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CrashDodson

Getting DQed. A lot.

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I have been shooting USPSA for about 3 years or so now.  I am the match director for a USPSA club.  I shoot only limited division in which I am currently M class.  

 

Last year I got DQed for dropping a brand new pistol on the first stage of a major match, never even fired a shot.  Later in the year I got DQed on the first stage of the second day at nationals.  My first ever trip to nationals, DQed for an AD right after a reload.  This last week we had a local outlaw match, its a match thats been running the same 8 stages since the 80's.  There were about 70 or so shooters and I DQed after ADing a round over the berm during a reload on the first stage.  This year at an area match on the first stage of the day I got a bad grip which resulted in me dropping a mag, fumbled the reload after that. 

 

Ive never been DQed at a regular monthly uspsa match.  Ive also shot plenty of Major matches and not had any issues.  Ive never been DQ'ed on a 180 call.  I dry fire A LOT.  I also shoot live fire at least once a week.  I never run into these issues in practice. 

 

My issue seems to be gun manipulation while being on the edge/anxious.  I find myself a rather calm individual.  I dont really get stressed out with work or life.  I dont let my emotions get out of control.  I am very competitive, and I go to a match to shoot my best and win, nothing less.  I do find myself with an upset stomach on most major match mornings, I used to get the same thing when I raced dirtbike enduros.  A nervous/anxious feeling...adrenaline running high.  A few miles into the race Im fine, after the first stage of the day Im usually good to go.  Anyone have any recommendations for getting that first stage out of the way that doesn't involve tequila?  Wake up earlier?  Drink less caffeine (probably not going to happen)?  Do some youtube worthy yoga in the safe area?   I have two majors in the next two weeks plus nationals and looking for any advice.  

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Maybe some physical activity to warm up?  Not enough to tire you out but enough to release calming brain chemicals.  Yoga might be a good choice.  Or maybe some dry fire.  A short brisk walk perhaps.

 

And let me take this opportunity to thank you for being one of those who make the shooting sports go.  Match directors are VIPs in my book, love you all!

Edited by GunBugBit

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I would think you need to try to put more pressure on yourself at club matches. Try to treat each one as if it were nationals to simulate the pressure. Maybe go to other clubs with better shooters to try to push yourself more. This will also get you out of your comfort zone.

 

Do you ever video your practice? Maybe you can decide a head of time you will record and post video of your cold run no matter how bad it is. That might give you a little pressure to work with. That anxiousness probably isn't going away, you need to learn to work with it.

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my suggestions:

 

1. physical activity to warm up.

2. Actually believe that you don't have to rush, try or hurry in order to be competitive. Trust your subconscious to execute reloads without you freaking the f** out and trying to do them balls fast. When you consciously try to go fast, you are short-circuiting all the training you did and myelin you built to learn to execute fast reloads while keeping your finger out of the trigger guard.

3. Treat every match the same. Prepare the same, take it just as seriously, execute the same.

Edited by motosapiens

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It sounds like you are primarily having a booger picker in the wrong place during reloads issue when you are excited. When you perform a reload do you have a tactile place on the side of the frame to place the pad of your trigger finger on? I went through this same issue when I was first starting. To get past this I put a small piece of grip tape on the frame where the pad of my trigger finger should be during a reload or while moving. During Dry or Live fire if I couldn't feel that grip tape during a reload or movement then it was immediately evident that I was doing it wrong. I ran with the grip tape for about a year before it was fully baked in and "Normal" to put my finger in the correct place. Now I don't need the grip tape as the finger position has been burned in.

 

When I shoot in humid conditions where my hands get sticky I put a little bit of baby powder on the pad of my trigger finger and the web between my thumb and pointer finger to keep the friction on the gun/trigger to a minimum in these areas. After shooting a few stages there will be a white mark on the side of the frame where my trigger finger rests during reloads and movement. This is good evidence that proves I am still keeping my booger picker in the correctly place when not shooting.

 

On the mental game perspective, I think you need to understand why you are treating majors with a different level of importance than locals. You should be treating all matches with the same respect or importance. I put in the same level of effort and have the same performance expectation when shooting any level match. Basically, every stage I shoot in a match is getting "Nationals Level" effort. When every stage is treated with the same importance then shooting stages at a major isn't anything different than what you have been doing at home. 

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@CHA-LEE well said dude. I try to enjoy majors more, they are usually the best matches I will get to shoot for a month or so... just shoot and have fun. 

