First Shot Process

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First Shot Process

Post by mikemyers on 11/20/2017, 10:49 am

Before I ever heard of a "shot process" I used to write down things to remember as I was "target shooting".  Now I've heard from several of you regarding what people here consider a "shot process".  I did some searching, and found what I hoped would be a good thread, "http://www.bullseyeforum.net/t3919-shot-process?highlight=shot+process", but for someone creating their very first bullseye shot process, it's way too complicated.  If I had 30 steps to go through before making the gun go 'bang', I'd be lost in the details.  I think I learn better by starting simple, and add on more complexity as I find it useful.  I've also read here that by making the process a little more technical, it keeps the mind focused on following the process, rather than drifting off to other things.

So, my question here is for some of you who are quite talented nowadays, what was the "shot process" that you first started with, once you realized it was a useful tool?


Or, to word it differently, what were you forcing yourself to concentrate on, before you went on to learn so much more?
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by CR10X on 11/20/2017, 3:26 pm

Yep, some people have a 30 or 40 step process. For me it comes down to: 
Stance
Visualize what you want
Grip 
Area of Aim (Target)
Dot / Front Sight
Trigger
See what you need to see.  (The gun shouldn't go off unless I see what I need to see, but, well you know, crap happens.) 
Call the shot (s) 
Verify the shot / string

(And its changed over the years and continues to evolve somewhat in terms of emphasis on some portion of another.)

You can add or delete what you need but the essence is still:

Stance
Grip
Area of Aim (Target)
Dot / Front Sight
Trigger

Find the best way to put them together for you and that's your shot process. Some people may switch the order of "Area of Aim" and "Dot" if they focus on the target (at least that's how I did it when I was trying the target focus with the dot).   Some people may switch "Trigger" with "Dot / Front Sight" depending on what works best for them.  Try it and see what works for you.   There does not seem to be a single "right" way, there is simply the best way for you.  But we probably need to get the stance and grip out of the way first.  

But, we need to get everything we can completed and out of the way and be prepared to execute or abort the shot before the gun leaves the bench.  

You can think or not think about whatever you may or may not need to in order to shoot the most 10's you can.  But if you hear a voice in you brain say, "Hey maybe this is taking too long" you should probably should have put the gun back down when you heard the "Hey". (At least in my experience!)

Or, I could be full of crap like the other 99.999% of things you read about shooting the internet.  

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Re: First Shot Process

Post by Tim:H11 on 11/21/2017, 7:08 am

In the beginning for me I was gifted a copy of The Pistol Shooters Treasury written by Gil Hebard. In it there is an article on shot process. I tried to base my shooting on that. Being impatient and easily frustrated as a new shooter (and even still at times) I would stray from the idea of a shot process and just make an effort to keep my stance and footing the same, keep my back the same, keep my raise and lower onto target the same and the biggest focus of all leaving the rest in the subconscious was trigger control and sight alignment. 

If I thought at all during the shot "Almost there...." then it was time to abort. And I didn't always abort. Sometimes I screwed the shot up and sometimes I got lucky. And getting lucky is bad because it will teach you the idea that you CAN in fact hold through longer than you should. When really its best if you don't. 

For me I don't go over a shot process every time in my head. Maybe I should. But I just shoot. I just shoot and I focus on grip, trigger, and sights and I try to keep it the same. I try to keep it smooth. 

This game is mostly mental once the mechanics are understood. But you can in fact over think this stuff and that's where the mental game messes you up.
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by BE Mike on 11/21/2017, 7:38 am

A written shot plan should be very personal. Each of us process information differently and have different strengths. A shot plan can and should change. It is a mistake to try to lock in to someone else's shot plan or try to use someone else's technique simply because it works for THEM. Having said that, the fundamentals don't really change.
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by Wobbley on 11/21/2017, 9:23 am

The details of the process are individualized.  But the fundamentals of the process are as Cecil described.  I might quibble about the order, but that is the nature if individualizations.  In my case 

Stance. Posture is as identical as possible
Grip. grip pressure and position in the hand hasn’t changed.
Sight alignment.  Even for dots.
Area of aim.  In the black
Trigger control.
Follow through to call the shot.

Rinse and repeat.

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Re: First Shot Process

Post by mikemyers on 11/21/2017, 9:55 am

When I was a kid in school, I forgot things all the time.  I think it was my mom who made up a rhyme of what I needed to remember, something "catchy" that covered each item in a single word.

What Wobbley just posted, for me, would become:

Stance, Grip, Sight, Area, Trigger, Follow


Each word would lead to the appropriate thought, but my brain would just be thinking those six words, in order.  I'll probably write that out, and mentally "think" it every time I take a shot.  

