But i wanna shoot competitively!

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  • Belgian Bad A$$

    Tired of being ignored, living the single life!
    Feb 18, 2018
    68
    Washington County, MD
    Hey y'all

    So how do you handle nerves shooting a match? Im really hard on myself being a retired competitive skater and as im sure many of you do, you expect yourself to do well. Im scared to consider signing up for a match for fear of failing. I know im still aways off from signing up for one but just sitting here thinking about the potential of failing eats me up. Kicken wing and i want to watch some official matches coming up so i will be doing that. I always try to go in with the attitude of im competing against myself which sometimes works sometime not. Anyone wanna share their first match fail story with me???
     

    Occam

    Recovering Lurker
    MDS Supporter
    Feb 24, 2018
    14,828
    Montgomery County
    Mrs. Occam is chiming in, with me typing. She's shot all her life, but only recently dabbled in shooting steel, and then getting into a few matches when the mood strikes. Her thoughts, and some of mine:

    1) It's supposed to be fun. It only feels that way if everyone involved feels like it's SAFE. So when you're relatively new at it, fully expect the observations about gun handling and procedure that will come from the range officers and other squad-mates as they - universally in good spirit - offer them. It's a good thing, and comforting to know people are looking out for you. Getting that guidance and taking it onboard is what makes your first few outings low stress and positive.

    2) It's supposed to be fun. Feeling competitive is - for almost everyone who participates - strictly about competing with themselves. Because at a match with a few dozen folks, there are always going to be a half dozen people are so, SO much faster and more accurate that fretting about competing with them takes the fun out of it. I prefer to marvel at their speed and skill, and then just ask myself how I'm doing down in the average mix of normal people. And more importantly: did I do it all safely, no screw-ups, and avoid any just dumb things (poor choice of mag change plans, failure to see a target in the mix, do something out of order, etc) that made me roll my eyes at myself. In, say, a steel challenge or falling steel type shoot, the few people in the top of the ranks will have their scores separated by just a few seconds, and then the rest of us normal humans will be bunched up in a couple of tiers of much slower times - and nobody cares!

    3) It's definitely worth trying this FORMAT of shooting in a non-match environment. AGC, for example, has some Thursday evening come-as-you-are things where they'll break out the steel targets for a strictly practice/introductory time, and that's definitely worth looking into.

    4) Planning to visit more than even ONE such shoot without bringing your gear and participating - don't do it! Even total noobs (with at least some basic experience behind them being safe with their hardware) will be welcome and walked through every single aspect of this type of shooting. Just tell the RO you're in that mode, and you'll be in great hands, and have fun. Using AGC's steel shoots as an example: you don't even need draw-from-holster skills or confidence - you can start with the pistol at low ready, and go from there. Just so you can get into the rhythm of things. Stop by to watch if you must, but your second visit should include you shooting (because you'll want to, and you'll be warmly welcomed).

    5) Hearing protection, wrap-around eye protection are important. It's nice not to have to fish magazines out of your pockets, but even that works your first time out if you don't have a good belt, mag holders, etc. If you're going to shoot without drawing, be sure you have a decent pistol bag handy for toting things around. The particulars will depend on where you'll shoot, what sort of matches they run, etc. But you'll be welcome in noob mode without a care in the world most anywhere. I cite the AGC steel shoots just because I have personal experience with how well they handle inexperienced match shooters - it's a great place to give it a try.
     

    camo556

    Active Member
    Aug 29, 2021
    1,562
    just do it.

    You won't come in first. Go slow. Take your time your first match and focus on safety and avoiding procedurals. Try not to DQ. If you don't DQ by dropping your gun or breaking the 180 (for example) it's a W for the match. Go slower than you think you need to and try to avoid procedural (like make sure to hit targets in the correct order and learn where your feet should be). Slow is fast because there is lots to competitive shooting besides shooting your race gun fast.

    the way to get through the nerves imo is the same as in other sports... practice and let muscle memory take over.

    If you've been a competitive skater you know all this so you'll kick ass.

    Usually my goals are not to DQ and beat my last time.

