Jump to content
Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!
-JCN-

What happens to competitors after 5 years?

Recommended Posts

In 2016, I shot one match in USPSA as a new-to-firearms shooter then realized I needed to work on basic skills first before adding complexity. 
 

Restarted mid-2019 and realized there were very few people with member numbers around mine. Most were people of 2019+ vintage and this is a pretty well attended region. 
 

Sure, there are some (maybe 5%) low member numbers but I was a little surprised at the turnover. 
 

For people who have been at the sport for a while, can you offer theories / observations?

 

I know that when I pick up hobbies I usually go hard at it as a test of myself, but then after I achieve a certain level I go looking for the next low hanging (but difficult) fruit. 
 

In golf terms it’d be like working to be a single digit handicapper, but then demoting it to casual status rather than going for scratch golfing ability. 
 

Is there a high burnout / turnover rate in this sport? Why do people who are pretty good just disappear?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Life happens. People get new jobs, move, married, kids or whatever and time/money available to play changes.

I played golf for 30 years at a low single digit handicap level. For me it got to a point where I had too high expectations for my performance which lead to frustration when I didn’t perform. The effort, in terms of time and money, to improve became no longer worth it. Now I’ve now gotten to the point where I play golf maybe twice a year and really enjoy it. I still break 80 but with no self induced pressure it’s a totally different experience.

On the other hand, now I shoot like 15 matches a month. I’m still learning so the challenge is still there. I’m classified in 7 of 8 (no revo but I just got a 627...) divisions and have at times worked hard on several of them. I recently found steel challenge and set a goal to classify in all 13 SC divisions in 2020 (three to go). Point being...I’ve found there are always fresh opportunities to learn in USPSA and SC which has been part of keeping me engaged in the sport for the last 10 years.

Will I stop shooting at some point? Hard to say, but I never thought I’d all but quit golf either. Taking life as it comes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People work out that it takes effort to get to GM let alone win Nats and flame out.

Stoeger hits the nail right on the head in his new book with Joel Park.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

5 years is longer than a lot of marriages.  I think people's interest change.  I shot a lot for about 10 years,  but find myself shooting less and less now. I think for me a large part of it was that it was a family event when my son was growing up,  but now he's in a different part of the state and USPSA by itself doesn't hold as much of an interest for me as i thought it did.

 

I have begun spending more time and money on archery and hunting than guns and uspsa recently.  But it has nothing to do with not making gm or winning big matches,  more to do changing interest . I will still shoot occasionally,  but it will probably be a few times a year, where it used to be a few times a month 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With any hobby I think people after a bit ask themselves where is this going?  I know I did in RC racing.  I was in the mix at large events making A-Mains, traveling around the country, but the amount of work to get there was like having a second job. On top of that your weekend could be ruined by other drivers  driving dirty.  There was no recourse for crappy drivers taking you out.  I then asked myself where is this going?  Burnout contributed as well to me leaving that hobby.

 

Is a hobby a job or something that should be fun?  Is a hobby something you should get frustrated with?  Probably depends on how a person is wired.  Are they super competitive and have to win or place to stay interested?  If that the case are they willing to put in the work to reach that level?  Do they just want to attend and play?  All of these things are really individual dependent.  Shooting is like many hobbies I have observed.  Turnover is always a part of the equation.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I asked USPSA a while back what the "lifecycle" of the average shooter was from signing up as a member to not shooting many matches anymore.

 

They didn't have the data handy but from looking at local match results, it looks like only about half of the names from 5 years ago show up in results from last year.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My local club had a dozen shooters I recognized from about 12 years ago,

when I got started.

 

Shot with most of them for 8-9 years, and then I took a three year break.

 

Just came back to couple matches, and they're ALL gone.

 

I was shocked.   No idea where they went.

 

Suspected we'd have lost a few, but never suspected they'd ALL

be gone.   ????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Generally people plateau and aren't able/willing to put in the effort to continue to progress. Or their interests change, life changes, new work schedule, new significant other. I've only been at this four years and have already seen an alarming decay. The matches keep filling up with new blood, so maybe the .org doesn't see it as a problem? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aren’t all hobbies the same way?

