Taking IDPA SO class tomorrow... anything I should know?


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ny32182
July 30, 2010, 09:37 AM
Title says it all. I think it will make me a better scorer when shooting if I have as complete an understanding of the rules as possible, plus it will let me give something back to the local clubs from time to time. Anything I should look out for before the class?

The gear list just says bring everything you would bring to a club match, plus a notebook and enough food/drink to last 8 hours.

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jmorris
July 30, 2010, 10:28 AM
Ask questions if you are not 100% clear, someone else has the same one but won't ask themselves.

Sam1911
July 30, 2010, 11:44 AM
All I'd do is try to read the rule book two or three times through before hand. It helps to have heard some of the more esoteric rules before.

Hk Dan
July 30, 2010, 01:03 PM
You're going to learn a lot. I've taken it twice (One to get certified and one that I hosted for our club). You'll learn a lot--Sam's advice was great--read the rules and write down your questions. Focus on penalties, as that's where most SOs lose their mind and become range Nazis.

Day 2, you'll shoot a simple stage. Keep the range commands in mind and repeat them exactly as you're taught to. Remember that the students will learn more from screw ups at this point, and nobody cares how you shoot. In fact if you shotgun the target it will help them learn scoring. If there is a non-threat, plug it. If you can hit the non-scoring border, hit it. If you can hit the score zone lines, hit 'em. I called it "Celebrating scoring diversity", getting a big belly laugh out of our second instructor, Dr. Jim Williams.

Go in positive, ask a lot of good questions, write down the answers, and do well on the test. Thanks for doing it, we need more certified SOs in the sport. Hope to see ya at a major match soon!

dAN

ny32182
July 30, 2010, 03:15 PM
Thanks all, I will give the rule book a read-through tonight. Even after 5 years of casual shooting I believe there are plenty of rule nuances I am probably not familiar with.

I am still in the process of transitioning from casual to competetive; about halfway there. I see the SO class as an element of that, and actually might have a chance to take it for a second time before long as well.

I considered going to the East Coast match next week, but don't think I'm quite ready yet; I need some more time with my new gear. Next major match I have on the schedule is the "Patriot Cup" in Greenville, SC in Sept. I plan to pick up a heavier match schedule starting next year.

ny32182
August 2, 2010, 10:17 AM
I think it was a good experience; I learned a few things I didn't know. Eight hours isn't nearly enough to cover every possible situation though. I think only experience will do that. I'm signed up to SO at a club match on Saturday.

To anyone considering doing it, I would recommend knowing the rules pretty well going in and generally not being an IDPA newbie beforehand.

Also I can tell already that trying to SO and shoot a match at the same time will definitely change my mental approach and will probably be harder... that is fine for one club match a month though.

One interesting question that was brought up, for which no one knew the answer: do SO's potentially bear any legal liability? If Joe Blow walks up to the line and shoots himself in the calf while holstering, who gets sued? The club, obviously (they have waivers, but who knows how well this would hold up in court)... but does the SO bear any potential responsibility? They are acting on behalf of the club, but on a volunteer basis with no official/legal capacity as far as I know. Interesting question.

Sam1911
August 2, 2010, 11:23 AM
Also I can tell already that trying to SO and shoot a match at the same time will definitely change my mental approach and will probably be harder... that is fine for one club match a month though.You should try being a Match Director -- and showing up at 6:30 am for a match that starts at 10:00. Sweating to set up stages and get your movers all behaving right, organizing and directing your helpers as they start to roll in around 8:30-9:00, and still starting 20 minutes late. By the time you fire the first shot, you're usually ready for 8 hours of sleep! :D

I highly recommend working multi-day Sanctioned matches (or Nationals) sometimes. Those are a lot of fun, and you get to see some of the best folks around really work a stage. You can learn an awful lot from watching the different ways people have to solve the problems. Usually, you get to shoot before everyone else, so you aren't completely fried...but you will be by the time the awards have been given out.

One interesting question that was brought up, for which no one knew the answer: do SO's potentially bear any legal liability? If Joe Blow walks up to the line and shoots himself in the calf while holstering, who gets sued? The club, obviously (they have waivers, but who knows how well this would hold up in court)... but does the SO bear any potential responsibility? They are acting on behalf of the club, but on a volunteer basis with no official/legal capacity as far as I know. Interesting question. Someone can ALWAYS try to sue you. But lawsuits are generally about money. Are they more likely to receive recompence from the club (or the club's insurance carrier) or from you? Now, some clubs do carry insurance on their Officers/BOD to insulate them from personal liability for club functions. I've never heard of anyone doing that for SOs.

Something to consider, though: Your words as the present authority do carry some weight. If you have someone show clear ... and it really isn't, and you have them drop the hammer ... and you didn't make sure they were pointing in a safe direction, you bear MOST (IMHO) of the fault. You must be as careful as humanly possible at all times.

This isn't tiddly-winks. You could put more than your eye out! ;)

ny32182
August 2, 2010, 01:12 PM
Hey Sam,
I don't doubt any of that! I can see that SOing is going to be more mentally taxing than it looks when you are a shooter. Our clubs go through MD's too, and I'm sure there is a good reason for that. They do the setup a day or two before the match though. Due to the schedule and locations I can never help with that, which is part of the reason I'm willing to SO; it will let me do something useful on the day of the match.

I think I'd want to do a good bit of time at the club level before trying to work at a sanctioned match. In my opinion (and how I've seen it run in my limited sanctioned shooting experience) the SOs at a sanctioned match shouldn't be distracted by trying to shoot at the same time. There should be two, experienced and dedicated-only-to-the-SO-job, assigned to each stage. I think shooting beforehand is definitely the best idea in that case.

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