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changing gears when shoting a stage


Tango
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One issue I have: I can get stuck in the too accurate/slow gear or in the hosing gear during a stage. I can do both types of shooting separately, but not in the same stage. If the stage involves tough shots or it is a mentally challenging stage, I will be very accurate but slow. Obviously, not good for HF. Other times, I can be quite fast if the stages involve mostly hosing type arrays, but throw in a steel or partial in that stage, I will miss. It seems I am not able to switch between super aggressive hosing vs. careful shooting during a stage, as appropriately required. 

 

I am a new A class. Any advise here?

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19 hours ago, Tango said:

One issue I have: I can get stuck in the too accurate/slow gear or in the hosing gear during a stage. I can do both types of shooting separately, but not in the same stage. If the stage involves tough shots or it is a mentally challenging stage, I will be very accurate but slow. Obviously, not good for HF. Other times, I can be quite fast if the stages involve mostly hosing type arrays, but throw in a steel or partial in that stage, I will miss. It seems I am not able to switch between super aggressive hosing vs. careful shooting during a stage, as appropriately required. 

 

I am a new A class. Any advise here?

Pretty common problem. Good stage designers like to deliberately make shooters "change gear". Even some of the best get sucked in to the trap. lean around a wall and hose 2-3 targets at 10 feet then two mini poppers at about 25 yards. Most will hose the paper then just rip two shots at the steel and miss the first few shots until they take aim.

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59 minutes ago, Sarge said:

Pretty common problem. Good stage designers like to deliberately make shooters "change gear". Even some of the best get sucked in to the trap. lean around a wall and hose 2-3 targets at 10 feet then two mini poppers at about 25 yards. Most will hose the paper then just rip two shots at the steel and miss the first few shots until they take aim.

i do that, i can also take the steel just fine, but then be sluggish the rest of the stage...so it goes both ways

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The accelerator drill is excellent - I modify it slightly by setting up a mini popper as the far target (propped up so it doesn't fall) - and also try to get 2 hits on it to make sure my recoil control is good.

Run it both near to far (decelerating) as well as far to near (accelerating)- you'll find both situations in matches. Push as fast as you can while getting your hits and use a shot timer to analyse your split times on the near/medium /far targets (another reason why I shoot 2 shots on the mini popper).

Dedicate a whole training session just to this drill (if necessary, more) - and then run it regularly going forward to maintain the "gear-changing" skills.

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Right now your "switch" is like a light switch, two positions. Next step you'll be a toaster and have about 6 positions. Eventually you'll become a rheostat/dimmer switch and have everything available to you within your potential range of vision and physical ability.

 

But as you asked, how does one develop this? Mentally, physically and visually. If no one there is teaching you, well you'll have to teach yourself. And hard honesty, great self awareness and videoing your practice is going to be needed if that is to be successful.

 

Quickly to just begin helping you Mentally 1. stop believing your internal clock. it is likely wrong. 2. remove the words fast and slow from your descriptive vocabulary. Physically. 1. Shoot the great number of change up drills out there, both live and dry fire. Visually. Become aware of your visual cues that cause you to pull the trigger. What you see/are aware of will tell you what to do.

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I think many people get trapped into the idea that they can only shoot fast by not seeing very much, so it is a 'gear switch' to be able to see more for a more difficult shot. Truth is you can shoot pretty damn fast while seeing enough to call good shots too, then on a harder target you just continue to see the sights where they need to be.

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15 minutes ago, motosapiens said:

I think many people get trapped into the idea that they can only shoot fast by not seeing very much, so it is a 'gear switch' to be able to see more for a more difficult shot. Truth is you can shoot pretty damn fast while seeing enough to call good shots too, then on a harder target you just continue to see the sights where they need to be.

Yes, precisely the point. I am not missing most shots because of my trigger pull or anything, but actually the dot is not on the target in the first place. It requires a small bit of extra patience to confirm the dot, but then that extra patience can make me start going slower....it is weird.

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1 hour ago, Tango said:

Yes, precisely the point. I am not missing most shots because of my trigger pull or anything, but actually the dot is not on the target in the first place. It requires a small bit of extra patience to confirm the dot, but then that extra patience can make me start going slower....it is weird.

