This match was a tough one for me. Despite not having any scored penalties, I couldn’t find my groove all day and ended up having a few stages with more time on the clock than I really should have taken. It was a very up and down day, with a confident performance on the field course (stage 5) followed by a botched speed shoot and classifier. I can’t put my finger on quite what was wrong. One thing that definitely had an impact was taking the timer before I had shot the stage, which I generally try to avoid. Every extra visualization is a chance to smooth out a wrinkle or prevent a hiccup, and this was a match full of wrinkles and hiccups.
Of course, it’s hard to complain since I still managed to win the match against some stiff competition.
My focus in practice recently has been getting a clean grip out of the holster, establishing a strong weak hand grip, and staying low when entering positions, which I failed to put in to practice on most of the stages. I think that’s the source of much of my frustration: I spent time practicing particular things and have it seem like it didn’t make a difference.
I was second to shoot this stage (thanks to a Mr. Beal on my squad coming alphabetically before me), but for some reason stepped up to the line without any sense of urgency. Having to shoot three makeups at the mini-popped is a far cry from my confident start to this match last month. This stage was just truly unimpressive. Not terrible, but sluggish and unenthusiastic. Between the hard cover miss in the middle on the low targets that I made up and the last shot being very close to a miss on the mini target by rushing the last split, I guess I should be grateful nothing worse happened. I should have been more focused despite being early in the order early in the morning.
Another stage where nothing really went wrong, but it was careless with the aiming, leading to too many makeups and forcing a standing reload. There was a rules dispute about the stage during the 5-minute walkthrough and then I took the timer since I was late in the order, and both of those got me out of my head. I just never really got my concentration back. I should have taken the distractions more seriously and been more deliberate about making sure my plan was airtight before starting.
The last stage where I took the timer to start. I was actually pretty happy with how the stage went except for the two surprise no-penalty mikes at the end of the stage. I wish I knew what happened, but I think I was just too target focused and didn’t even see the gun on two of the four shots on the drop turners. No penalty, but giving up the alphas hurt. Those ten lost points are the equivalent of a hit on a no-shoot. I should have visualized those targets more and not taken them for granted since they were so close.
I was pretty happy with this one. I ended up with a plan that meant taking the paper arrays from as close as possible to each and not doing any standing reloads. I did have one close call rounding the corner there, in part because the packed dirt and lack of gravel had been pounded flat by the three squads before us. I should have been more cognizant of the tight turn and looked for footing problems during the squad walkthrough when we got to the bay.
Pulling off steel, my old nemesis. I got fooled by the simplicity of the stage and how big the poppers were, as well as focusing too much on trying to shoot the fourth popper before the clamshell and got ahead of myself. I should have visualized the rest of the stage aside from the one “tricky” part more.
This classifier is deceptively tricky, requiring you to move more than it seems to see the targets on each side, and I didn’t fully appreciate that during my walkthrough. Since the design of the stage is so open, I didn’t give the sides a second look and spent all my time thinking about shooting through the low port. I don’t shoot a lot of low ports and didn’t think about how the recoil of trying to shoot and transition fast would fight my attempt to balance. I should have put a knee down for extra stability since I wasn’t planning to get up from the low position on the clock.
This stage went pretty much according to plan. This one and the next one were my attempts to “get serious” after the frustration of the last two stages, and it mostly worked. There was one spot where I hesitated because I doubted my shot calling on a hard-cover partial, but it all worked out. I “stood up” in position more than I would have liked, especially at the end which meant taking time to get low again to start moving. But overall, one of the my better stages for the day.
Tried an interesting stage plan that let me take one step to the first shooting position and do a few medium-sized movements but put the big movement for the stage in the middle when I could haul ass across the bay and I think it mostly worked. I was very conscious as I was slowing down of just how much I had to decelerate and it felt like it took a very long time for my sights to stabilize at the last position. But watching the video it seems like that may have just been impatience. Took charlie delta on a target that was in the shade and diagonally across the range just because I got lazy and aimed for center of cardboard. I should have called those and made them up, especially since I had plenty of rounds left in the magazine.
So overall, I feel like my performance was fine, and it’s hard to argue with a division win against significant competition. But it’s also frustrating to not see my practice manifest on match day, and to feel myself shooting with such a lack of focus and energy. It’s a sharp contrast to IPSC Nationals three weeks ago where it was very easy to focus and really thoroughly visualize a stage plan (when you weren’t first on the stage after seeing it for the first time five minutes ago!).
The main things for me to work on before the NC Section match in five weeks is really focusing and making sure to visualize with enough detail and repetition that shooting the stage happens without hesitation. I know what it feels like to visualize to that level, and it didn’t happen once at this match, and that’s a problem.