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Focus

Last week when I was on the range doing all the shooting for last weeks Junk Science show I noticed something that I’d never noticed before.

When I was doing the step into the box draws, I could reliably shave a tenth of a second when I put my focus on the draw stroke, and not the step.

If I just let the step happen, and put my focus on the draw, a pretty average draw was about .95, .96, .97, something like that.

However, when I focused on the step, and let the draw stroke just happen, the time went up to about 1.06 or so.

I’ve subscribed to the “get bored while you practice thing” and get in a lot of repetitions thing for a long time, but I kind of wonder how much better I’d be now, or how much more I’d enjoy practice if I were really focusing on things, and not allowing myself to get bored.

Doing the shooting for last weeks show, I couldn’t allow myself to get bored. I had to keep focus. I didn’t get bored, and I actually got to where I could feel it when I’d shot a draw that was sub .9, and sub 1 second, and when I was greater than a second, it felt SLOW.

Being able to perceive that sort of difference between different draws, when I’m human, was really interesting to me, but if I weren’t totally focused, they would have all felt relatively the same.

Q&A:

Drew:

Hi Lucas. I’ve recently started helping with my IDPA club’s Facebook page. That made me wonder, what do shooters want to see from a club’s page? Just links to Practiscore? I’ve seen some clubs that post with a summary of the match calling out the winners of divisions. What would be fun or helpful without being annoying?

Post interesting stuff. Sure, you want to post stuff about the IDPA club, and practiscore links and things like that, but also drive some conversation with the shooters. Talk about proposed rule changes, both with IDPA, and things within the club.

Get people out shooting at other clubs in your area, post match video, post interesting things from other pages, things like that.

One thing I’ve learned about Facebook, is that if you’re constantly just posting links back to the same site (practiscore) Facebook will start showing those posts to less and less people, which isn’t what you want at all.

Not sure how your club does it, but you could also use it to put out a call to action for match setup, and as a way to recognize those who help out.

Evan:

You’ve touched on about what makes a great match. But what about what makes a great stage? What tips would you give match directors and stage designers? What should they avoid doing?

Options. Options make a good stage.

For instance, the match I shot on Sunday was the Devil Dog USPSA match up in Oxford, NC. Almost every stage had several different ways that made sense to shoot it, and you really had to think about which was the most efficient way to do it.

One stage in particular, you started in the far right corner of the shooting area. Most shooters started there, and then worked the stage from right to left, but if you were a Production shooter, that left you having to do a reload while working back up range to the last position, which is uncomfortable and slow.

The other option was to step into the shooting area, drop one piece of steel, and the run all the way to the left most position (which I think was about 13 steps) and then shoot the stage from left to right. This saved a reload, and a whole position, BUT, you had to run 13 steps without shooting, and you ended up covering more ground than if you went the other way, but you avoided that awkward running up range reload.

The last stage we shot was a 15ish round short course that was really interesting. You could conceivably work around a barricade either way, and have a good stage plan, so you really had to plan it around your abilities. The Production guys on my squad had a couple different ways to shoot it, each with their own risk/reward.

That’s what makes a good stage.

What doesn’t make a good stage is something like the USPSA Classifier Can you count. Lets pretend it isn’t a classifier for a second, and pretend that someone were able to setup something like it in a stage.

For those who don’t know, can you count is a 20 round USPSA classifier. You start with 5 rounds in your gun, and on the buzzer you shoot a target that’s 10 feet away 10 times, reload, and shoot a target that’s 14 feet away 5 times. Then you reload for the next string, and do it again, but in opposite order.

This is a short course, but there’s only one way to shoot it. The stage I described above this had less rounds needed, but it was FAR more interesting because there were so many options on how to shoot it.

I do think there are a lot of people who just build some walls, throw down some target stands, and call it a stage, and there might even be some people who can do that and come up with really good stages, but that often results in illegal stages, or boring stages where you go from port to port shooting 8 rounds through each port, for 32 rounds. Those stages suck, and if you build those, you should feel bad.

It’s also not all about the use of props. Paper and poppers, walls and fault lines are all you need to build killer stages. Sure, fancy activators and max traps, drop turners, swingers, things like that all have their place, but they’re not necessary for making a good stage.

And for the love of all things holy, please avoid the temptation to build a carnival stage at all costs. If you want to have a match with a bunch of props, spread them out through all the stages. Don’t build one stage with 7 different props. Things will break, things will not get re-set, and you’ll be re-shooting shooters all day long.

Oh, and avoid freestanding no-shoots. They suck, because people forget to check them for hits, and then you end up with a 9mm shooter finishing the stage with a .40 caliber hole through a no-shoot, and nobody really knows who shot the no-shoot target. If you want to put in a no-shoot target, staple it over a regular target to make sure it gets checked for score.

Plugs of the Week:

The Shoot Fast Podcast. Its new, it’s good, and you should subscribe to it. They just started, and came out of the gate swinging hammers.

Also, I was interviewed on the Armed Lutheran Podcast this week, so you should go listen to that too. I had a lot of fun doing it.

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.

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