"Slow" is somewhat relative (only somewhat - you can actually be too slow..lol) - Hit Factor is more important. You may feel that you ran a stage slowly, but your Hit Factor might say otherwise. Make sure that you are correctly identifying the issue.

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I shoot matches (CO) where I am the most accurate in the entire match. I also shoot matches where my time is on par with open GM's, but accuracy suffers (misses, no shoots, steel left standing). In both cases my match performance is about the same (70% to 80% of the winner, typically a PPC or CO GM). I am trying to make gains, which is why I am pushing speed. I want to shoot at my top speed, and still get acceptable hits.

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1 hour ago, Tango said:

Yes, precisely the point. I am not missing most shots because of my trigger pull or anything, but actually the dot is not on the target in the first place. It requires a small bit of extra patience to confirm the dot, but then that extra patience can make me start going slower....it is weird.

I started in this sport as an overaiming turtle, and I still occasionally regress to that behavior, but one of the things I have noticed in training to go faster is that it really doesn't take any more time to see the sights on hoser targets and call good shots. In fact it is often *faster* for me than simply pulling the trigger as fast as I can while pointing the gun roughly towards the targets, and I get way fewer C's as well. 

 

2 things that have helped me immensely:

 

1. practicing on 3" circles at 7 yards, trying to learn how to grip the gun so as to shoot faster pairs (and triples) while watching every shot, and being able to call the ones that hit outside the circles. this really helped refine my grip, and my shot-calling.

 

2. doing some fast target arrays back to back with a total hoser mindset, and then with a 'seeing the sights as fast as I can' mindset.

 

You may be surprised to find out that you can go very nearly as fast as total hoser mode while shooting accurately and calling good shots. Once you believe that, you can trust it, and stop trying to force the speed in a match. You can then shoot as fast as you can see, with confidence that it will be plenty fast.

Edited by motosapiens
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17 minutes ago, motosapiens said:

I started in this sport as an overaiming turtle, and I still occasionally regress to that behavior, but one of the things I have noticed in training to go faster is that it really doesn't take any more time to see the sights on hoser targets and call good shots. In fact it is often *faster* for me than simply pulling the trigger as fast as I can while pointing the gun roughly towards the targets, and I get way fewer C's as well. 

 

2 things that have helped me immensely:

 

1. practicing on 3" circles at 7 yards, trying to learn how to grip the gun so as to shoot faster pairs (and triples) while watching every shot, and being able to call the ones that hit outside the circles. this really helped refine my grip, and my shot-calling.

 

2. doing some fast target arrays back to back with a total hoser mindset, and then with a 'seeing the sights as fast as I can' mindset.

 

You may be surprised to find out that you can go very nearly as fast as total hoser mode while shooting accurately and calling good shots. Once you believe that, you can trust it, and stop trying to force the speed in a match. You can then shoot as fast as you can see, with confidence that it will be plenty fast.

very cool, however i almost never live fire train. something for dry fire?

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36 minutes ago, Tango said:

i thought you could dry fire yourself all the way to GM

 

You can get really far with just dryfire, but everyone will plateau somewhere. It's unlikely you'll get to GM with out live fire, I certainly haven't meet anyone that did. And today the HHF's are higher then ever, so it's not like GM is getting easier to reach.

 

 

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All the posters above have great examples of drills to do.  I'll throw something else out there.  How about your footwork and entry and exit?  You will be amazed at how much time you will pick up by maximizing your entry and exit into and out of shooting positions and you footwork from position to position.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/13/2020 at 10:46 AM, Tango said:

very cool, however i almost never live fire train. something for dry fire?

You have to force your vision to dictate speed, so the only thing you can do in dry fire is to create conflict between timer and your pace. Let me try to explain.