  I road dirt bikes for years. One day I just stopped.

  I shot Trap for a long time but it was always boring. One day I just stopped.

  I golfed for 10 years and got to a 7 handicap. One day I just stopped.

  I have been shooting USPSA for going on 12 years and still enjoy it. But I won’t shoot in the rain, or in the freezing cold. And in extreme heat.😂 Fortunately there are enough matches around that I can pass one weekend and shoot the next.

  Much different from my first few years when I shot indoor matches all winter, traveled all over to shoot in the rain or heat and was very unhappy if something came up causing me to miss a local match.

  

  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe, whether people are aware or not, it boils down to "pay value".  Lanny Bassham explains it in his book.  Basically, if you have a goal, it must have a pay value.

That may mean being the top guy in the US, or the guy at your local match that always wins.  It also could be hitting a level that you can win B class in your sleep anywhere , anytime.

If no pay value is really achieved,  then the goal doesn't matter.  But you can still shoot, and maybe just forget goals if you want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting topic ,, I have been shooting competition now for 3 years , and have a 2022 goal set for myself, if I achieve it I will be happy. 5 year plan for me , not sure what to do afterwards. I should read those books mentioned above.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Frozen said:

Very interesting topic ,, I have been shooting competition now for 3 years , and have a 2022 goal set for myself, if I achieve it I will be happy. 5 year plan for me , not sure what to do afterwards. I should read those books mentioned above.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

That's hinting at something that happens. People set a goal, and work and work at it. Then they achieve it and it's great but then they loose their motivation because that thing that has been driving them isn't there anymore. I think there is a term for it I can't remember, it can basically be like depression. And if a person can't figure out how to get through that that will be the end of it for them. Doesn't just apply to shooting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that it depends on your goals. For example, I have no interest in putting in the time and effort to get to GM. I shoot for 3 reasons:

 

I like getting out and making noise and putting holes in targets.

i enjoy the people that I meet and shoot with.

I think that a certain amount of training and practice should be required to hold on to my CCW permit.

 

like Sarge, I don’t shoot in the rain or cold. That’s not enjoyable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like racingready said, that collapse after accomplishing your goal can be crushing if you don't have a new one ready to fill that spot. Winning my first local match felt great for a few hours, but then I thought what now? Winning a major seemed so far out of my reach yet it was the next logical goal. 

 

If a person can't reach their goals they will quit or scale back. 

 

That is for the people that don't quit due to the outside forces such as moving, family, money ect. Some places are easier to shoot than others. Some only shoot cause their buddies are, so of the bro quit then they will too

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Locally we have shooters that seem to fall into 3 groups

 

Group 1 , I'll call "Lifestyle shooters", they are in it for the long haul, they have figured out there place in the game and shoot for fun, most try to do their best but they are not hyper focused on success,  shooting is not their hobby its their lifestyle, most of their weekends and vacations involve shooting activities, I see very little turnover in this group.

 

Group 2, I'll call "Hobbyists" they shoot their local match, rarely travel, to them a match is just a thing to do. They may be motivated by getting better at shooting in general or matches are the only time they shoot. this group tends to turn over pretty fast, some keep at it shooting a few matches a year forever some migrate to Group 1 a few even get motivated and move to group 3.

 

Group 3, I'll call "Competitors" they are there to win, they have performance goals and expectations, they work hard to to meet their goals, and it shows, this group also has a lot of turnover, some burn out, some reach their goal and search for a new one somewhere else, some realize their goals are harder to reach than they thought and become discouraged, a few migrate to Group 1

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Sarge said:

Aren’t all hobbies the same way?

  I road dirt bikes for years. One day I just stopped.

  I shot Trap for a long time but it was always boring. One day I just stopped.

  I golfed for 10 years and got to a 7 handicap. One day I just stopped.

  I have been shooting USPSA for going on 12 years and still enjoy it. But I won’t shoot in the rain, or in the freezing cold. And in extreme heat.😂 Fortunately there are enough matches around that I can pass one weekend and shoot the next.

