Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

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Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by Historian1972 on 6/5/2015, 7:13 am

Hello fellow bullseye shooters,

     I am in need of some advice.  I have been expert class for about 2 years and am starting to think that I will never make it to master class.  I am curious to hear some advice or suggestions that might help me move closer to my goal.  Currently, I shoot about a 2450 in a given match give or take a little.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Jeff S.


Last edited by Historian1972 on 6/5/2015, 11:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by Froneck on 6/5/2015, 7:44 am

First tell us what guns and type sights your shooting and your scores slow, timed and rapid fire. Any bench rest test of the gun and ammo used.

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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by BE Mike on 6/5/2015, 8:11 am

For some, shooting comes easy, but I am not talented in that area, so it was hard work for me. First off, I had to set THE goal.  I set intermediate goals along the way. I was shooting a model 52 S&W for centerfire. I was advised by top guns to go to the 1911 for centerfire, which I did. I obtained and tested my guns and ammo to eliminate all doubt about my equipment. I also put in more training. I did strengthening and endurance exercises, as well as, cardio (jogging in my case). I went to the range for training sessions twice a week and focused on my weak areas (mostly rapid fire). The other days, I dry fired and started concentrating on the mental side of the game. I read books and practiced techniques to strengthen my focus and concentration. I was fortunate to compete with folks who were at my level and higher. The folks who were at my level and higher, helped me to stay motivated. I shot in as many matches as was practicable. I recorded every shot and kept a shooting diary. I developed a written shot plan and used it when shooting. I also wrote out pep talks to myself and often referred to them. Last, but certainly not least, I discussed with my wife and children, what I wanted to do, how much time it would take from them and asked for their support. Luckily I got their blessings.

With all that said, you can advance quicker if you are coachable and get a great coach to work with you. Unfortunately, I learned the game from the outset from reading books (long before the internet) and trial and error. I didn't live near any active bullseye clubs and wasn't able to hang around other bullseye shooters. This pretty much put me in the uncoachable (pig headed) category.
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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by DavidR on 6/5/2015, 10:09 am

Sorry for this long post and I cant help much, been in the same boat myself for a long time, when I started shooting in 2000 I did good making expert in my second match, the proceeded to advance toward master, in 2006 I shot two back to back scores that averaged out to 2563.5, only 1.5 points short of making master. Then while helping my son clean his gutters I fell and damaged my rotator cup in my shooting arm, with no insurance it took years to regain my strength during which I got very depressed about not being able to even lift or hold a gun and quit and sold everything. In 2011 a friend invited me back to shoot a local league and being I had healed for the most part the bug was back and I started shooting again. Ive struggled these past four years to get back to where I was in 06 but best so far has been 2520 and mostly in the 2470 range. Getting the right guns, ammo and time to practice is one key thing, I have the first two but practice time I don't have so my struggle continues, the 45 for cf is the best way, I tried 32 and 38 cf and had good scores but went down in 45. Im now going to concentrate on the fundamental's and stop load experimenting and regroup and give it another hard push to excel.
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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by Froneck on 6/5/2015, 11:13 am

I've mentioned it a few times, one more time here won't hurt. Shoot 2 guns, stay away form the third. A guy at my club loved the 32, shot well with it but was stuck in Expert. I kept telling him to shoot the 45 and box the 32! Finally he did, he's a Master now and going for High Master.
 Bonny Harmon was teaching a section of the CMP school at Perry, He said I'm going to spill the secret to shooting great scores that all the guys on the AMU know. Simply there is NO secret, master the fundamentals and shoot the 45. Shooting the 45 will will carry you over to other guns but before shooting sub calibers learn to be good with the 45. Take my son Adam, He was 19 when he broke 2600, I think he still has the JR record at 2639 I think. Never shot the 9mm or any other sub caliber except the .22. Got out of boot camp late and went directly to the AMU. Was issued the guns and told he will go to Camp Perry but being he got out of boot camp in May he didn't have time to train so he would not be on the team! They had some inner AMU matches to select Ball team so Adam shot too. He won the match, was then put on the team as the new shooter. At Perry he was the high shooter on the team and to top it off he won the NTI! Yes he was also on the other teams too. But it was the 45 that took him there and trained him to shoot the 9mm well. His right hand was hurting shooting the frame mount so he decided to shoot left handed rather than us a smaller caliber. Used the information obtained shooting with his right hand he trained his left and broke 2650 left handed. There is a path to the top, I've mentioned it before. Ask all the winners at Perry they all say the same. Bonny was right, take that path!

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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by john bickar on 6/5/2015, 11:50 pm

Have you gone through the Marine Corps manual?
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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by sixftunda on 6/12/2015, 7:24 am

Everything you've read so far is true and works.  I'll add a few things.

