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-JCN-

Course walk / stage planning help!

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I’m looking for some help from A/M/GM level shooters on how you go about stage planning for high cap divisions. 
 

I’m new to the sport and am a “paper A” shooter on classifiers but I still get lost on longer field courses, especially those with partially obscured targets and targets that can be engaged from multiple positions. 
 

I will often “out of sight out of mind” miss one of them or make a conscious decision to ignore one from one position and then forget to engage it from the position I should. 
 

Any advice on how to improve my “memory” for stage planning? What goes through your mind during stage planning and walk through?

 

I read the Enos book and tried to zen it, but I don’t quite have the bandwidth to make it unconsciously competent. 
 

Please share what you’ve done to improve and what you currently do as your routine and if you feel comfortable, what your current classification is. It helps me with interpretive context. 
 

Thank you!

Edited by -JCN-

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A class since 2013.

 

Get a plan and stick to it. If you know that memory is a trick for you stick to "simple" plans. 

 

80% plan executed to 100% beats a 100% plan executed to 80%.

 

Walk it in your mind while resetting, chatting, ect until you have it memorized.

 

Walk the stage from the target point of view if you are not sure of all possible shooting locations for it.

 

If your mind keeps telling you to shoot a target from position A but B is the "right" position to shoot it from, just go with the flow and shoot it from A. Don't fight your mind and body unless you have to.

 

*Keep in mind all this changes as you feel you've overcome your problem. I used to skip 1 to 2 targets per match for the first 2 years of shooting. Still struggle with it sometimes.

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Review it all in your head from array to array. What is the last target you’re going to shoot in the current array, and what is the first target you’re going to shoot after you leave the array?

 

if there’s something you can’t figure out exactly what to do, focus on that during the walkthrough. Ie, don’t spend a bunch of time on the back of a stage of its simple and the front of the stage needs more attention. 

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Check out Mike Seeklander.  He has a website, books, etc.

 

First, read the stage briefing.  Get the number of targets

Second, Walk each shooting position and count targets Only.

Third, Walk the stage and note the target placement and distances.

Fourth, Walk the stage and determine which will be the first and last target from that position.  

Fifth, Do a mental visualization for each position.

Repeat the fourth and fifth steps as many times as necessary, especially when you are on deck.

DON"T change your game plan while on deck.

 

It might seem like to many steps, but having shot on the super squad (of which I am NOT), I see them still do some variation of the basic procedure noted above.

 

In reality you are embedding your plan in your sub-conscious mind.

 

Mike and Phil actually had form they would fill out.

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I started a thread on this very topic........ The search function on this forum is your friend.

 

 

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My process is 

1 find all the targets, Sometimes this is just start at the start position and follow the conga line of shooters and count shots as I go through, sometimes this is go down range and look at the targets and see where they are available from.

2 figure out where I want to shoot each target from, basically I break down the stage into shoot these targets from here, those targets from there etc, its my way of breaking the stage down from 1 big thing into several smaller easier to think about things.

3 figure out what order I want to shoot each locations targets, like what target do I want to enter and exit on,  this can be decided on movement or target difficulty or for semi hidden targets sometimes its good to start with that one so its not missed. for this breakdown targets I want to shoot on the move are either their own group or are tacked onto the begging or end of another position

4 decide where to reload, Hi cap is easier you likely only have 1 to plan, first preference is if there is a place that it feels natural and works round count wise, second is where it needs to fit for round count reasons.

5 visualize the shooting order for each position, what does it look like when I arrive as I transition between targets and as I leave, do this till you remember it, concentrate on the important parts, 3 targets side by side at 5 yd likely doesn't need much visualization, but the transition to that popper behind the barrel across the range through the gap in the walls that you can only see from that one spot likely does.  

 

 

 

Edited by MikeBurgess
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I may be a lowly C class production shooter that runs with B class in field courses, but the biggest thing I find that helps with hidden or obscured targets to look at the fault lines/walls. The vast majority of the time they are placed to allow you to shoot from a position for a reason. Unless you can find a good alternative shooting position to counter the obvious one, those little points/offshoots of the shooting area are usually there to let you shoot at something. 

 

I am not saying to use those obvious areas all the time, but as I am running a stage I can use them as a reminder of my stage plan that I had better get those targets from somewhere else if I am not going to use those positions. 

Hopefully that all made sense. 

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Re-read Paul's post; Seeklander does a great job talking about the importance of visualization. There are two types of visualization; the one that you'll use for stage analysis is Active Visualization. 

 

By the time you are told to "Make Ready" you should have shot the stage 20-25 times in your mind. If you do this in matches AND in training you will never again forget a target. 

 

High limited classification is 98%, high Production is about the same. L10/Sstk are much lower. 

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12 hours ago, perttime said:

^^ How much time are USPSA Matches allowing for walkthroughs anyway?

Generally 5 minutes

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2 hours ago, Sarge said:

Generally 5 minutes

 

At the Level 2 IPSC matches that I've been going to, it is usually 4 minutes for a long stage (max 32 rounds required), assuming squads are not much over 10 competitors. A Short stage might allow 2 minutes.

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7 hours ago, perttime said:

 

At the Level 2 IPSC matches that I've been going to, it is usually 4 minutes for a long stage (max 32 rounds required), assuming squads are not much over 10 competitors. A Short stage might allow 2 minutes.

Universally 5 minutes at every match I’ve shot. But if the squad is ready to go we start them early. Typical on speed shoots etc 

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Figure out the shortest distance between positions via counting steps. If you need to reload, use the longest point between positions (Often this tends to be after the first 4-6 shots. Open shooters should be reloading to a big stick more often than they do I find).

 

Shooting on the move as much as you are comfortable with.

 

I tend to be able to guesstimate how long a stage should take, but that takes going to A LOT of matches. You need to be honest with your own skillset to be accurate.

 

Memory stages are just broken down into positions most of the time. Being in a Hi cap Division makes re engaging hurt less as you normally have extra rounds in your mags compared to Prod/SS. My method is stage dependent but normally I find the spot where I can see the most targets and engage those from that location. Then fill in the blanks as needed. True memory stages tend to be about time. I see large gaps even in the top guys times. This is why burning the stage plan into your memory is so important. I close my eyes during peoples runs and visually run the stage over and over and over. Watching others can mess you up big time, especially if someone does something you like but didn't think of. This can cause major issues as you attempt to adapt on the fly. It rarely goes well lol.

 

I dry fire on a wall full of targets. I pick certain one out and use those in my training strings (Change constantly). This allows for a busy wall that my eyes get used to. I'm forced to focus on where my eyes go. If they wander, my transitions are very slow or even worse... transition to the incorrect target. Ive found this helps a lot on stages like "memory stages".

 

YMMV - Open GM

 

 

Edited by Maximis228

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On 2/10/2020 at 9:47 AM, perttime said:

^^ How much time are USPSA Matches allowing for walkthroughs anyway?

 

5 minutes

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