 

The adivice about the booger picker is solid. The only thing I would add is when dryfire practicing reloads (moving, box, transitioning to WHO) always* have the hammer back. You have a problem dropping the hammer so you need to know if/when that happens during dry practice.  Video your dry practice so you can see what is going on.

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I've heard it said that you will never know where you can go, until you know where you can't go.  It seems that you have found where you can't go. Dial it back a bit and be smooth. Everything else will fall in place.

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Is it the gun? Is your trigger so light that stabbing the mag in to hard setting off the gun?

 

If it's just nerves go for a hard angry sprint when you get to the range (stretch first), works for me...

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I like the physical activity idea.  I am definitely going to try that.  Im married with 3 kids and put on monthly USPSA matches for our club.  There is very little time for me to get to shoot any other level 1 matches then the ones at my club.  Honestly by the time the match starts im so tired and my mind is on making the match run smooth I dont have a lot of focus for my own shooting.  Granted I do usually shoot well, just not a major match level of intensity and focus.  I also know thats just not in the cards unless I hand off the MD reins to someone else.  We just dont have enough help where I could sit in the stat house and collect match fees and focus on me.  On the rare occasion that I get to shoot an out of town level 1 I do feel like I approach it with the same intensity and focus to shoot well as I do major matches, but there is still the lack of anxiousness that happens the morning of a major match, which at this point I am not in control of.  Something about the build up, travel to, walking stages, lots of people adds to the excitement of it all.     

 

In practice I have always just gotten my finger out of the guard, but never really intentionally placed it anywhere.  I can reach my mag release and reload without breaking or shifting my strong hand grip.  I will play around with trying to find a placement for my finger and maybe using that grip tape idea.    

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2 hours ago, CHA-LEE said:

 

When I shoot in humid conditions where my hands get sticky I put a little bit of baby powder on the pad of my trigger finger and the web between my thumb and pointer finger to keep the friction on the gun/trigger to a minimum in these areas. After shooting a few stages there will be a white mark on the side of the frame where my trigger finger rests during reloads and movement. This is good evidence that proves I am still keeping my booger picker in the correctly place when not shooting.

 

 

Off topic but its my thread, can you explain the reason for not wanting friction on the web of your strong hand?  I use dry hands and when my hand is slammed into the beaver tail its not moving.  Ive built up a pretty good callous right there at this point. 

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1 hour ago, Gary Stevens said:

I've heard it said that you will never know where you can go, until you know where you can't go.  It seems that you have found where you can't go. Dial it back a bit and be smooth. everything else will fall in place.

I agree on pushing till the wheels fall off, and they have fallen off and rolled beside me.  Currently at a match I have a go and stop.  No real ability yet to turn it up or down, though I could see that as an advantage.  Granted I could shoot a stage at 50% intensity, but dialing back 5% or something like that I would not know how to or what that would feel like.  Not sure I could perceive the difference in 100% and 95% effort in regards to shooting.

 

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10 minutes ago, CrashDodson said:

 

Off topic but its my thread, can you explain the reason for not wanting friction on the web of your strong hand?  I use dry hands and when my hand is slammed into the beaver tail its not moving.  Ive built up a pretty good callous right there at this point. 

 

I have an abnormal amount of skin & muscle in the web of my hand between the thumb and pointer finger. This requires custom beaver tail that is huge to keep that part of my hand pushed down to clear the slide or I will get slide bite like crazy. Since there is more skin to beaver tail engagement there is more potential for excessive friction when gripping the gun and the beaver tail slides up the web of my hand and pushes the skin down. When its humid and I have "Sticky" hands this friction gets really bad and the only way to minimize it is to put baby powder on the web of my hand. If I don't do this in humid conditions the skin on the web of my hand will stick to the underside of the beaver tail and roll up past the end of the beaver tail. This will guarantee slide bite which isn't fun. I have permanent scars on the top side of my hand in the web from slide bite over the years. Good thing chicks dig scars :) 

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regarding AD's, i've always focused on where my trigger finger should go (along the slide) vs where it shouldn't go (inside the trigger guard).  subtle difference but it works for me.

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2 hours ago, CrashDodson said:

I agree on pushing till the wheels fall off, and they have fallen off and rolled beside me.  Currently at a match I have a go and stop.  No real ability yet to turn it up or down, though I could see that as an advantage.  Granted I could shoot a stage at 50% intensity, but dialing back 5% or something like that I would not know how to or what that would feel like.  Not sure I could perceive the difference in 100% and 95% effort in regards to shooting.

