much all the reasons:

1. lack of preparation (or poor preparation)

2. lack of process

3. weird equipment stuff, which often but not always, falls under #1.

 

So the OP's idea of bad match is apparently one where he didn't do as well as he hoped in the results.

 

My idea of a bad match is one where I didn't shoot at my current level of skill. Note that it has nothing to do with where I place, because I can't control who else shows up and how good they are.... I can only control every shot I fire. I've had a couple bad matches in the last 4 months.... I trained myself into unrealistic sight pictures on steel, which really hurt me at nationals. Poor preparation. Fix = don't do speed training on steel leading up to a big match without large amounts of match-mode (dry and live-fire) to make sure you know what sight picture and trigger control are required.

 

Had another one at WSSSC because I didn't realize my gun was no longer shooting accurately, and was varying 8-12" vertically at 25 yards. Sort of a weird equipment problem but really falls under lack of preparation because I didn't verify zero and accuracy before I drove 1000 miles. Fix = double check that stuff before every match. It's not hard to just wind up every training session with 15-20 yard upper-a-zone groups, and I normally do that, but I was training hard in limited so I didn't do it with that gun. Lesson learned. Make sure you verify your ammo and gun are doing what they are supposed to.

 

I suspect the reason most newer shooters have bad matches is because of #2, which means they have no clue what they are supposed to be doing at the match. Steve Anderson talks about this kind of thing alot, and if I were a newer shooter, I'd look up his podcast, buy his book 'get to work', and then get to work.

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