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are today's shooters better than ever before?


Tango
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I have come across this video below, which shows 2012 Limited Nationals. There you can see some of worlds best shooters doing their business. One thing I noticed though is the classifiers they shot don't look impressive at all. For example, at the 17 min mark, you can see them shooting The Roscoe Rattle, and the average time was something like 8.5 seconds, with one shooter finishing in 9.2 seconds! I am new B level shooter but shot this classifier last week in 9 seconds (11A, 7C)...I mean some of these guys looked super conservative and kind of slow...what am I missing here??

 

 

 

 

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First off, most of those guys *are* today's shooters. Second, my impression is that top shooters don't typically burn down classifiers or short courses in big matches. Those are stages where you can lose more than you can gain. Also I think that was the first time that stage was used. I think no one had really shot anything like that in a match before, so they were a little conservative over the no-shoot on the middle target. As it turns out, you can shoot it hella faster than many of them did, especially if you're not worrying about making a mistake that lets Nils pull away. Heck, I botched the reload and shot it in 8.74 last weekend (16A, 1C, 1D) and I'm 58.

 

I worked that match btw,  Burn it Down (stage 15?). Sadly, I only see Paige and I think John in the vid, and not me. That was the first year I shot USPSA and the first major match I worked. Big fun.

Edited by motosapiens
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5 minutes ago, motosapiens said:

First off, most of those guys *are* today's shooters. Second, my impression is that top shooters don't typically burn down classifiers or short courses in big matches. Those are stages where you can lose more than you can gain. Also I think that was the first time that stage was used. I think no one had really shot anything like that in a match before, so they were a little conservative over the no-shoot on the middle target. As it turns out, you can shoot it hella faster than many of them did, especially if you're not worrying about making a mistake that lets Nils pull away. Heck, I botched the reload and shot it in 8.74 last weekend (16A, 1C, 1D) and I'm 58.

 

I worked that match btw,  Burn it Down (stage 15?). Sadly, I only see Paige and I think John in the vid, and not me. That was the first year I shot USPSA and the first major match I worked. Big fun.

It was the first time I ever shot that classifier too, and I sure wasn't trying to burn it down, but I was faster than some of these top level shooters. Heck, there were at least 10 guys in our local club that were as fast or faster than some of the shooters in the video. This is weird. Are there any statistics how USPSA shooters' speed changed over the years?

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Whenever I am on the internet and I compare myself to other shooters, I am always better. But then reality hits. 

 

Let's not judge people on video. Instead, how about we just show up to prove ourselves that way, huh? It is one of the reasons I NEVER use Strava because that is not competition, but a false sense of it. When it is you against the other shooters on that day, in that competition, you get humbled. Some of the most amazing local shooters here in Reno look slow, but they are actually really fast and accurate. I never assume I am better until I actually beat some of them, which hasn't happened yet. 

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13 minutes ago, Nevadazielmeister said:

Whenever I am on the internet and I compare myself to other shooters, I am always better. But then reality hits. 

 

Let's not judge people on video. Instead, how about we just show up to prove ourselves that way, huh? It is one of the reasons I NEVER use Strava because that is not competition, but a false sense of it. When it is you against the other shooters on that day, in that competition, you get humbled. Some of the most amazing local shooters here in Reno look slow, but they are actually really fast and accurate. I never assume I am better until I actually beat some of them, which hasn't happened yet. 

Guys, I mean no harm here. Relax. I know my place and I do know who these shooters are. No need go get all passive aggressive on me.

 

Still, I have a valid point: these shooters were pretty slow in that classifier. It is an objective matter: they could barely make M today with those times (assuming they had all A's). Its math. Can't argue with math.

Edited by Tango
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13 hours ago, Tango said:

 

Still, I have a valid point: these shooters were pretty slow in that classifier. It is an objective matter: they could barely make M today with those times (assuming they had all A's). Its math. Can't argue with math.