 

 

I don't think you understood my intent. I never said shoot at less than your ability. What I tried to say was shoot within your ability.

 

As Ken Tapp once told me, "push it to the edge where you see the gates of Hell opening, then take one half step back".

 

Bases on your statement, maybe a half step back is warranted.

 

 

 

 

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Listen to steve anderson. Buy Lanny Bassham's book if you need to. Don't 'dial it back', just stop trying to dial it forward for major matches. If you train fast so that fast is normal, you will *be* fast when all you do is watch the gun and call your shots. Trying and rushing will only make you slower, less accurate, and more likely to DQ. I have seen it many times working major matches, including nationals. Seems like the first stage is a pretty common place to DQ because people are freaking out instead of trusting their training and calling their shots.

 

And get some more help for your local matches. Many people will pitch in given the opportunity and a little encouragement and training. 

Edited by motosapiens

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6 hours ago, CHA-LEE said:

It sounds like you are primarily having a booger picker in the wrong place during reloads issue when you are excited. When you perform a reload do you have a tactile place on the side of the frame to place the pad of your trigger finger on? I went through this same issue when I was first starting. To get past this I put a small piece of grip tape on the frame where the pad of my trigger finger should be during a reload or while moving. During Dry or Live fire if I couldn't feel that grip tape during a reload or movement then it was immediately evident that I was doing it wrong. I ran with the grip tape for about a year before it was fully baked in and "Normal" to put my finger in the correct place. Now I don't need the grip tape as the finger position has been burned in.

 

When I shoot in humid conditions where my hands get sticky I put a little bit of baby powder on the pad of my trigger finger and the web between my thumb and pointer finger to keep the friction on the gun/trigger to a minimum in these areas. After shooting a few stages there will be a white mark on the side of the frame where my trigger finger rests during reloads and movement. This is good evidence that proves I am still keeping my booger picker in the correctly place when not shooting.

 

On the mental game perspective, I think you need to understand why you are treating majors with a different level of importance than locals. You should be treating all matches with the same respect or importance. I put in the same level of effort and have the same performance expectation when shooting any level match. Basically, every stage I shoot in a match is getting "Nationals Level" effort. When every stage is treated with the same importance then shooting stages at a major isn't anything different than what you have been doing at home. 

Awesome advice!  I was going to mention doing some mental training.  It sounds to me like you are almost scared to shoot major matches because of your past performances.  First step in mental management training is letting the past go!

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A little anxiousness/adrenalin is good. Too much bad. Sounds like you are too high early on a shooting day and after a stage or two you calm some. If that is correct, you have to learn to relax. Cha-Lee’s advice is great. Treat local matches like major matches. You cannot do well what you don’t practice. Shoot within yourself. Good hits. No mistakes. Solid shooting plan. Relax but not to the point you cannot shoot to your skill level. Each stage try to improve slightly but never to the point where you have to exceed you skills during a stage.

Not saying this is the case but consider whether or not local ROs are giving you a break on some gun handling because you are the MD/RM. Not making a call on trigger finger placement during a reload at a local match is exacerbated under major match pressure. Video on dry fire and local matches would help to see if this may be happening. Using par times on dry fire reloads and draws can help. Always push par time to a point where you can’t beat par. It’s artificial pressure. Video will tell if you are doing something wrong on technique that will bite you during a match.


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When you dryfire a magazine change, do NOT pull the trigger on the draw.  Keep the gun "hot" and only pull the trigger after the magazine change.

 

I DQ'd on the 18th stage of Nationals a few years ago with a borrowed gun.  The only excuse was, my finger was not OFF the trigger during the magazine change, so an AD (probably still up in the air).

 

On th mental game, if you aren't driving at 150% at a local, when you get all amped up at Nationals, you will be messed up.  If you are beating the next guys at your club by 15%, ask yourself why you aren't beating them by 25%.  Dig deep and up your game to really attack every time you pick up the gun during a match.  Then, back off about 1% for Nationals.

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10 hours ago, Trent1k1 said:

When you dryfire a magazine change, do NOT pull the trigger on the draw.  Keep the gun "hot" and only pull the trigger after the magazine change.