If you have a wife and kids it is very important to explain what you are doing.  They know what my goals are and why I practice.  Makes life easier.

2/3 of a 2700 is fired on the short line.  Put your focus on that and your scores will go up.  Save up your money and buy a turning target system.  Use it at the range and when you are home set it up in your backyard and dry fire two second drills with it.
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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by pistol champ on 6/12/2015, 10:51 pm

I was an expert and went to a shooting school like a Zinn's/Moody weekend class and went to high master within the year.

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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by DavidR on 6/13/2015, 9:36 am

pistol champ wrote:I was an expert and went to a shooting school like a Zinn's/Moody weekend class and went to high master within the year.

Please tell us what you learned that made such a drastic improvement, hundreds have done the zins clinic without results like that.
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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by jmdavis on 6/13/2015, 10:56 am

I wish I could find a clinic. Clearly we are too close to Perry now, but I would like to find one after Perry this year. I would travel anywhere east of Il for one but would prefer something closer.


I wanted host one in Virginia, but have had trouble getting enough people. Many of the shooters near me are masters and not really interested.
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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by dronning on 6/13/2015, 12:30 pm

Lots of good advice. One of the things I did was to cut way back on going to the range to practice. Now I have a training purpose and it's not score that I'm working on.

Here is a clip from a Don Nygord interview

Dan:
"One of the best coaches I know, US Shotgun Coach Lloyd Woodhouse, has pointed out that a shooter's time should be spent as follows: 85% training, 10% practice, and 5% matches. And, as his shooters were the ones winning the Olympic medals this last time around, his theories seem to be validated. The number of matches is not really the major factor in building a top level shooter. Matches are a kind of "final exam" of the shooter's study and work. A rational program would allow for periods of building and then a maximum effort, and then a rest period. When you try to shoot matches all year long, you spend all of your resources (physical, mental, and financial) just doing that and not using them on the training that will result in improvement. The result of which is a shooter who has the same scores for years on end (and usually a mediocre score at that). So I try to husband my resources and attend as few matches as possible. I do go once a month to local matches, but I use them as my practice (10%). Here we test what technique we have been training on, and also check out new equipment. Unless it is something like the Senior Olympics, which I shoot for fun, I go to as few matches as I can; always aiming of course for the major match of the year, such as this year's Championship of the Americas."


I kind of follow this:
Dry fire, group shooting, practice - groups open up. go back to dry fire, if practice scores get worse go back to group shooting, or even dry firing.

Lanny Bassham's kneeling position was his weakest link. On a challenge from his father during summer break from college he spent 1 hour a day dry firing and never went to the range. When he came back to school kneeling was his strongest event. During the 10 years he shot internationally he was considered the top kneeling shooter in the world. 1st ever to shoot a perfect 400 in kneeling.

Lanny's Keys for consistency, sleep, nutrition, physical exercise.

- Dave
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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by pistol champ on 6/13/2015, 10:40 pm

DavidR wrote:
pistol champ wrote:I was an expert and went to a shooting school like a Zinn's/Moody weekend class and went to high master within the year.

Please tell us what you learned that made such a drastic improvement, hundreds have done the zins clinic without results like that.


I was just a beginner shooting for less than one year so I did not have a lot of bad habits ingrained yet. They suggested to buy great equipment so I got a 208s and two very accurate 45's. Dry fired my 45 40 times every day on a electronic trainer so I could interpret my shooting errors really making every shot as best as I could make it. Shot the 22 every day practicing only one item that I needed to improve on. Some examples would be getting the first shot off accurately when the target turned in sustained fire you shoot a single shot as the target turns always striving to make sure the shot is a 10. Some days only slow fire shot very deliberately if I was not happy with anything before the gun went bang I would put it down and start all over again I would always remove the gun from my hand and then grip the gun new for each shot this gave me lots of practice to grip the gun the same way every time I picked it up. My shot process is very simple "dot in the middle, pull trigger" I would change my shot process for different training situations but it was always only one or two items in the shot process. Some days in 30 minutes of slow fire training I would get 15 shots off other days 40 on days I was "on" I would do 100 or more. If there was a day I was really off I would stop so that I would not develop bad habits and just clean my guns. I would gauge myself on how I was doing by counting how many shots it would take to get ten in the 10 ring my goal was to shoot 10 10's in a row get those 10 10's in 12 to 15 shots and in a match you will have a good slow fire score. The nice thing about this is when you are starting out it takes a lot of rounds to get 10 10's so you are getting more practice when you get good you will not need as much slow fire trigger time. I did end up shooting until I had 10 X's. My other goal was not to shoot 8's I just hated 8's it was always something stupid that caused the 8 like holding too long, not totally concentrating, etc. I practiced timed fire as I found out I spent so much time on rapid fire drills that my timed fire scores were lower than my rapid. That was important in that I hated to loose points in timed fire. I shot 4 nights a week in leagues with great high master shooters. One time in a 900 I was pretty happy I shot a 888 but found out I was fifth it was a tough crowd. Shooting with stiff competition makes you not want to accept a 95 slow, 99 timed, or 98 rapid as OK. After one year after that class I shot a 2648. Then I changed jobs and stopped shooting and my scores went away. This is a sport that if you do not put effort into it you will not do to well and for some people you can still put in the effort but still suck as you need some natural ability. There was much more I did to make me a good shooter with my diet, life style, and conditioning. My mental game is still the same I'm not real happy with a shot unless it is an X.

