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Old February 4, 2012, 02:26 PM   #1
MrGreen
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Confidence Shaken

I got smoked in a IDPA competition (practice) drill this week by several far more experienced shooters. It was not the losing though that was the problem as much as my shooting was sub-par, even for myself! It seemed like after struggling in the first round I lost a lot of shooting confidence and the performance got into my head. Any advice on how to refocus after a bad run and put it behind you?
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Old February 4, 2012, 03:20 PM   #2
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That happened to me the first time I shot an IDPA qualifier - I was so off put by my own bad shooting by the end that it was pathetic. Best is just jump back on the horse and try again.
I wish we had matches I could go to around here, either nobody is having them in CG or I am just plain not invited.
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Old February 4, 2012, 03:32 PM   #3
MrBorland
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Are you new to IDPA? Getting smoked is somewhat normal, as is not running the course as well as we think we could.

Regardless, remind yourself the initial mistake is rarely enough to be all that costly. The mental luggage carried to other stages can be, though, as it causes additional unnecessary mistakes. The sum total of these mistakes are what's costly.

A mental trick I used after a disastrous stage in a big match was to say to myself "how cool is it gonna be when I still win the match, despite tanking a stage". It kept me focused on shooting the rest of the match well, and it worked. So, imagine others saying: "wow, he had that bad stage, but kept his head and still pulled off a good match. Very impressive."

Finally, remember that the only stage in the entire match is the one you're about to shoot.


BTW, here are some additional tips from another forum:
http://www.brianenos.com/forums/inde...owtopic=139877
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Old February 4, 2012, 04:31 PM   #4
MrGreen
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I only started shooting a year ago (and did no shooting this summer) and for IDPA I have probably done drills about 10-12 times. No actual tournament or anything just drills we do in the gun club.
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Old February 4, 2012, 05:01 PM   #5
230therapy
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The only thing I can relate do you is the old competition trick of forgetting the last shot.

I see many people get flustered on a shot and their feelings cross over into the next shot. The next failure creates a downward spiral of negative feelings that reduce performance. You must learn to think of only what you're doing now and forget both the future and past.

I'm sure there's a Zen saying in there somewhere.
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Old February 5, 2012, 12:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
It seemed like after struggling in the first round I lost a lot of shooting confidence and the performance got into my head. Any advice on how to refocus after a bad run and put it behind you?
I had a similar experience. I had a miss early in a match and it put me into the mindset of "just get through the match, you've blown your chance to put up a good score".

The score was, predictably, quite poor, but after analyzing it, I realized that it wasn't the miss that had blown my chances for posting a decent score, it was my attitude for the rest of the match.

The lesson is you can shoot a match or you can try to keep score during a match, but you can't do both. Concentrate on your shooting and let the scorekeepers do their work without your help.
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Old February 5, 2012, 09:53 AM   #7
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I've been shooting competition a long time, officially since 1977.

You have bad days just like any other sport. Kind of like football "ANY GIVEN SUNDAY"

Best way to get through it is keep shooting. Practice helps but the best thing is to get back to another match just as fast as you can.

DON'T QUIT, NEVER EVER QUIT.

Quiting is for.....................well quiters.
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Old February 5, 2012, 10:03 AM   #8
Marty Hayes
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Analyze why your performance was sub standard, and correct the problems. If you cannot correct it on your own, then seek out a qualified trainer/coach to assist you in correcting your deficiency. People think they can excell at this sport by practicing on their own. But, what they end up doing, for most part, is ingraining bad habits. Even the top athletes in their given sports have coaches.
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Old February 5, 2012, 01:47 PM   #9
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The mental part of the game is one of the most important parts to master. As has been said, you have to learn to focus on what your doing right now. Its sometimes called "shooting in the moment". During a stage it means the last shot is gone and the next one isn't here yet, so this shot is the most important. The same thing can apply to this stage or this match. Mentally, what happened last time is irrelevant. Another thing I often see when people tank a stage is they try to make up for it. This causes them to hurry and they usually make more mistakes. When it happens (and it does to everyone), don't talk about it, don't think about it, just go back to shooting. Later on you can evaluate what happened. On a larger note, always try to take something positive away from the experience. Find something you did well at that match and make that your focus.
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Old February 5, 2012, 02:25 PM   #10
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Screwing up a stage is sometimes beneficial in strange ways. I totally missed an armed BG target in a low light stage because the slow deterioriation of my vision with my cataracts had sneaked up on me. I didn't use my flashlight as I thought I could see well enough. But the BG target had a black gun against a black shirt. So I'm dead and feeling like a complete idiot.

