IDPA Slump: Now What?


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The Rabbi
May 23, 2004, 11:15 AM
Not that I was ever setting stages on fire during matches but my performance recently has just reached a plateau. It is discouraging. My times have been good, among the best as a matter of fact, but my points down have also been among the highest. I know the usual response is "slow down and be more accurate" but that hasnt worked well. What can I do to see some improvement? I am shooting SSR btw and being consistant at least in shooting only N-frames.

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eerw
May 23, 2004, 12:24 PM
For me when I find myself at a plateau competively..I head back to work on basic drills when I practice...

I find the problem always is I am breaking the shot before the sights are there..

So in my practice I work to see the sights exactly where they need to be on the target before a shot breaks...I work with a timer and ususally set it with a par time.

I usually find after a little time..my eyes and mind work so that the shot only breaks when it is in the "0" or "A" zone..and my time does not slow down..

It usually hurts more to tell myself to slow down..as that does not take care of the problem...the issue is seeing what needs to be seen before pressing the trigger..

I hope that makes sense..

ChristopherG
May 23, 2004, 02:05 PM
I assume you've read Brian Enos' 'Practical Shooting'? If not, it will provide lots to think about and some practice ideas designed for a shooter trying to 'break through.' Gotta, gotta learn to call shots. Just gotta.

scott45b
May 27, 2004, 06:37 PM
Rabbi:

What is your classification in the IDPA SSR division? My competition team consists of one SSR expert, two sharpshooters and one marksman shooters. I'll be glad to have one of them provide some feedback regarding the areas 1. draw; 2. target aquisition; 3. reloading; 4. front sight; 5. follow up.

Scott Beckham

The Rabbi
May 27, 2004, 10:34 PM
I'm classed as a marksman. My areas of difficulty seem to be acquisition and follow up, as evidenced by my good times but high points down. Thanks.

Joe D
May 28, 2004, 04:12 PM
Rabbi, this may sound a little strange but try looking at what you are doing when you are not pulling the trigger. The actual shooting time portion of most stages is a very small percentage of the total time. Concentrate on fast movement, quick reloads and transition time from target to target.
You should be getting your first shot off in less than 1.50 seconds. Attack each stage.

dukeofurl
May 29, 2004, 06:07 PM
Rabbi, you have to ask yourself a few questions.

Are you practicing what you carry or are you competing for the sake of competing?

SSR is second only to CDP when it comes to handicapping your ability while playing the game. The only difference is that CDP has a chance of being the overall best score.

Theres a few ways that you can increase score without firing more shots.

Shooting a popper that actuates a mover FIRST, taking out all the remaing paper and steel and going back to the mover is one way of doing things that I've tried. It hasnt worked well sometimes, but when it does its great. Depending on number of targets, that may or may not work well using your N frame.

Shooting on the move proved more difficult with a revolver when I tried it. Thats something to consider as well on stages that give you an option.

Knowing when to go back to make up an extra point is good. So is knowing when to take that extra shot (53 foot el presidente anyone?)

I really hate to say it, but short of Jerry Miculek not many people are going to win with a wheelgun. Unless your match turns out to be one where all the courses of fire are wheelgun friendly - 3 or 6 targets, mandatory reloads after X amount of targets, LV drills, you are going to reah a certain level of score and plateau there.

The Rabbi
May 29, 2004, 10:17 PM
Duke,
I am having trouble understanding your post.

First, I carry the 329 Smith and sometimes shoot with it. Otherwise I shoot with a Smith 25-2 in .45lc. Big weight difference obviously and the sights are significantly different.

But I am not interested in competing against SSP shooters with my wheelie. It isnt possible under IDPA rules anyway. If the course is not revolver friendly it is not revolver friendly to everyone shooting a revolver, not just me. Fortunately at our club some of the best shooters are revolver shooters so the stages tend to be revolver friendly. I might add that draw, fire 2 to body 1 to head on two targets is probably about as life like as you're going to get. Thats the reason I carry a revolver in the first place.
I never thought of shooting the steel to activate the mover and then shooting the mover last. Sometimes that isnt possible but I will have to keep that in mind for when it might work.

dukeofurl
May 29, 2004, 11:48 PM
What I'm trying to say is - are you playing for the sake of playing or are you playing and trying to win?

Based on your response, I think you're shooting IDPA for the sake of shooting. I'll admit that this is a game, and when I play - I play to win. I choose the equipment that allows me to play the game best and that I am the most comfortable with. Perhaps you will get a better score going to some different equipment is what I'm suggesting, since your initial post adresses a concern about a performance peak.

Does your club publish a list of overall scores? Every club match I've attended does. It gives a stage by stage comparison of everybody against everybody. When trophy time comes, you wont be competing against SSP shooters but I think that once you start keeping score you're competing against everyone.

