One of the best times I ever had playing organized sports was 6th, 7th, and 8th grade basketball. In three years we only lost two games. Wow, it was great to win! We did work hard. We would practice six days a week and we would practice for an hour and a half each day. Our coach, Bob, made sure every minute was valuable and we would work on at least one skill or aspect to our game. You could not argue with his preparation and practice regiment. We were merely an average group of kids who were able to accomplish amazing feats solely because of our practice regiment.
Some say “Practice Makes Perfect” and this is not entirely correct. There is value in pulling the trigger to prevent this skill from degrading. However, as my Middle School Basketball Coach always said, “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect”. It took a while for this notion to set in. His point was simplistic, but very profound. If we spent the entire practice working on dribbling the ball while looking down and with only our strong hand we would get good at this, but what value would this present in a real game? Shooting is exactly the same concept.
Very important! If you want to get better you have to practice. Shooting just matches may help you get better, but you will not see the incremental improvements you crave and deserve. For a lot of us, shooting is not how we make a living so our time is precious with our day jobs, family, and friends. This is why maximizing our time out on the range is very important.
So, where do we start? Each shooter is different and there is not a universal answer. Let’s focus this discussion on Steel Challenge, for now. What is your current classification? What is your goal? Pick one Division to go after to start with. Let’s say you are a Master Shooter in Rimfire Rifle Open (RFRO) and you want to be a Grand Master. Look up your classification at http://www.steelchallenge.com/steel-challenge-classification.php. As you can see below this student is a Master at 87.98 % of the ‘Peak Time”.
In order for her to reach their goal she needs to lift this % to 95% to become a Grand Master as shown in the chart below:
Next, let’s look at where she needs to work on. Below is a table from the same page in which her classifications are based off of by match, date shot, stage, fastest time the stage was shot, and the peak time for the stage.
So, what does this mean? Let’s do a little Excel work and see how she is classified for each one. As you can see below, she is a Grand Master on one of the more challenging stages 5 to Go, this is a good sign. She is a Master Class in five other stages and she has two stages where she is an A Class.
Now, with this information in mind, what does she need to work on? Let’s prioritize, I like lists of three, the top three stages she needs to work on. As you can see below, in order, Outer Limits is a usual suspect and is the very first one to work on. This is followed-up by Smoke and Hope and then Speed Option. We need to get these lingering A Class Stages in the solid Master if not Grand Master Classification!
In order to make the most out of your practice session, you have to know where to start. Now we know where to start, let’s get to work! To be continued…
See you out on the range soon!