 

 

Thats a solid idea.  The two times it has happend its like I just got back on the trigger too quick.  Its not a slam the mag in and the round goes off, its the transition back to the target but getting the finger back on the trigger and obviously too hard too soon.  After training with JJ several times he is a big proponent of prepping the trigger and it is something I have added to my dry fire and constantly working on.  My trigger is nothing crazy, probably around 2lbs.  I have large hands so I run long triggers, so there is not a lot of room in the guard for my finger which likely adds to the issue.   

 

The nerves are definitely the biggest part of the problem.  I can run 4 aces drill live and push sub 2 second runs and never have this happen.  At a major match I dont feel like I am trying harder or "pushing" but I can feel the surge of nerves/adrenaline leading up to the first stage.  Ive read the basham books as well as dozens of other performance related books but I still dont yet have control over it.  

 

For those recommending exercise before, how soon before do you do this.  

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32 minutes ago, CrashDodson said:

 

Thats a solid idea.  The two times it has happend its like I just got back on the trigger too quick.  Its not a slam the mag in and the round goes off, its the transition back to the target but getting the finger back on the trigger and obviously too hard too soon.  After training with JJ several times he is a big proponent of prepping the trigger and it is something I have added to my dry fire and constantly working on.  My trigger is nothing crazy, probably around 2lbs.

 

Here is a picture of my last DQ.  2016 Nationals, 18 stages in.  Only had 8 more rounds to go on the stage.

 

Notice the brass in the air, the mag falling and my finger on the trigger?

 

Borrowed gun, blah, blah.  I started to train with that routine of only touching the trigger AFTER the reload in dryfire after this stage.  The video is even more awesome.  Smoke in the air, bullet travelling to the Orange fields, the RM, the DNROI all watching and yelling stop.....

DQ.jpg

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15 hours ago, motosapiens said:

Listen to steve anderson. Buy Lanny Bassham's book if you need to. Don't 'dial it back', just stop trying to dial it forward for major matches. If you train fast so that fast is normal, you will *be* fast when all you do is watch the gun and call your shots. Trying and rushing will only make you slower, less accurate, and more likely to DQ. I have seen it many times working major matches, including nationals. Seems like the first stage is a pretty common place to DQ because people are freaking out instead of trusting their training and calling their shots.

 

I can speak as one who used to try to "dial it forward" for anything larger than a level 1 match.....like the OP I wanted to win my matches. I was super concerned about the results, and that concern was being driven by my ego. It took years for me to finally listen to more experienced shooters and realize that at the end of the day I have zero control over the results of the match. I could potentially "dial it forward" for every stage, nail it each time, and still not win the match. Ultimately all I would have done is run it on the ragged edge of control and risk a DQ, or even worse, an injury to myself or someone else. The advise I was given, and finally heeded was to just execute and enjoy the process of shooting. Those were things I had complete control over. What that's resulted in is a handful of match wins (level 2 type stuff - I'm not a major player in the game), more consistent match results overall, and, knock on wood, almost 20 years since my last DQ, which was the result of pushing beyond what I had trained, and was capable of.

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16 hours ago, motosapiens said:

Buy Lanny Bassham's book if you need to.

 

Everybody could do well to read it & and absorb it, in my opinion. 

 

Does Brian still sell that here? 

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My 2c worth.

Crash your DQ's are for safety violations - dropping a gun and AD's are major safety violations. The only person who can stop it is you, and you have to remind yourself the DQ is done for safety of others. Many people can get sucked into the mindset of shooting fast, but forget basic safety violations (see the theme running here). What would you say to yourself if you were RO'ing a new shooter doing what you're doing ? 'cause there's your answer 🙂 

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Take up competitive quilting. But beware, some of those old ladies are really tough to beat........

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15 hours ago, Kiwishoot said:

My 2c worth.

Crash your DQ's are for safety violations - dropping a gun and AD's are major safety violations. The only person who can stop it is you, and you have to remind yourself the DQ is done for safety of others. Many people can get sucked into the mindset of shooting fast, but forget basic safety violations (see the theme running here). What would you say to yourself if you were RO'ing a new shooter doing what you're doing ? 'cause there's your answer 🙂 

Obviously.   There are not many DQable offenses that are not related to safety.  The problem is not forgetting to be safe.  The execution of the action is what it is.  The problem is controlling the anxiety.  The speed at which I execute a draw or reload has been programmed via 100s of thousands of reps that are "safe" in practice.  As we improve and as we work harder for something the expectations for ourself also grows which has lead to this issue I am now facing which is new to me.  If i could simply turn off these emotions then there wouldn't be the need for this conversation. 

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