 

fwiw, that stage wasn't actually a classifier then. It was *probably* set up the same, but without looking at the targets, hard to say for sure. If they used those scores to set the HHF, it would make sense, because that was one of the easiest classifiers to get a good score on for many years, and it was one of the classifiers that counted to bump me up to B, then A, then M. 

 

Also, it is not unusual at all for GM's to shoot M-level or worse classifiers at major matches, for the reasons I brought up earlier. They are not going to take chances trying to hero/zero something. My classifiers at majors are typically 10-20% below my classification (except for the super-easy ones like lightning and thunder), but they are still good stage scores and usually rank in the middle or towards the front of my class.

 

Watching them shoot that stage, and then watching some of the other stages, it is pretty clearly they are hella faster than barely making M on everything else, so they shot that stage a bit slower for some reason. light conditions, stage setup, bad mood, who knows? Maybe it's just one of those classifers that is easy for mid-level shooters to do well on, but hard to separate yourself from the pack. If you want to win a match, you are probably going to shoot a pace that you can repeat 10 out of 10 times.  Can the shooter in the vid above get a 10.87 HF 10 out of 10 times? Can the OP shoot it in 9 seconds with good hits 10 out of 10 times?

Edited by motosapiens
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8 hours ago, motosapiens said:

If you want to win a match, you are probably going to shoot a pace that you can repeat 10 out of 10 times.  Can the shooter in the vid above get a 10.87 HF 10 out of 10 times? Can the OP shoot it in 9 seconds with good hits 10 out of 10 times?

This

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21 hours ago, Tango said:

Guys, I mean no harm here. Relax. I know my place and I do know who these shooters are. No need go get all passive aggressive on me.

 

Still, I have a valid point: these shooters were pretty slow in that classifier. It is an objective matter: they could barely make M today with those times (assuming they had all A's). Its math. Can't argue with math.

Motosapiens seemed to provide the perfect answer to your question....twice.  I mean he even has first hand knowledge, he was there. Not sure you can ask for better info.

But overall I'll bet as techniques and technology improves, shooters get faster.

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14 hours ago, toothandnail said:

Don't know about USPSA only been shooting it 1 year. But 3 gun speeds are phenomenally faster today than  10 years ago, and the up coming jr's are already beating the "fast" guys quite often.

 

I think today's shooters are better overall. This is similar to what happened to martial arts in the past decade with the proliferation of MMA and internet videos: inefficient techniques disappeared and overall skill levels increased dramatically. Better communication, cross-breeding of methods and techniques....in short better communication technology allowed shooters to learn from each other much faster than ever before.

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I think that assessing top shooters skills on a single classifier stage built into the nationals (Before it was really a classifier) is short sighted. Do some historical research on any prior years nationals that had standards stages that turned into classifiers. Compare the Nationals stage winners to the current High Hit Factors you will ALWAYS see that the Nationals stage performances are at least 10 - 20% below the Classifier high hit factor a couple years later. Motosapien has already pointed out the real reasons why the top shooters are performing conservatively on these standards stages at the Nationals. The risk of pushing to 100% performance isn't worth the potential disaster. You can't Win a national title on those stages, but you sure as hell can lose a national title on them by going for broke and it leading to a train wreck.

 

To answer the general question of "Are shooters better than ever before?", that is somewhat of a trick question. Maximum performance at a World Championships level better? Marginally yes. General improved skill level by the average shooter? Absolutely. I think that the average shooters basic skill level has improved at least one classification level in the last 10 years simply because High Quality training instruction is much more accessible. This is especially true when you look at all of the FREE training content available online. Basically put, the average shooter wastes less time sucking at specific skills because it is fairly easy to find viable solutions to fix common problems. This "Problem Fixing" knowledge snowballs at the range when competitors talk about what they have succeeded at fixing which leads others to utilize the same training content to fix their issues. This doesn't mean that competitors don't have to put in the hard work to fix their issues today. They are simply spoon fed the solutions to fix the issues much more than in the past. To sum it up, shooters today are better at finding solutions to their issues than in the past simply because of all the high quality training content that can be found for free online. This in turn short cuts their learning curve which allows their skill level to improve dramatically faster than before when most shooters were isolated and tried fixing issues by doing random ineffective training.  

