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What’s The Deal With Match Burnout?

Welcome back to episode 63 of the Triangle Tactical Q&A Show! Today’s voicemail comes in from Mike in NC. If you’d like to send us a voicemail, go to triangletactical.net/voicemail to find out how.

Mike asks about match burnout, and if we’ve ever experienced it. We both have, and in this episode of the Q&A show we do our best to explain what it is, and how to beat it.


This episode is sponsored by the Law of Self Defense by Andrew Branca. Andrew has a phenomenal book titled the Law of Self Defense that aims to teach the concealed carrier the laws governing self defense. On top of the book, Andrew also does live seminars, and online webinars on the topic. We’ve reviewed the book, as well as taken the class the last time Andrew was in town, and can’t recommend them highly enough. If you carry, you need to read the book. Save 10% with the code “triangle” at checkout, get it at Law of Self Defense.

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.

4 comments

  1. Bang…ding!

    You guys nailed it in so many ways and you have re-enforced my thoughts concerning this matter and the realization that I am back on a path that will lead to a destination.

    In the days since I sent that voicemail, I have had an epiphany! Please allow me to explain what I mean. Perhaps, it might help someone else who might be struggling with the same problem.

    In thinking about this topic over the last couple of months or so, I realized that I have had a few good matches, a lot of bad matches but not very many “definable and repeatable successes” in the sport. Unless, of course, you want to include suckitude!

    My last good match, or something I could be proud of personally, was in June. In the months of July and August, I was just going through the motions and not really looking forward to it. There are many reasons why it became that way for me and as much as I love this sport, I didn’t want to feel this way about it. I was missing something.

    Having just barely eked into B class this month, I realized that if I wanted to move forward, I was at a crossroad. I was at a crossroad and I had to make a decision. I had classified as a B class shooter but I really wasn’t a B class shooter. The whole “blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut” scenario.

    I had to do something different from what I have been doing. Which truthfully, wasn’t much in terms of dry-fire practice and in reality, was nothing more than going to matches and hoping for the best?

    I messaged Ben a few days ago about my 5 days of dry-fire practice and a few blisters. What I didn’t mention is that my par times and smoothness in the drills have improved… measurably and dramatically. Suddenly, something is now definable, measurable and newly invigorating. The improvements can be quantified and I have the dry-fire log to prove it!

    Now, I will say that I don’t improve in everything everyday but I am seeing improvement in things I wouldn’t have imagined before I started the program.

    Again, your thoughts and comments in the Q&A has reinforced that I am back on a path that leads somewhere instead of wandering aimlessly with no direction, or purpose and “hoping” for the best.

    Does this make any sense at all?

    Carry On!

  2. For the last couple years, our local club has hosted a weekly outlaw action pistol match, and I was not only designing, setting up, and tearing-down stages, I was running them as an RO. The way we organized, this often meant I’d work in the heat until early afternoon, then rush to shoot all my stages back-to-back.

    Even though I started winning matches, it got to be unfun pretty quickly. I was exhausting myself, shooting when I wasn’t at my best, and — because I was working and not shooting with the other “better” shooters — I didn’t feel like I was learning much.

    It wasn’t until family commitments forced me to miss a string of matches that my desire to compete returned. And instead of depending on the local matches (which we’ve since revamped to be more RO-friendly), I started making the 1.5 hour drive to other matches, where (selfishly) I could show up, shoot, help a little with tear-down, and go home.

    Plus I was competing against much better shooters, which is still a pretty good motivator.

    We need people to volunteer and run matches (and I’m amazed at the amount of time and effort some put into it), but it’s clear that kind of effort can also lead to burnout. Which is why more shooters need to step up and volunteer.

    • Yeah, this bears addressing separately. Burnout for match directors, stage designers, and ROs is a completely different set of circumstances but very real.

      Even just knowing I’ll probably run the timer for half my squad at any USPSA match I go to has made me less motivated to go. It’s almost to the point of trumping good stages. It’s possible to work and compete, but it takes a lot out of you.

      • RO’ing a squad definitely takes a lot of out anyone and diminishes my overall match experience. I can only imagine what it might be like to do that and try to come up with stages and actually run a match. My hat is off to those fine folks!

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