First and foremost, I hope everyone had a great and safe Holiday Season!
During the time off, I had the fortunate opportunity to do some training with members of the Steel Target Paint family. In discussions of what Steel Challenge stage we wanted to practice there was unanimity to Pendulum. During practice you need to make sure you understand where your “Edge” is as I have previously written about. My “Edge” for this stage with a Rimfire Pistol Open gun is 2.35 seconds. As a reminder, I feel comfortable I can get all 5 one-for-one hits in 2.35 seconds on a consistent basis.
For some reason, I have not felt comfortable shooting this stage in the last couple of major matches so I changed my order in shooting to various options:
- 2-1-3-4- Stop Plate
- 1-2-3-4- Stop Plate
- 1-2-4-3-Stop Plate – this is how I have been shooting in 2017
As I ran several strings of fire, what I have trained for took over as second nature and 1-2-4-3-Stop Plate proved to be the fastest sequence of fire. After 20-30 strings of fire I regained the confidence I have been seeking to apply at my next match.
During the training session a phenomenon happened. It is what I call a “Practice Edge”. When I was shooting my strings of fire I kept on getting faster and faster. With every shot and hit I made I pushed my “Edge” on the stage and to my surprise I was connecting. It was not long, I was shooting 2.10, then 2.05, then 1.95, and THEN 1.90! I tried to push past 1.90 and then the wheels of the train started to come off the tracks! I did have an experience, coined or at least made popular by Tom Naelon, “The Blind Squirrel Run”, where I connected on a sub 1.90 once out of 5 tries.
If you have noticed at US Steel (often called ‘The Nationals’) or the World Speed Shooting Championship (WSSC) you will see competitors run through the stages the night before. The concept is to re-establish their “Edge” and get a “Practice Edge” that will ‘stick’ for the next day’s competition to gain as much of an advantage as possible.
The lesson in all of this for me is to not get frustrated if you are not shooting as fast as you did after shooting a stage 50 times in practice. Shooting a stage over and over again will help the message from your eyes – to your brain – to your body to react quicker and quicker. You will see your times get lower and lower. There is no substitute for pulling the trigger out on the range!
See you out on the range soon!