So, I had surgery in a reasonably quick time. But I dwelled on the failure for a bit - until I realized that it was a good thing.

Got killed again a couple of weeks ago when I knew better and saw it coming. Some social pressure led me into a trap - dumb. Dumb!

Learning. At the NTI, one lesson was don't whine. If you screw up learn. I like my IDPA group as we are very supportive of idiocy (assuming it isn't dangerous, of course). Load an empty mag, shoot out of order, etc.
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Old February 6, 2012, 12:27 AM   #11
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All eyes were on you. All those eyes were noobs once too, so they understand. New and intermediate shooters judge themselves by others, big mistake. Watch the world class guys so you understand what is possible, but judge you by you. Each shot is a match in itself. You can't change the bullets that are already in the berm. Slow down, watch the front sight, shoot your match.
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Old February 6, 2012, 03:55 AM   #12
Jesse Tischauser
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I give myself about 5 minutes of whining to my squad mates and going through shoulda woulda coulda's then I go tape reset and get ready for the next one. Try to remember everybody has what they consider a bad stage or two at every match.
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Old February 6, 2012, 08:43 AM   #13
Don P
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Score is the last thing I'm concerned about. My main objective is to complete the match and NOT BEING DQ'ed. All else is immaterial if you don't finish the match. Mental errors are part of the game as is poor shooting from time to time. For me personally as I stated, no DQ its a good day and a good match regardless of score.
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Old February 6, 2012, 06:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
I only started shooting a year ago (and did no shooting this summer) and for IDPA I have probably done drills about 10-12 times. No actual tournament or anything just drills we do in the gun club.
I think I've this str8. Your fairly new to IDPA, you didn't shoot all summer, and your upset at your performance?
Being a little hard on yourself, aren't you? I hope at least you had fun!
I shot a match yesterday. {my second IDPA} I had no illusions of winning anything. I did my best on that day. I had fun! I'll be better next time.
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Old February 8, 2012, 06:16 AM   #15
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Green, I don't shoot your game but I will say this. The only difference between you and the guys who outshot you is trigger time. Trigger time could include matches, practice and dry fire drills. I've found beginners sometimes feel like they should be shooting like the old hands because often times the old hands make it look pretty easy.

Like Kraigwy said some times we have off days which I hate. The other thing is getting through a match with no mistakes along the way normally means a better score.

I know this won’t fit your case, but one time I saw a match bulletin for a range I had never been to and was withdrawing from no shooting. So I set out on a 4 hour drive, managed to get lost and I arrived at the range late by about ten minutes…my bad. The R/O had no mercy on me and even though there was target open on the next relay he would not let me shoot.

I drove home with my ears laid back and a resolve I was going to take some of their money. The next match they had I arrived on time and shot my 308 M-1 at their 100 yard reduced targets. I did take their money. I took their money a couple more times before I found some matches closer to home. I should take my worn out AR out, grab a buddy so we can both take some of their money. Never give up. Take some of their money.
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Old February 8, 2012, 08:48 AM   #16
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My first year and a half when I wasn't shooting as good as I thought I should I got down on myself and tried to hard. finally got disgusted and quit for 6 months because it wasn't fun and winning had taken precedence over fun. In short I became a horses patootie.

I changed to chasing jack rabbits and sparrows and pigeons. I still shot but now I shot by myself with a 22 revolver that was so far off that at 25 yards I had to aim 10 low and 12 left to hit the rabbit. I was having a blast and shooting up to 6 to 12 rabbits every time I went out. Usually a Friday or Saturday.

When I got drafted back into the game of competition I knew I wasn't going to win so I stayed loose, joked, sang, had a good time and to my surprise I did really well. The secret was not caring what anybody else shot and not looking at the scoreboard till after everything was put away. I was lighting up my cigar and sipping on an adult beverage when I discovered I had won my class and moved up a class. It wasn't that I had learned to shoot but I let my brain do the shooting and my heart just enjoyed the experience. It's all a mind game. Relax and like others said, forget the last shot, don't worry about the next shot, just do your fundamentals and let it happen.
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Old February 8, 2012, 09:17 AM   #17
Don P
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I concur with Old Grumps and others as to having a bad day. All I'll add is shoot to the best of your abilities, good or bad. Many a match is done and I know I am capable of shooting better than the scores show. No big deal on my part. I have a great time at the matches, enjoy shooting, camaraderie, and seeing familiar faces. I'll ask this, with ALL things considered is the score THAT important that we should get bummed out after having a bad match??? If you can't get fulfillment and enjoyment from a bad match why bother. Like the movie stated and is true in all we do, on any given Sunday as the saying goes. We can't be number 1 all the time and perfect.
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Old February 9, 2012, 02:21 AM   #18
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The timer adds more stress than you think it would. The cure for next time is to practice manipulating your weapon as much as possible (drawing, sight acquisition, target transition, reloads). All of that can be done in your own home with dry-fire practice. Everyone thinks you need recoil to get real practice, but recoil management is only one of many technical skills that you need to do well in competition (winning isn't just about shooting fast and accurately...it is just as much about stripping away all of your inefficiencies in movement and gun handling).

