I’ve been trying to convince people that staff reset is the way to run major USPSA matches for a while now. The match benefits from being able to get more shooters through the stage in the same amount of time. The ROs benefit from having a consistent reset process that reduces reshoots and questionable rules calls (“Was that hole pasted?”). The shooters benefit by being able to just focus on their shooting and have confidence that the score they got is the score they shot.
And around here, the momentum is growing. The North Carolina Section match has been staff reset at least since 2013, when I got into the sport. These days, Georgia and South Carolina are the same way. Rowan County Wildlife Club here in NC has hosted Area 6 twice now, and both times the match has been staff reset. I didn’t shoot this year, but last year we were running significantly ahead of schedule and the match easily could have accommodated more shooters. (In the past, A6D Bruce Wells has said that staff reset violates the volunteer spirit of the sport, but I was happy to see him quoted in the most recent issue of Front Sight as saying, “Our match was staff reset, which gave competitors time to visit with each other and check out the vendor tents.” Okay, so he missed the points about fairness and competitive equity, but I’ll take it.)
That said, I don’t know that the message of staff reset isn’t really spreading. So I got to thinking: does it need better branding?
“World Shoot” Reset
It’s spring 2021, and Production has gotten lumped into the spring Nationals, so I’m in Talladega for Nationals in May. It’s the end of the third day, Beaker and I are walking back from shooting the third zone of the match, the far isolated bays that were all IPSC-ish stages.
A white SUV rolls by and stops, windows down, and asks if we want a ride. I don’t recognize the car or the guy talking to us. I look at Beaker. Does he know these people? As it happens, it’s Rob Leatham and his match buddy, who have some room in the car, so they offer two random nobodies a ride. We pile into the back, and we start driving. Beaker and I had just been discussing the staff in that zone in particular, and how shooting this Nationals in many ways was a worse experience than shooting our Section match or A6. (This was about three hours before they ran out of food at the awards dinner.)
After 15 seconds or so of awkward silence as we start the ride back to our car, I just decide to go for it. As I recall, the conversation went something like this:
“Hey Rob, can I ask you a question?”
“What do you think about the fact that even at Nationals, you have competitors pasting their own targets and setting steel?”
He pauses for a moment. “Well, I’m not sure. It’s the way it’s always been, you know? The only match I’ve ever been to where the shooters didn’t reset was the World Shoot.”
One of us in the backseat pipes up that actually, Area 6 just ran with staff reset a few weeks before, and it went well. Rob just hmmms thoughtfully. At that point, we’re at our car, we hop out, thank them again for the ride, and part ways.
But the wheels are turning in my head. Instead of staff reset, would we be better off calling it World Shoot reset? “Area 6 at Rowan County Wildlife Club, featuring 12 stages, chrono, and World Shoot reset!”
“Pit Crew” Reset
Pop’s Quest recorded a video on the way home from working the SC Section match a few weeks ago that hit on a new way of framing staff reset that I think really captures it. He compared it to the pit crew at a race. Whether you’re a NASCAR or Formula 1 fan, the idea of a pit crew instantly evokes the idea of everyone having a specific, rehearsed job. When the moment strikes, everyone jumps into action, completes their assigned tasks, gives the signal, and in seconds the car is away and back to racing.
And that’s exactly how a well-run stage goes with staff reset. The range is called clear, and each member of the staff has their assignment. Rob talked about the stage he worked at South Carolina, which had a stomp pad that activated a drop turner and a swinger. Their stage was the fastest running of any stage all day, where the complicated prop setup could easily have made it the one with all the backups and reshoots. Rob talks about how his specific job when the range was called clear was to go to the stomp pad and reset it. It wasn’t a guessing game of who was going to do it, the responsibility was clear, and when the moment came, everyone on that stage did their job.
So perhaps, especially given Rowan’s NASCAR heritage, we should start calling it pit crew reset?
One Funeral At A Time?
Planck wrote, “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” In my experience, staff reset has been the same way. One MD burns out, or the club doesn’t want to host it for another year, or a new Section Coordinator comes in that makes it a priority.
So perhaps this is just a matter of time. As the old guard hands things over, and a new generation take charge, perhaps we’ll starting seeing more matches run this way. Perhaps people traveling from other parts of the country will start to appreciate what a difference “World Shoot”/”pit crew” reset makes at Area 6. Who knows?