Edited by CHA-LEE
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1 minute ago, CHA-LEE said:

I think that assessing top shooters skills on a single classifier stage built into the nationals (Before it was really a classifier) is short sighted. Do some historical research on any prior years nationals that had standards stages that turned into classifiers. Compare the Nationals stage winners to the current High Hit Factors you will ALWAYS see that the Nationals stage performances are at least 10 - 20% below the Classifier high hit factor a couple years later. Motosapien has already pointed out the real reasons why the top shooters are performing conservatively on these standards stages at the Nationals. The risk of pushing to 100% performance isn't worth the potential disaster. You can't Win a national title on those stages, but you sure as hell can lose a national title on them by going for broke and it leading to a train wreck.

 

To answer the general question of "Are shooters better than ever before?", that is somewhat of a trick question. Maximum performance at a World Championships level better? Marginally yes. General improved skill level by the average shooter? Absolutely. I think that the average shooters basic skill level has improved at least one classification level simply because High Quality training instruction is much more accessible. This is especially true when you look at all of the FREE training content available online. Basically put, the average shooter wastes less time sucking at specific skills because it is fairly easy to find viable solutions to fix common problems. This "Problem Fixing" knowledge snowballs at the range when competitors talk about what they have succeeded at fixing which leads others to utilize the same training content to fix their issues. This doesn't mean that competitors don't have to put in the hard work to fix their issues today. They are simply spoon fed the solutions to fix the issues much more than in the past. To sum it up, shooters today are better at finding solutions to their issues than in the past simply because of all the high quality training content that can be found for free online. This in turn short cuts their learning curve which allows their skill level to improve dramatically faster than before when most shooters were isolated and tried fixing issues by doing random ineffective training.  

 

this makes sense.

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Availability of info and training is huge.  There are also far more shooters now than ever before.  That biases the skill level higher as well. 

 

It took twenty years from the founding to issue 31,000 USPSA numbers, yet we have more shooters than that actively shooting now.

 

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On 10/23/2019 at 9:11 PM, Tango said:

here, some random guy (better than me) shredding it in 2019, with HF: 10.87, in 7:73seconds. 88%

 

 

 

Alex Acosta, I shoot with him every other Saturday in Austin. We're lucky in that we often have great Prod shooters at that match.

I have multiple division stage wins at Area and even National matches. And it means nothing other than I got lucky, not that I'm better than them. Your basis for making the argument isn't valid from that one stage at one match.

 

To Charlie's and Roy's points I think another thing beyond way better training possibilites for today's shooters is the fact we now get to see them. Your pull of Alex above is just such a thing. I always run into people at matches who know me from here, youtube or IG only. You get to see who is better than average now in other states just by looking at your phone. If all you ever saw was your local hot shots I don't think you'd ever get better. I travel a lot and I can tell you there are TONS of clubs out there who don't have a single M or GM shooting in them on a regular basis. So they think A is an amazing skill level..... But get on ig or yt and you can then see what a good M or GM can actually do. So to me, it's not just now knowing how to train better, but it is seeing what "good" actually is. Far more positive examples of what could be done.

Edited by rowdyb
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I think this proves my theory about the delusion of the HHF setting the target for classifier performance. At a serious match the top shooters do not want to zero a stage so they shoot this classifier at a pace they can be sure will help their overall score.  The same guy at a local match will go hero/zero on the classifier and hope to get lucky. Sometimes he does and it raises the bar for everybody. There is no inclusion of the two or three times that he shoots the classifier like crap.

 

There have been many suggestions that classifier requirements be set by the statistics of all attempts distributed over ranges predetermined by USPSA as the distribution of shooters wanted in each classification.. The use of hero/zero classifier scores will never be valid statistically valid. It forces everybody to be hero/zero and results in both shooters who can't ever shoot their classification in a match and shooters who are under classified either by choice or because they suck at stationary classifiers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Remember that Major match speed and local classifier speed are entirely two different animals for many of the reasons posted above.  