As for recovering from a tanked stage during the match, I find that a combination of two things works for me:
- Stop thinking about what you just did wrong
- (More importantly to me) Use visualization on the next/remaining stages (imagine how you want to shoot the stage, and see yourself shoot it perfectly)
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Old February 11, 2012, 05:21 PM   #19
MrGreen
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I appreciate all the support and ideas. Grapes, I do tend to be hard on myself. Not in shooting usually but overall in life. I don't plan to stop shooting anytime soon, it has been a great hobby for me so far. I just need to remember to have fun and work on self improvement instead of focus on where I am compared to other shooters. Next weekend I plan to go out shooting again so I will focus more on those things.
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Old February 11, 2012, 07:49 PM   #20
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Hey man, I understand what your saying. Nobody is harder on me, than me. Now that I'm older, I've eased up and try to enjoy myself, but still want to be "somewhat" competitive. I can't keep up with the young guns anymore, but I always strive to do my best.

BTW, I never once thought you would give up or quit. Just make sure you have some fun.
good luck, Chet
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Old February 12, 2012, 12:56 PM   #21
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One of the most important things to remember is to stay focused on the process and not the outcome. All you can control is your shooting. For me, if I shoot well with smooth quick actions, good trigger control, visual patience and I work my plan, then I am happy. If I do all that it doesn't matter where I place because I can't control who will be at the match or how they will shoot. On the other side, I have won matches where I wasn't happy because I didn't shoot well. If you stay focused on the process long enough, stuff like competing well and winning start to take care of themselves.
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:51 PM   #22
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Never get yourself down due to poor performance in competition. Competition give you a lot of range time at varied targets and is a great humbler. Learn from it, don't be discouraged.

As a personal example - I've personally been shooting in general for over 20 years. I've been shooting handguns for about 10 years. I've been shooting competition (3 matches per month) for about 8 months. My handgun shooting has improved more in those 8 months than it did in the other 10 years.
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Old February 13, 2012, 12:27 PM   #23
Don P
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Quote:
I appreciate all the support and ideas. Grapes, I do tend to be hard on myself. Not in shooting usually but overall in life. I don't plan to stop shooting anytime soon, it has been a great hobby for me so far. I just need to remember to have fun and work on self improvement instead of focus on where I am compared to other shooters. Next weekend I plan to go out shooting again so I will focus more on those things.
You hit it in a nut shell. Every match you shoot all you do is try to better your results from the previous match whether it be points down, faster shooting time, penalties. At a point it WILL ALL come together. Just shoot to beat yourself.
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Old February 18, 2012, 09:50 AM   #24
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First year also

Last summer was my first year in competative shooting also. I had no idea what I was doing, and felt completely out of my league, which I was.

I think the key is you have to be able to laugh at yourself. I had one match where it all went wrong. It began with the .45 jamming on about every third round, and from there it went downhill. My temper was on high, I was embarrassed beyond belief.

Then the RO said to me to just let it go, I was not the first to have it happen, and just take the day to learn how to prepare, and laugh it off. When you figure out the only one who cares is you, the day goes well. I just started laughing at the errors and misses, and even those with me did nothing short of give me support and tips, they had all walked down the same road as I was on.

I certainly learned not only to check the function of each round I was taking, but to ensure they WORK by practicing each batch of reloads. Make sure you remember to CRIMP the little demons, remember to count your shots, and on the list goes.

You won't be the first to mess up, and not the last. I watched one match where one of the best gunners turned around to shoot a steel right after the rules were gone over twice that if you pass the plate, you missed it, don't turn around and fire.

Enjoy it, you will only get better.
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Old February 18, 2012, 12:26 PM   #25
m.p.driver
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Started shooting Hi-Power rifle way back when with a stock 1903 Springfield.Was rushing it through the rapid fire and throwing a few rounds out of the black.Old guy next to me told me to slow down,take my time,get it on paper,and that i was out there to have fun to better my self,not beat all the others on the line.
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