    Also, you'll be doing a lot of pasting and standing around watching other ppl. It's always good to see how more experienced ppl run stages.
     

    camo556

    Active Member
    Aug 29, 2021
    1,562
    Also, your first few matches are probably not even reported officially so view them as soft opening practice runs.
     

    camo556

    Active Member
    Aug 29, 2021
    1,562
    also also, lol. in the other thread you said you hated your handgun and your skills were shit.

    Personally I am with you on that lol. I have not practiced much in the last year. I would much prefer shooting something rifle ish.

    On that topic though: pick a division you enjoy shooting. most places for example will run carbine or PCC division. Dont feel compelled to run production handgun just because.
     

    Magnumite

    Active Member
    Dec 17, 2007
    6,053
    Harford County, Maryland
    1. OP, you can’t fail at the match except to be unsafe. Know and abide by the safety rules.
    2. Don’t rush yourself. You can only shoot as fast as you can shoot. The faster shooters are smooth and lay down a quick cadence. Your cadence is yours.
    3. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
    4. Have a reliable and easonably accurate gun.
    5. Relax, its not the Olympics. Even if it were, relax, you’ll shoot better.
    6. No one was born shooting master class skill levels. It will develop if you ate disciplined to practice over time.
    7. Now for one specific, establish your natural neutral point (your base) and shoot from that base.
     

    MaxVO2

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    ****Take action and just do it. Sweat in practice so you don't bleed in battle or in front of literally everybody watching what YOU are doing!! (I'm kidding, nobody really cares if you suck, only if you are better than everyone else your first time out, which isn't likely to happen ). Just focus on the basics, see what others do, learn the rules, and try not to do anything glaringly bad that gets you DQ'ed. Finishing your first match will *greatly* increase your confidence level and you can review what you did well, not so well, and what to focus on again in practice, etc..

    There's so much that can be written on this topic but the bottom line is just go and do it. Be safe, have fun and review what you learned and practice what needs practicing and leave the rest well enough alone until you have a better idea of how a match works, is scored and the difference for you between shooting fast, shooting accurately, and just how fast you can shoot accurately if that is the kind of event you are in.

    Competition will really improve your skills quickly if you learn from the experience and practice and work on what needs improving.

    Good luck!
     

    mac1_131

    MSI Executive Member
    Jan 31, 2009
    2,921
    Hey at my age, just being there doing it and having fun is a win.

    It's harder than you might think, so set your expectations accordingly.

    Enjoy yourself and have fun!
     

    august1410

    Marcas Registradas
    Apr 10, 2009
    22,503
    New Bern, NC
    I've done it twice- once with a revolver and once with a semi-auto. I had a lot of fun the first time and the second time was "meh". I'll probably do it again, though. Have fun, don't try to be an expert and you'll be fine.
     

    Antarctica

    YEEEEEHAWWW!!!!
    MDS Supporter
    Sep 29, 2012
    1,337
    Southern Anne Arundel
    F-it. just go have fun. I recently shot two PRS matches. I'd never shot over 100 yards. I figured I could read and 'practice' all winter long or I cound go, make an ass of my self, and learn more than I could ever pay someone to teach me.

    I was right. I suck, Had the wrong equipment. f'd up repetitively, and shot terribly. Had a great time, Learned a ton. Last round I binged 4 600 yard shots in a row off a moving platform. Still got a lot to learn, just pray not to get DQ'd for a total f'up.

    Can't wait until the series starts next spring.
     

    davsco

    Active Member
    Oct 21, 2010
    7,564
    Loudoun, VA
    just do it. at worst you'll have fun, shooting is always fun. other than sighting in new guns, i haven't been to a static range since forever.
     

    4g64loser

    collector of fine .22s
    Jan 18, 2007
    2,208
    maryland
    You should attend a match or two and meet the shooters. You might just be surprised to find them a welcoming bunch who could be your neighbors. The idea that they will be super skilled and hyper competitive is (usually) a fallacy. That usually only happens at major matches and state/regional/national events.
     

    Belgian Bad A$$

    Tired of being ignored, living the single life!
    Feb 18, 2018
    68
    Washington County, MD
    Hi y'all that post on my thread! Thank you!

    First and foremost, i want yall to know that i know my range rules and always practice safe handling. My daddy taught me well over 40 years ago.