  Much different from my first few years when I shot indoor matches all winter, traveled all over to shoot in the rain or heat and was very unhappy if something came up causing me to miss a local match.

  

  

 

I agree.


It's a life thing, not a shooting thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are exactly 2.5 years in - well and truly stuck in group 3.  Which especially sucks #### this year as all the matches we cared about have been flushed down the drain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting better is fun, new experiences (1st major matches, 1st time you run the Texas start like a boss, etc) are fun.

 

When you stop getting better and run out of neat new experiences then you either stay for other reasons (friendship, business affiliation, etc) or look for more fun options for your time and money. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, people change as do life situations.

 

I know several folks that only shoot local level 1 matches and don't care for USPSA oversight so they let their memberships lapse and just shoot for fun. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son was interested in USPSA and we started shooting some local matches, as well as traveling a couple times per month when he was about 9 years old. He was always the youngest shooter at any matches we attended, and he received a lot of compliments on his gun handling and safety. After a few years he started playing football, at QB, and that took up most of our spare time.  We started shooting Steel Challenge in the football off season, and then a couple clubs in our area started shooting ISSA speed steel.  We both shot some state championships and placed well. We liked ISSA even better than SC because of the stage variety. I ran our local steel match for a bit over a year and we usually traveled to 1 or 2 other steel matches a month. We each have a variety of steel guns and enjoy mixing up the classes we shoot.  A busy school schedule for my son kept us from shooting any matches the last couple of years, though we still shoot frequently.

 

The PCC class has me interested in USPSA again, and my son is interested and can make time for some matches.  I have a lot of free time, and an RV, so traveling to some matches and making it a fun overnight with the wife sounds like fun.  I think I'll renew my membership once this pandemic is over.  One of the things I miss the most is the other like minded folks at matches. Especially when I was running our local steel match I got to know a lot of the other shooters and always enjoyed the conversations. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread is pretty insightful, and wild you came up with the 5 year thing. Seems to be a thing,, about 5
I did the BASS tournament trail for 5 years and quit.  Then did USPSA  IIRC was 6 years but not certain.. Just looked and I did Endurance horse racing for 5 seasons and stopped.
Same reason... I basically plateaued in my abilities and the work to fun ratio tipped to far to the work side so I quit.
I would probably still shoot USPSA Level 1's if it wasnt so much work or so much nothing for a few minutes of shooting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I went back and looked at results from the summer of 2015 and while I didnt do a hard count it looks like we have about 75% of the shooters still shooting our matches or matches in our area on at least a semi regular basis, several of the ones that no longer shoot locally have moved and another group has "retired" out of 90 or so shooters at the match I checked I would not be surprised to see 70 at a match when we finally get to have one

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Sarge said:

Aren’t all hobbies the same way?

  I road dirt bikes for years. One day I just stopped.

  I shot Trap for a long time but it was always boring. One day I just stopped.

  I golfed for 10 years and got to a 7 handicap. One day I just stopped.

  I have been shooting USPSA for going on 12 years and still enjoy it. But I won’t shoot in the rain, or in the freezing cold. And in extreme heat.😂 Fortunately there are enough matches around that I can pass one weekend and shoot the next.

  Much different from my first few years when I shot indoor matches all winter, traveled all over to shoot in the rain or heat and was very unhappy if something came up causing me to miss a local match.

  

  

you said it brother! If it raining or cold I ain't shooting! I love the heat though, and I'll shoot in 100+ degrees heat anyway over the cold

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Hi-Power Jack said:

My local club had a dozen shooters I recognized from about 12 years ago,

when I got started.

 

Shot with most of them for 8-9 years, and then I took a three year break.

 

Just came back to couple matches, and they're ALL gone.

 

I was shocked.   No idea where they went.

 

Suspected we'd have lost a few, but never suspected they'd ALL

be gone.   ????

People are important.  If their friends quit showing up, many people will bail too.

 

A while ago a friend I used to shoot with regularly came out to shoot after some years off.  He said "when I was shooting a lot, every now and then some dude would show up and people would say 'he used to shoot with us back in the day' ... Now I'm that guy".   Wife, Life, Kids... life and priorities changed..

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...