Monday, June 17, 2013

USPSA Area 5 Match Review

Just a quick Monday morning match review.  This was only my second major USPSA match, and my first level III match.  Keeping that in mind helps me ratchet down my frustration level.  Yes, I want to do really well at these matches.  But I'm still getting comfortable with how these matches work and what is required of the shooter.

For example, our squad shot on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.  Six of us who drove up to PASA Park from St. Louis arrived about 10:30 Saturday morning to check out the stages we would shoot in the afternoon.  We were able to take our time walking through 7 stages and sketching out stage plans.  That worked pretty well for me.  There was one complicated stage on Saturday that I screwed up, but it wasn't because I didn't have a workable stage plan.

But I didn't take the time Saturday evening after we shot the first half of the match to walk through the second half of the stages.  That was a huge mistake.  I did fairly well on half of the Sunday stages.  The ones I screwed up on were the long field courses.  The five minutes they give you to walk the stage after the stage briefing is not nearly enough time to formulate an efficient workable plan.  On three of these stages I changed my stage plan 3 or 4 times before I came to the line and shot.  On one of them I changed it right before the buzzer went off.  Not good.  Stupid, actually.  If you are not confident about the stage plan, you cannot concentrate on shooting accurately and moving efficiently.  That's a recipe for a meltdown.  Lesson learned: at every major match take the time to walk the stages sometime before the stage briefing.

I did well enough on half of the stages in this match to know that I could have been very competitive had I been consistent.  So I know I can do it.  It's just a matter of will and practice.

The only other thing I'm going say about this match is this: one word—ACCURACY.  I need to work on it big time.

So here are the only two videos of me recorded. The first is Stage #13. I melted down on this one.  This is one of the Sunday afternoon stages that I changed my plan way too many times before I shot.  I had no confidence when I went up to the line and it affected my shooting.  I hate those hearts. And the pink walls. Hate.

The other video is of Stage # 7.  I shot that one pretty well (5th in Production).

Well, I say I shot that one pretty well, but. . .  I was too flat footed, didn't keep my gun up high enough when I was moving, and my reloads were slow as molasses.  I coulda done gooder.

Just for the record here are the results.  And just so I can stay positive about the match here are the stages I did fairly well on:

Stage #2, Stage #4, Stage #5, Stage #7, and Stage #14.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Monday Match Review - IL State IDPA Championship (June 1-2, 2013)

I'm really getting tired of "learning things" at these matches.  Why can't I just shoot well and be done with it?  And the problem is that I "learn things" that I already know.  But more often than not one has to truly learn something the hard way.

Like this: never go to the line to shoot if you have any questions about the stage or the stage props.  Never let anyone rush you into shooting the stage.  I knew that.  But I went to the line as the first shooter on Stage #6 on Saturday assuming things about the stage that turned out to be wrong.  Opening the door at the beginning of the stage activated 3 targets—one swinger on the right, one swinger on the left, and a left-to-right moving target a little further down range.  When the SO demonstrated it all I was not in a position to see the timing of the activated targets.  I should of asked for another demonstration.  I didn't. I went to the line unprepared.  At the start signal I pulled open the door, stepped inside the door frame with my gun drawn and pointed at where the first swinger should appear.  Nothing happened.  I lowered my gun and turned to the SO with the words "prop failure" on the tip of my tongue. Then I heard the swinger activate, almost 5 seconds after I pulled the door open.  I was screwed.

If I would have known that the first swinger was delayed, I could have engaged one or two targets before it even appeared.  As it turned out, I missed both swingers. There was just no time to turn and engage them after I had lowered my pistol.

But I am a lucky man.  That stage was thrown out of the match as an illegal stage for other reasons.  But I have a lesson burned into me now.  I'm not likely to ever make that mistake again.

As for the rest of the match, well, I did okay, but I'm at the place in my shooting where I have a difficult time being happy with just shooting okay.  If I don't excel and burn up a stage, I'm disappointed.  I made at least 3 pretty dumb mistakes in the match that cost me Division Champion.  I was 2nd in SSP Division, 1st in Master Class, and 4th overall (128 shooters).  But I know that I could have done much better, at least 15 points better.

One excuse is the weather and the wait.  I arrived at the range at 7 AM, but we sat around until after 10 AM before we were able to shoot.  It was raining cats and dogs.  By 10 AM I was ready to crawl back in bed after sitting for 3 hours.  I know that had some affect on my shooting.  Even so, we shot the first 3 stages in the rain.  My head wasn't clear.  But that's no excuse. I need to be ready to shoot no matter what the weather or the circumstances.  I can't always have sunny skies and 70 degrees.

No pictures or videos of me this time.  For the records, here is the matchbook with the 12 stages.  The results are here.  And here is Ken's analysis.