    I was an office manager for a private security firm back in the day where i had to go through armed and unarmed training which meant qualifying to stay registered. That was my first experience on the line. I qualified but felt i should have done better.

    Everyones advice is spot on! I appreciate each of you! I will be at a range day on oct 2nd and will be paying close attention.

    I think one of my fears is not hitting the steel. I dont want to feel like im not good enough to compete. Someone said it takes practice and even more practice. I just need to get out there and do it! You guys and gals rock, you know that??

    If anyone will be at PNTC on oct 2nd find me and say hello. Ill be there with Kicken Wing! Yall be good!

    Lock n load!
    Ducky
     

    ShafTed

    Active Member
    Mar 21, 2013
    1,906
    Juuuuust over the line
    SNIP

    I think one of my fears is not hitting the steel.

    SNIP

    Ducky


    Not to worry, you definitely WON'T hit all the targets all the time. There is an amazing amount of air around that steel; I know, I've seen a lot of people shoot that air, and I've shot most of it myself. Just take another shot, you'll eventually hear the "Ringgggggg!"
     

    camo556

    Active Member
    Aug 29, 2021
    1,562
    People miss the steel all the time.

    Just go slow, take a breath, and try to see where your shot lands so you can correct it.
     

    Racinready300ex-2

    Junior Member
    Apr 10, 2020
    37
    Hey y'all

    So how do you handle nerves shooting a match? Im really hard on myself being a retired competitive skater and as im sure many of you do, you expect yourself to do well. Im scared to consider signing up for a match for fear of failing. I know im still aways off from signing up for one but just sitting here thinking about the potential of failing eats me up. Kicken wing and i want to watch some official matches coming up so i will be doing that. I always try to go in with the attitude of im competing against myself which sometimes works sometime not. Anyone wanna share their first match fail story with me???

    Competitive skating huh. Did you win your first skating competition? How many years of training did it take to get to where you could win? Assuming you didn't win all the time, how did you deal with loosing?

    Basically I'm saying you'll be fine. Sure you'll be nervous, just like I'm sure you were nervous skating. That'll never go away.

    Come shoot, it'll be fun.
     

    COACH1106

    Junior Member
    Jun 18, 2020
    88
    HANOVER MD
    All I'll say is just go to an event at AGC if you make it down this way. Like others have said you'll see guys that run PCC that run a stage in 8 seconds then watch a stock pistol run the same stage in 34 seconds. Just go and have fun. If it tells you anything my 17 year old daughter went to my first match and halfway through said I want to do this next time. She now beats me on the regular lol. I've never met more welcoming people at any event I've tried. Good Luck
     

    alucard0822

    For great Justice
    Oct 29, 2007
    16,104
    PA
    First thing, if it's not fun, then you are doing it wrong. Have competed off and on for 20+ years, IDPA, PSA, steel challenge, USPSA, 3 gun etc, have competed a lot, have been squadded with some impressive people, and still remember shaking and sweating from being so nervous the first time I heard "stand by______BEEP!
    1. research a little, find a match that looks good for your skill level, then shoot it. Steel challenge, York's fun shoots, and small local matches are simple, fun, and will help teach you range etiquette, and get some jitters out.
    2. good equipment will keep you from getting frustrated. All too often people new to competition are afraid to spend $50+ on a holster, the Bladetech competition combo is a great place to start. Cheap nylon holsters and stashing mags in pockets could make it harder to compete, better off doing a simpler match that doesn't require a draw till you get useable belt gear. More than likely ANY decent firearm will run well enough for a few matches, avoid problem child builds, stick to simple reliable stuff, even if it might be a little less than ideal. A slow run with a box stock GLOCK will beat a jammed up cursing filled run with a custom 2011 that doesn't work.
    3. sign up and shoot. No matter how much you read, research or hover over a match signup in practiscore, it's all worthless till you actually shoot in a match. Much of what you think matters doesn't, and the stuff that matters isn't always obvious. A last place finish is better than the guy that figures he will try his first match "next time".
    4. competitive shooters love new competitors. You will never find a more welcoming, knowledgeable group of braggadocios a-holes anywhere else. If you have questions, competitors love to answer them, want advice on gear, you will get several good answers, as long as you don't sweep the line with your muzzle, or act like you own the place, people will help you.
     

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