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Matches vs Practice


Stafford
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Just saw a clip with Ben Stoeger on low round count live fire practice. He suggested 200 rounds of focused live fire per week with drills along with focused dry fire and maybe 1 match per month. In my area, I can easily find 4-6 matches per month and usually shoot 3 per month. 

 

Perhaps fewer matches and more live fire practice and drills would be a better use of time and resources??? And spend more time in dry fire. Anyone use this approach either on purpose, or because you have limited numbers of matches in your area? 

 

 

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Probably depends on what you need to work on. If you're always nervous and forgetting stage plans, going to matches to get accustomed to stress would be helpful.
 

If it's a specific element you're trying to isolate, like position exits, then yeah doing focused training without all the distractions of a match would be better 

Edited by lroy
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I believe it's true that if you really know how to do quality dry fire practice along with effective live fire practice that you could make more improvement then mostly shooting matches. Also you need to have a range available. But unless you really have the discipline and make it a priority most people don't end up doing it. I should do much more of it but I pretty much like shooting the matches. Typical B shooter that I am.

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I have a lot of matches around, but only shoot 1-3 a month (except for the runup to Classic Nationals this year), in favor of live/dry practice. Unequipped with a counterfactual as I am, I can't say if a match-heavy schedule works to get good fast, but I can say that a training-heavy schedule did, in my case.

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Not being a wise ass but I'm confused. If not shooting matches what's the point of practice,dry fire,all the equipment,this forem?? If saving money is the goal this is the wrong hobby. I would rather shoot all the matches I can afford and practice when I can but the winning big matches ship sailed for me years ago.

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Jay, keep up the videos. Work progresses on #00195. ON the other hand?.. What if you could shoot a match every day/night of the week?... Is too much shooting possible?.... (IT can be done indoors or outdoors in the Phoenix,AZ. area). Primers would soon become the issue. 

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15 hours ago, Stafford said:

Just saw a clip with Ben Stoeger on low round count live fire practice. He suggested 200 rounds of focused live fire per week with drills along with focused dry fire and maybe 1 match per month. In my area, I can easily find 4-6 matches per month and usually shoot 3 per month. 

 

Perhaps fewer matches and more live fire practice and drills would be a better use of time and resources??? And spend more time in dry fire. Anyone use this approach either on purpose, or because you have limited numbers of matches in your area? 

 

 

 

Everything depends.

 

I have a buddy that doesn't live fire or dry fire practice and only shoots matches. He shoots probably 6-10 matches in a month some times. He's pretty good.

 

I've never been able to do that. I can dryfire everyday and I can get to the range once a week and shoot a few hundred rounds plus get in a match or maybe two a month. It's worked pretty well for me. Currently I'm not really practicing at all and maybe shoot a match a month. I can still manage to finish near the top, probably due to years of putting in the work. 

 

Now this does make classification a challenge. I've shot 3 classifiers so far in 2022. 4 if you count Area 6 as a classifier. At this rate it would take me a couple years to move up. But, I don't really care to move up anyway. 

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6 hours ago, barry said:

Not being a wise ass but I'm confused. If not shooting matches what's the point of practice,dry fire,all the equipment,this forem?? If saving money is the goal this is the wrong hobby. I would rather shoot all the matches I can afford and practice when I can but the winning big matches ship sailed for me years ago.

 

For some people the enjoyment comes from getting better and doing well. Not practicing you wont really get better.

 

I don't know that saying you want to save money means you're in the wrong hobby either. Someone could spend more than you and still be trying to save money. Maybe they want to use their money wisely and not just piss it away. Different strokes. 

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You can use a local match as a quasi-practice. 
as a means to have fun with your friends and still work on skills. 
focus on one aspect of your game. 
saturday for me is explosive movement in/out of position and hard transitions. 
nit as good as practice but I feel like I’m getting something out of it. 
but it’s only really reaffirming what I practice. Sooo I guess I really can’t call it practice/match. 
just more of a focus of single skills. 

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19 minutes ago, Racinready300ex said:

 

For some people the enjoyment comes from getting better and doing well. Not practicing you wont really get better.

 

I don't know that saying you want to save money means you're in the wrong hobby either. Someone could spend more than you and still be trying to save money. Maybe they want to use their money wisely and not just piss it away. Different strokes. 

True but by not shooting matches how do you know your getting better ? I'm not ridiculing any one . I took the question as if you should just dry fire and do limited live fire  and not shoot matches or shoot matches and not practice. One without the other seems pointless. As you sat diff strokes.

