Yes it’s that time of the year again, the “off season,” which is reserved for looking back over the previous season to see what worked, what didn’t, what goals I met, what goals I missed and why, reevaluate my equipment selections and my pet loads for each system and whether or not I need to make any changes. It’s also a time of goal setting. Where do I want to be this time next year and how do I get there? I also start getting supplies together for the upcoming season as well as start working to identify what, if any, instruction I want to take and start lining it up now since good coaches/trainers book out very early.
Checking back to my goals set for 2013, let’s see how I did.
- My biggest goal for the year was to make B class in USPSA Production, which I’m super happy to report that I finally made!
- “Pre Ignition” goals – Good stage planning, prep, and visualization. I’d say for the most part I met this goal and discovering this has been one of the biggest breakthroughs as a shooter. I run the stage over and over until there is no conscience thought about the stage while actually shooting the stage. I love the Brian Enos analogy where he says it should be like driving a car. You don’t think about the technical act of driving the car, rather you just react to what your eyes are telling you. Each technical aspect of driving has be rehearsed into unconscious competency. There is no thinking about driving, only driving.
- Dry fire – To reach that unconscious competency that’s needed to be competitive you have had to ingrained each technical aspect of shooting properly into the subconscious. That is only done through repetition; lots of perfect practice. Since my time and financial resources are very limited I had no alternative but to achieve this through dry fire, lots and lots of dry fire. At one point his summer I was expecting to bump up to B class, but I actually went down because I had a good classifier roll off leaving a couple of poor classifiers. In hind sight, that was the impetus for finally getting to B class. I was so angry that I moved backwards that I made the decision to get to B class. That meant trigger time, and to get more trigger time I had to do two things; sacrifice some of my other shooting activities so I could shoot more USPSA, and dry fire regularly. I chose to skip 3 Gun and Practical Rifle for a while so I could shoot more pistol, which did give me more cracks at the classifiers, but the lion’s share of my improvement came via dry fire. I gathered a bunch of dry fire material and started dry firing on a schedule, every night after I put my daughter to bed, for a minimum of an hour. Many nights much longer.
- Dynamic movement while shooting – This one was hard to quantify, but I certainly made this goal. But it will be on my goal list this year, and every year as well since I will always strive to improve this. I made big strides this year, mostly due to dry fire, to getting in and out of position as efficiently as possible and have my gun up and ready to shoot the instant I’m in position. And thanks to Gabe’s class and again, dry fire, my shooting on the move has improved dramatically.
- Shooting each round as best as I can – Vague and an ongoing goal, I did make this one count. I really attempt to call every shot I fire and if I’m doing that, everything else just falls into place. No speed issues, no match pressure, nothing. If I’m calling every shot I’m firing every shot as best I can.
Another thing that really helped me this year was switching from the M&P Pro to the Glock Gen 4 G34. I know that sounds backwards and most people go the other way, but the ergonomics of the Glock were undeniably better for me. All of the leather pads that developed on my hands have pretty much vanished since switching to the Glock, although I do have a wicked case of “Glock knuckle” now. The gun has a very positive feel for me and indexes very well. The Gen 4’s smaller grip and wider magazine release dramatically helps me to index better and to be able to drop a mag without breaking my grip.
Goals for 2014
I’m a little on the fence for what to shoot for this upcoming season. Do I stick with the Glock and shoot Production? Or do I get that STI 2011 that I’ve always coveted shoot Open? Tough call! I really enjoy Production but I’m eager to see how fast I can go with a race gun and a red dot. Since I don’t currently have an Open gun or have the money for one this might become a very easy choice for me.
If I stick with Production I want to make A class this year. Actually, I want to become an A class shooter not merely shoot some good classifiers and get an A card. So I guess I should say that I want an A card and to become very competitive among A class shooters.
I want to learn to train and dry fire better/correctly. I’ve become a huge fan of Steve Anderson’s podcast and want to get a dry fire tune up and perhaps even a class with him this year, preferably this winter or early spring.
Also in the class realm, I want to get more training. This goal I should be able to tick off fairly easily even if the Steve Anderson stuff doesn’t materialize since I have a class with Ben Stoeger scheduled for May. I’m really looking forward to that class!
I want to shoot an Area match. I did shoot a major match last year but nothing but club matches this year. And never have I shot an Area match. I want to go and see what it’s like.
Shoot more accurately. Looking at the top shooters, they’re not only shooting fast, but they shoot well. I want to know I can get an upper A zone hit at speed from 25+ yards. Tighter groups at distance and 1 for 1 on steel.
I want to shoot an IDPA classifier and make expert. Still not the biggest fan of IDPA, but it would be great to learn the skills to make expert in IDPA.
Shooting Stats From 2013
So looking back over my shot logs from 2013 I’ve put together the following statistics from the year. Interesting to look at when aggregated like this. Funny that I seem to shoot less rounds each year. That’s probably a function of limited time rather than limited ammo. Looking forward to starting off 2014!