It’s become somewhat common at matches to cut walkthroughs down to 4 or even 3 minutes in an effort, misguided in my opinion, to save time and get more shooters through the match.
First, this is bad for competitors. On any given stage, one of two things will be true. Either the stage will have a small shooting area, in which case it takes longer for each person on the squad to get a view of each position–and on good stages, how to cheat/blend them. Alternately, the stage will have a large shooting area and multiple positions, at which point having the extra time is useful.
But more importantly, shorter walkthroughs are bad for the ROs and CROs working the stages. Assuming that squads are flowing evenly through each bay of the match, the staff on each stage won’t have time between squads to wait for the next one. This means their only downtime, their only chance to sit and take a load off is during the competitors’ walkthrough. Having 5 minutes to sit down, eat a snack, drink some water, and just rest every 20-25 minutes (8-10 shooter squads at 2.5 minutes/shooter) makes a difference.
Cutting your staff’s rest time below the typical 5 minutes just wears them out, and will inevitably lead to more mistakes and lower morale from your staff.
But let’s come back to the competitor side of things for a minute. The math for 3-minute walkthroughs is appealing: you save 2 minutes per stage, which on a 10-stage match is a free and clear 20 minutes in your schedule. But the common response for shortened walkthroughs is competitors taking up extra time at make ready (or just taking longer to come to the line and be ready). If each of the 10 competitors on a squad takes 12 seconds longer at make ready, there goes your two minutes. If the margins of your match running successfully are backing up are that thin, you have other problems.
If you are really serious about keeping competitors moving, the only way to truly make that happen is staff reset. More on that tomorrow.