 

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11 minutes ago, barry said:

True but by not shooting matches how do you know your getting better ? I'm not ridiculing any one . I took the question as if you should just dry fire and do limited live fire  and not shoot matches or shoot matches and not practice. One without the other seems pointless. As you sat diff strokes.

 

 

It's not that hard to tell, especially with the information out there today. In dry fire use par times to tell if you're getting faster. Use known standards. We have a whole database of classifiers you can set up in practice and compare to how others have done and track your practice. You can watch video of shooters better than you and compare it to video of yourself and what you're doing. These days there are a lot of books and online recourses that make it much easier than it used to be.

 

Look at Stoeger, I believe he made GM at his first match. Not because he was just a natural. But he researched what it would take to be good then worked on that stuff over the winter and when the weather broke and matches started up in his area he instantly made Master in IDPA followed by GM in USPSA. So, you don't really need to shoot matches to tell if you're getting better or not. 

 

I think the best move for most is lots of training with limited matches. 1 a month is a good number, it gives you 4 weeks to work on things then put them to the test. More isn't really bad, unless you start slacking on the training to do matches. And once you have the raw skills, but maybe are lacking the mental game more matches will probably be beneficial. 

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Stoeger is just about the most extreme example of someone who decided he wanted to get as good as he could. He studied what it would take. Put together a plan, found out what works and what doesn't then diligently worked that plan until he achieved his goal. There's a few others like him and still others who have put in a lot of work but still not at the level that  Stoeger did. 

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23 minutes ago, MHicks said:

Stoeger is just about the most extreme example of someone who decided he wanted to get as good as he could. He studied what it would take. Put together a plan, found out what works and what doesn't then diligently worked that plan until he achieved his goal. There's a few others like him and still others who have put in a lot of work but still not at the level that  Stoeger did. 

 

Certainly he's a extreme, especially considering the short amount of time he did it in. Although what he did would be much easier now with the information we have today. You could just buy his book, and if you worked until you could hit the goal times at the highest level you'd be better than most USPSA shooters even if you've never shot a match. 

 

But my point in mentioning him is you 100% can improve and tell if you're improving with out going to a match. All a match really does is tell you how you stacked up against others that day. 

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Matches don't really tell you if you're improving anyway.

 

If you shoot a match and finish 75% of the winner. Then you come back 6 months later and shoot again and finish 75% of the same guy did you improve? Well, first we'd need to know did he improve too? Did he have a off day last time? What if your draws and reloads are faster, overall you HF was better you made less mistakes etc. But you still only manage 70% this time. Did you get worse? 

 

Ultimately, matches or just practicing you need to be really engaged in what you're doing to know if you're improving or not. 

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3 minutes ago, Racinready300ex said:

Matches don't really tell you if you're improving anyway.

 

If you have consistent GMs in your area you can see trends in your overall ability.  If you do not have that sort of GM in your area it would be hard to discern trends one way or the other.  I see this with out local Limited GM who is super consistent.  I see trends at various points in the season, and my percentage versus the GM is a pretty accurate assessment of my current abilities.  It is a pretty practical measuring stick.  This however would not break down what specific areas you need to work on.   

 

You can also treat locals as practice by going faster than your abilities allow like @CClassForLifedoes or at least use to.  You do have to have the ability to analyze in real time where you are messing up, or be able to have the ability to review video to analyze what you need to work on.  It took me about a year and half to obtain this skill set though.  I am sure that varies from person to person.  

 

11 minutes ago, Racinready300ex said:

Ultimately, matches or just practicing you need to be really engaged in what you're doing to know if you're improving or not.

 

I could not agree more.  I see by percentage drop drastically when life and/or laziness gets in the way of training and/or attending matches.   You will always get out what you put in.  

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Pick the path that allows you to maximize a focused effort to improve. You'll know if you're in a state of maintenance or a state of improvement if you can answer the question of "what exactly am I working on?"

 

Generally, the more precise the answer, the more effective the effort.

 

On a side note, plateaus are when you keep having the same answer to the same question.

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Practice, just what am I capable of?

Matches, was I  the best version of myself?

 

Practice is future tense, matches in a way are past tense. Or homework versus a test.

 

So much of our training or work at improving is done without a professional helping us. Middle school JV sports have more reliable, day to day coaching that shooting does. At a point you have to do it yourself. Can you?

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