Bottom line is just going to the class will not make you a HM but they give you the tools to allow you to train yourself to be one. In that class I took a lot of notes and went over them many times when I was training to get better in a area where I was giving up points. I know this next statement will get some people upset because they do not want to have negative thoughts. I really analyzed my bad shots to figure why I shot it. I believe that if you just ignore your bad shot so that you "feel" good you will shoot that same bad shot many times in the future. Find out why you shot that bad shot and correct yourself. I still remember shooting that 6 in the match I shot a 2648 I held the gun too long on that shot. Trust me I do not hold the gun too long any more (at least not too often) Figure out where you are loosing the most points and work on that first once that is fixed go after the next week area. I can not fix all my bad areas at the same time just one at a time and this is why I worked on only one part of the game at a time and just did not go out and shoot a 900. People who go out and shoot a 900 every time they practice will get better but very very slowly in my opinion. I made master my first year and high master my second year the 2648 was in my second year.

David I hope this is what you were asking for.

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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by rich.tullo on 6/16/2015, 11:39 am

Being an expert means you shoot many fine matches. I cant offer any advice,  So you have to ask yourself,why after two years are you still in the game? Patience? Few have 2 years worth. 

You love Bullseye and maybe that is enough, if its not: one thing I noticed with every master I have talked to like my Dad, Gemmel, Latief, Lange and Zinns is they never take a bad shot. Sure they may shoot a 7 or two but my guess is that is more to do with Ammo and Probabilities than process. 

I also don't know what Zinns or Lange are doing to train but my Dad used to and Latief Dickerson currently shoots several 2700s or 1800s in practice a week. When I was a kid i watched my Dad's scores rise from 2500 to 2575-2600 over two years where he capped out, that was before red dots. He started shooting Pistol and Rifle in the Army and he made master in Pistol at 40. A big benefit to him was mental coaching from Lanny Basham, a family friend.


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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by robert84010 on 6/16/2015, 12:04 pm

....


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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by DavidR on 6/16/2015, 12:09 pm

Yes thanks Pistol Champ
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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by willnewton on 3/14/2017, 11:59 am

I don't care how old this thread is, it is too good to die.

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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by daflorc on 3/14/2017, 4:40 pm

willnewton wrote:I don't care how old this thread is, it is too good to die.

BUMP

Indeed, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread. I would like to hear some tricks to improving slow fire scores. And what the difference is between a shooter who scores 95-96 on average on timed and rapid, and the shooter who consistently shoots 98's and better.

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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by Jon Eulette on 3/14/2017, 10:25 pm

No tricks! Keep the trigger moving at all times! I've had 3 practice days in last 4 months. Very little dry firing as well. I've shot 5 matches from December until today. My average is 96.something. I have a torn labrum (right bicep). Everything going against me :l)
But I keep the trigger moving!!! Difference between a Master and Expert is trigger control. Don't over analyze the shot process. Start squeezing the trigger and keep on squeezing the trigger until shot breaks....repeat until done. It's the same for SF, TF & RF. Just do it.
Jon
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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by Chris Miceli on 3/14/2017, 10:29 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:No tricks! Keep the trigger moving at all times! I've had 3 practice days in last 4 months. Very little dry firing as well. I've shot 5 matches from December until today. My average is 96.something. I have a torn labrum (right bicep). Everything going against me :l)
But I keep the trigger moving!!! Difference between a Master and Expert is trigger control. Don't over analyze the shot process. Start squeezing the trigger and keep on squeezing the trigger until shot breaks....repeat until done. It's the same for SF, TF & RF. Just do it.
Jon
And difference between master and high master ?
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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by Ed Hall on 3/14/2017, 10:33 pm

Chris Miceli wrote:And difference between master and high master ?
For me, as I've stated elsewhere, attitude.  I sat down, looked over many things, saw them differently and changed my attitude.  Next two scores 2626 and 2627.