To answer the original question Are shooters better today than before?  I would answer YES!

Video technology and training programs have allowed the average shooter to improve.  I'm a little rusty on my shooting history, but the top shooters back in the day all had regular jobs. Right?  today, they are paid to shoot and practice.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

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5 hours ago, Brooke said:

I think this proves my theory about the delusion of the HHF setting the target for classifier performance. At a serious match the top shooters do not want to zero a stage so they shoot this classifier at a pace they can be sure will help their overall score.  The same guy at a local match will go hero/zero on the classifier and hope to get lucky. Sometimes he does and it raises the bar for everybody. There is no inclusion of the two or three times that he shoots the classifier like crap.

 

There have been many suggestions that classifier requirements be set by the statistics of all attempts distributed over ranges predetermined by USPSA as the distribution of shooters wanted in each classification.. The use of hero/zero classifier scores will never be valid statistically valid. It forces everybody to be hero/zero and results in both shooters who can't ever shoot their classification in a match and shooters who are under classified either by choice or because they suck at stationary classifiers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good info, I’ve never really thought about it this way. 

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5 hours ago, Brooke said:

I think this proves my theory about the delusion of the HHF setting the target for classifier performance. At a serious match the top shooters do not want to zero a stage so they shoot this classifier at a pace they can be sure will help their overall score.  The same guy at a local match will go hero/zero on the classifier and hope to get lucky. Sometimes he does and it raises the bar for everybody. There is no inclusion of the two or three times that he shoots the classifier like crap.

 

There have been many suggestions that classifier requirements be set by the statistics of all attempts distributed over ranges predetermined by USPSA as the distribution of shooters wanted in each classification.. The use of hero/zero classifier scores will never be valid statistically valid. It forces everybody to be hero/zero and results in both shooters who can't ever shoot their classification in a match and shooters who are under classified either by choice or because they suck at stationary classifiers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The proper way of classification can be done by plotting the distribution of all HF's from a given period (which will typically be a log-normal distribution), assign top 5% of shooters GM, the next 10% M, and so on...in other words grade them on a curve. This is what I though was being done by USPSA, and I was shocked to learn about the nonsense method they currently use. It just doesnt make much sense.

 

Nevertheless, I do not think even in local matches people usually want to trash a match by going hero or zero. And it seems like there is consensus that today's shooters are better. And, come on people lets admit: the the way they shot that 2012 Nationals classifier look awfully slow :)

Edited by Tango
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HHF is how stages are scored too. Back in pen and paper days these were an effective measure and easily understand. USPSA HF scoring is already complicated, adding any more math even behind a computer would cause people to lose their minds.

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To me this is what makes this sport so frustrating/challenging/discouraging. 

 

If I'm improving x% per year, but everyone else is also improving x% per year, then it's a wash. No net improvement. 

 

I remember when I first started; practiced a LOT and shot a LOT of matches. I rapidly moved up and was pretty quickly beating more experienced guys. 

 

I thought maybe I might Be Somebody. I thought that for about five seconds, until some other newer guy zipped past me. 

 

I picture a race like out of Mad Max or Star Wars; we're all driving across the desert in various post apocalyptic contraptions. Some guys do good, some run out of gas, some are faster than others, some crash, etc. 

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The simple answer to the question in your subject is yes, without question.  The entire level of skill continues to move upward and that includes the entire field. 

 

It's pretty crazy that as soon as one person does something that seemed unattainable, immediately many others are able to do it as well.  That drives the progression of the sport.

 

Like konkapot stated above, if you want to move up you have to first improve constantly just to keep up with the overall improvements of everyone else and then you've got to improve even more than that to get ahead.

Edited by theWacoKid
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On 10/26/2019 at 9:25 AM, Tango said:

Nevertheless, I do not think even in local matches people usually want to trash a match by going hero or zero. And it seems like there is consensus that today's shooters are better. And, come on people lets admit: the the way they shot that 2012 Nationals classifier look awfully slow :)

 

do the other stages look slow too? or just that one new classifier?

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