A failure drill is life-like, but IDPA is a game. As I said before, you have to ask yourself if you want to play the game just for trigger time, one example is failure drilling everything going slow - or to see how well you can do against others.

When you shoot IDPA, you are not just testing shooting ability. I believe you are testing the ability to play a game based on a fixed set of rules. Getting movers started is one thing that can better your score with practice. Generally speaking, there are many ways that someone can shoot a COF better than the way most shooters do it.

I believe that several things to improve your IDPA score is knowing how to reload and where (revolver reloads can be extremely slow when not using moon clips, even slower if its a reload with retention), what target to shoot first (when allowed), when to take extra shots are warranted, and how to read how a course plays out for other shooters so you can capitalize on where they encountered difficulty.

Correia
May 30, 2004, 08:47 PM
Rabbi,

Wish I could help. However we share a similar weakness, speed over accuracy. I usually do pretty good in local matches, with pretty decent finishes. However when you look at all of the best shooters in our local club at any given match, I will be the one with by far the most points down. Sometimes there is a huge difference between me and the people right before and after me. Usually I have to go down another seven or eight overall places to find the next person who drops more points. :)

Just remember that shooting is a mental game. Relax and have fun. If you are too stressed out about your shooting it will cease to be fun. When it ceases to be fun it turns into a chore, and then you don't shoot as well.

I blew a match a week ago because I just couldn't slow down on steel plates, shots that would have been -1 on paper turned into misses on steel. The week before I was relaxed, having fun, and I owned the steel targets.

When I find that I'm having a real problem with accuracy, I like to just slow down and do a bunch of slow fire bullseye practice. That and a bunch of very basic dry firing sometimes helps me get my accuracy back and quit hosing stuff. :)

Navy joe
May 30, 2004, 10:57 PM
Shoot another gun for awhile? It gives you a mental break and maybe you learn something. I've been shooting Glocks only in competition for over a year. They made me a better 1911 shooter because I learned more trigger focus. Then I got a 625 for gun games and it improved my glock shooting by learning how to smoothly stroke that long double action, which I thought was heavy until I took about a month's worth of dryfire and range time with a Beretta 92. That thing redefined what I thought of DA pull weights, and the first time I picked up a 625 after it I missed paper at 7yds because the gun went off too soon! I can absolutely smoke the 625 trigger now, thanks to all the DA work with the Beretta.
Or, play a different game with the same gun. I got bored with USPSA production, so I shot limited for a few months with a Glock 17. With 20+rd mags it felt like a different game and i came back to production refreshed and a lot better, mainly because playing minor Pf against the big boys makes you want your hits!

So go shoot some IPSC with that 329, who says it can't be done? :D Go shoot some pins, borrow a plastic pistol and shoot IDPA for a little while to see how the other half lives. Have fun.

In practice, buy a timer. Reload a lot with the timer.

Round Gun Shooter
May 31, 2004, 06:11 PM
Two things that I work on constantly are reloads and dry fire to build my trigger speed.

I have my reloads down to where many SSP Sharpshooters reload but I want faster. I will never get to where Miculek is but I can try.

As far as the dry firing, I dry fire for sight aquisition and for tendon strength. For Sight aquisition, I do it with a target. I draw with eyes closed and then see how close I am to the point I need to aim. It is betting better.

For tendon strength, I dry fire sixty strokes as fast as I can, strong hand then weak hand. Then strong hand supported. Every day it gets a littlefaster and the fatigue sets in a little later. With this I do reverse grip excercises to make sure my tendonitis doesn't flare up.

All in all it is a lot of work. My legs do not carry me fast enough to be real competitive so I need to have trigger speed and accuracy.

Good luck,

ChristopherG
May 31, 2004, 07:53 PM
For tendon strength, I dry fire sixty strokes as fast as I can, strong hand then weak hand. Then strong hand supported. Every day it gets a littlefaster and the fatigue sets in a little later. With this I do reverse grip excercises to make sure my tendonitis doesn't flare up.

My dry-firing practice seems to be developing some kind of tenderness in my forearm/wrist; can you elaborate a little further on what you do and how it works?

Round Gun Shooter
June 1, 2004, 05:42 AM
My dry-firing practice seems to be developing some kind of tenderness in my forearm/wrist; can you elaborate a little further on what you do and how it works?

Put your hand in the shape of a Duck's bill, put a rubber band around the fingers and excercise buy opening the duck's bill against the tension of the band.

My son just showed me a device in a guitar catalog that does the same thing.

This excercise came from a Chiropractor/shooter to me through a mailing list several years ago and has helped a great deal with the problems in my elbows.

There are other Chiropratcic things that can be done and I have a copy of the article if you e mail me direct. Round_Gun_Shooter@comcast.net

Regards,

ChristopherG
June 1, 2004, 07:14 AM
Thanks, RGS--email sent.

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