Last edited by Ed Hall on 3/14/2017, 10:35 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : wordsmithing)

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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by john bickar on 3/15/2017, 12:29 am

Ed Hall wrote:
Chris Miceli wrote:And difference between master and high master ?
For me, as I've stated elsewhere, attitude.  I sat down, looked over many things, saw them differently and changed my attitude.  Next two scores 2626 and 2627.

Yep. Shoot more f**king Xs.
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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by CR10X on 3/15/2017, 9:16 am

"...and difference between master and high master ?"

Although the point difference may not be that much, going from 95 to 97 average; 

High Master ........................................................97.00 and above 
Master ...............................................................95.00 to 96.99 
Expert ................................................................90.00 to 94.99 
Sharpshooter .......................................................85.00 to 89.99

like all the rest of the classification from one level to the next, the effort and mental attitude grows exponentially (or at least it seemed to for me).  Master in a year and 4 months, but about 4 more years to HM. 

Biggest 2 things are getting to +93 or better at the long line (don't shoot the less than optimum shots), and shooting 99's or better at the short line (trigger, trigger, trigger, etc.).   

You don't have to shoot perfect scores every time; just minimize the distractions, find the right mindset and attitude, set up a real training plan and understand that one bad shot does not mean a bad match.  

Now if I can just listen to my own advise, get back to where I was and then get out of the 2649 club..... However, since I am now officially an "Old Dude" (Senior) things are getting a little harder.  But I still plan on working on getting there! 

CR


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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by daflorc on 3/15/2017, 10:40 am

Jon Eulette wrote:No tricks! Keep the trigger moving at all times! I've had 3 practice days in last 4 months. Very little dry firing as well. I've shot 5 matches from December until today. My average is 96.something. I have a torn labrum (right bicep). Everything going against me :l)
But I keep the trigger moving!!! Difference between a Master and Expert is trigger control. Don't over analyze the shot process. Start squeezing the trigger and keep on squeezing the trigger until shot breaks....repeat until done. It's the same for SF, TF & RF. Just do it.
Jon

Jon's tricks - don't practice or dry fire and keep the trigger moving Smile

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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by Tim:H11 on 3/15/2017, 12:27 pm

"If you're gonna shoot, shoot. Don't talk" - Good, Bad, and The Ugly. 

... oh maybe that's not quite the right quote here. I'm shooting master scores with the 22. It's the 45 that holds me back. Jon is right. Once you've learned the mechanics or how to shoot reasonably well, what holds you back from excelling on - I feel - is trigger control and not letting your brain get in the way of it. 

You can't think "ok I want the gun to go bang ... NOW!" You're snatching shots at that point. You can't wait for the perfect moment to let her fly because there is no "perfect moment". You hold center best you can, and press the trigger. Commit to the shot and focus on keeping the dot on or in the black best you can. If your arm can't hold it then I would suggest some arm muscle building exercises. 

I changed my 22 trigger pull from one that had no travel and a crisp break to one that had a little bit of travel and still a very crisp break. I feel like having the travel helps me gauge where I'm at on the trigger so I don't over press and get a shot off too soon or even not press enough and get the dot on center and hold for what feels like forever and wonder why hasn't she gone bang yet!? Having the trigger job come out very smooth and clean here is a must. When I get my 45 back it'll get the same treatment. 

Last note: don't over think the trigger. Get used to pressing it smooth, straight back, with steady consistant pressure. When you step on the line for a match this shouldn't be something you're worried about. 

I like to think of it like driving a car. I'm not noticing how far my foot presses down on the gas. Or even how quick or slow. I focus on keeping the car where I want it.
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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

Post by daflorc on 3/15/2017, 3:11 pm

Tim:H11 wrote:Jon is right. Once you've learned the mechanics or how to shoot reasonably well, what holds you back from excelling on - I feel - is trigger control and not letting your brain get in the way of it. 

Yep, I know this is spot on, and I see it in my own shooting. In practice, I often am able to get into "the zone," and last week I shot 24 out of 30 into the timed 10 ring at the short line with the 45. I didn't switch the target because I was on a roll, just blasting out the middle. I have a KC Crawford roll trigger installed in 3 of my pistols, and that roll helps dramatically for me. Then, whenever I'm in a match, I get nervous, worry about doing well, and wind up with an 85-89 in slow fire and 94-97 in timed and rapid. I shoot about the same scores in rimfire with a MKIII as centerfire with a 1911, about 275 on average, for one round of rim and one round of centerfire. I need to go to a confidence building seminar...

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Re: Need some advice... Stuck at Expert, what do I need to move up?

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