 

One live fire drill I do often with a few rounds, usually cold, then when I have a round or two left in the magazine between drills. Draw on a 55 yard steel (belongs to the range) and make sure I get the hit. Not the specific time, but get the hit. If I mess it up, if my vision is blurry or rushed, if I cannot settle the sights or cannot recognize the sight picture quickly (rushing, tension), I do NOT fire (yet) and let the timer run until I can guarantee the hit. So, I get 1.5 seconds when I do it right, and 2.0 - 2.1 when I mess it up. The extra time seems like an eternity on messed up draws and I have this urge to send a "hoper" to meet the good draw time, the mentality from hero/zero classifiers when you have nothing to lose (if you're chasing classification, not for match standing, obviously). Yet, the drill is about forcing the vision to dictate time and not the other way around. 

 

In dry fire, which is what you're looking to do, it's a bit trickier because you would have to be very disciplined to achieve the same effect. However, you say you're an A class, so you should be able to do it. Start with a very hard target, where you cannot just wing it, get a bit tired, shift your body position around to less than ideal, try slightly different draw stroke, mess with your routine, BUT then force a good shot regardless of timer. Force yourself to be at peace to hear the timer and blown par time in exchange for knowing that you fired the clean shot. Force yourself to recognize (as in observe) the difference between timer-driven and vision-driven shooting. You want to be able to tune out the time pressure as a constraint for your shooting. It has to be vision-driven (as others pointed out above). 

 

Then, do what you must do for practicing "changing gears" - set up a mix of easy and hard targets and start shooting them in this mode where you guarantee hits. The overall time doesn't matter (initially), what matters is that you remove the pressure of time and pull the trigger as soon as you see what you need to see (and no sooner). You have to train your brain to use the sight picture to shoot, not the timer, tempo or rhythm. You will speed up automatically not because you think you should go faster on easy targets, but simply because you see them sooner. The feeling should be that you're shooting a bunch of hard targets but on some of them the gun just settles sooner (the easy ones) - in reality, it settles enough to hit them, but the feel should be "oh, I transitioned really well on this target and was able to shoot it sooner," not "I tried to move the gun faster because I was going to an easy target." Speaking of which, gun moves almost the same speed regardless of the target difficulty, much like you draw almost the same speed regardless of how difficult the target is. The reason I say "almost" is that towards the end things change a bit based on how settled the gun must be in its final position, but the core of the movement is the same. 

 

It's something that works for me, so just wanted to share it. It might or might not work for you, obviously. 

Edited by IVC
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On 7/13/2020 at 10:02 AM, Tango said:

I shoot matches (CO) where I am the most accurate in the entire match. I also shoot matches where my time is on par with open GM's, but accuracy suffers (misses, no shoots, steel left standing). In both cases my match performance is about the same (70% to 80% of the winner, typically a PPC or CO GM). 

Did you see the misses? Did you call the shots? 

 

Get away from chasing time and start chasing hits. Not in a way an IDPA guy would understand this, but in a way that a USPSA GM would understand it - get your vision to dictate speed, then increase that speed so you can see sooner and you can call shots off of less. Having almost the same time while hitting 70-80% is your sign. You won't improve your accuracy by more hosing and hoping it lands in the scoring areas. Instead, get to the same 70%-80% performance by matching their points, then work on seeing sooner, not going faster. This will bring you to the level you're looking for where you are fast, not shooting fast. 

 

We all started by chasing time. That's the most visual aspect of the game. It's also the easiest trap to fall into, especially since you have to push the pace and you have to cross the boundary of what you see and can do if you want to get better. However, this is your practice, where you're learning to shoot sooner and where you become better, not your actual level of shooting. A match is your test, where you shoot at your level, whatever it is, then you go home and work on improving that level. 

 

Easier said than done, I know. I'm working on all of that too. I'm almost certain the top guys are working on it as well... 

 

 

On 7/13/2020 at 10:02 AM, Tango said:

I am trying to make gains, which is why I am pushing speed. I want to shoot at my top speed, and still get acceptable hits.

As Rowdy said above, welcome to the club. We have member jackets... 🙂

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I seem to have made some improvement on this by changing my dry fire targets and routine. I used to dry fire to only easy open targets; now I have a mix of open target arrays mixed with small steel or partials, which forces me to go fast, slow, fast again, etc. It really works.

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