As I did when I was young, if there is something else I'm consistently forgetting, I'll add it, but if I had to deal with a list as long as some I've read, I'd get so involved in the list that I'd forget the goal was to shoot.  :-)


Thanks for simplifying things for me.  The list I had a year ago was terrible, and too wordy.
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by Rob Kovach on 11/21/2017, 10:46 am

There is something about a WRITTEN plan that ingrains it. Written with a pen on paper.
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by Aprilian on 11/21/2017, 12:08 pm

I agree with Rob.   

I wrote a two pager when I first thought about shot process.  I had it on the wall next to me when dry firing.  That made me think about everything I would need to do to be a robot from shot to shot.   I worked with that and modified, deleted items as needed.   Then I put it away and worked from memory.   Each dry firing session, I work on something until it is in my subconscious, for example when to inhale and exhale relative to my lift.  

I now don't use the sheet on a regular basis.  These days I am working solely on the trigger pull part of my process, having the whole process printed out is distracting to me.   Squirrel!
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by Magload on 11/21/2017, 7:38 pm

I need to refine my plan.  right now it is.

Load gear in Jeep.
Drive to range.
Unload and set up on bench.
Start shooting.

Will never make master this way but I have fun.  To much attention to detail during 21.5 years in the Navy plus many more working on electronics and computer networks.  Now being retired this old man just wants to have fun.  Don
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by mikemyers on 11/21/2017, 8:19 pm

Simplified....

What Magload is doing may help make me accurate.
What Rob and others have written may help make me precise.

".....accuracy describes the difference between the measurement and the part's actual value, while precision describes the variation you see when you measure the same part repeatedly with the same device."


Everyone is different.  For my brain, getting my brain to remember to do so many things in exactly the same order every time becomes a mental "check list", and if it is too long, I get wrapped up in the details, and lose track of the objective.  If I memorize it as a short "jingle", I can make sure I'm not forgetting something, and also do it in the same order every time.


My interpretation - the purpose of all this is not to make any specific shot absolutely perfect.  Instead, it's to make every single shot identical.  


Or again (in my words), I could probably learn to shoot well with many parts of my trigger finger touching the trigger, but if I want all the shots to go into the same hole, I need to use the same exact part of my finger every time.




This may or may not be what works for others, and maybe once I get better I'll change, but I'm not competing to win an international tournament, I'm trying to get better, and if shooting stopped being enjoyable, I'd probably do something else.  I go to the range because I enjoy doing so.  For me, none of it is "drudgery".  My "goal" is I want to shoot better, and for me, that is a non-ending goal, as even when I get to what I used to think of as "better", I want more....
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by DanQ on 11/21/2017, 8:40 pm

We were taught to write a shot plan when I was training with the Marine Team I was on.  We would refer to it often, and then (without having it in front of us) write our shot plan again.  What was once multiple pages began to get shorter and shorter, as more steps became part of other steps subconsciously.  

After a 20+ year break from shooting, I'm slowly working my way back into a routine.  The more I work on my plan, the easier it becomes to recover when my mind wanders from the given task.  

I was told then, and I still tend to believe the more you think about, talk about, or write about something happening; the more you increase the likelihood of that happening.

But... each person should do what works for them, and do so consistently.  Just my two one hundredths of a dollar.  

Drive center!

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Re: First Shot Process

Post by Keyholed on 11/22/2017, 4:37 am

Mike: Dan is correct.

Especially for the shooter that can't afford, in either time or money, to shoot every day, having a written shot plan is partially about mental control--having something to fall back on under pressure--but the most important use is retaining things you learn.

Everybody forgets stuff. Not because we can't hold all that information in our heads, we just slowly stop doing certain critical things because we shoot a lot and get complacent. Then we start creeping downwards.

I just went through this exact thing. My scores over the course of a couple seasons went from 280 to 270, then to 260, and then breaking 260 was good. What the hell am I doing wrong? 20 points is a big deal to lose. I tried to be gracious in public because I shoot with a lot of guys that would be ecstatic to shoot a 250, but I was worried. I got to thinking there was something physically wrong with me, like I was sick or injured. One night, finally, I started a new string and took three miserable Slow Fire shots (6-7-7). I put the gun down, and actually took out my written shot process, like I should have done 6 months ago. Looking back, I don't think I really believed in them, as much as everyone talks about how great they are.

Lo and behold--there's a line in mine about stretching my arm and wrist, as if trying to push a 50-foot barrel through the target without leaning into it. I hadn't been doing that, my arm and shoulder were more or less sagging limp as I raised the pistol. I picked the gun back up, took the same grip and stance, straightened up, picked my head up, and started trying to poke the target with my barrel.

The next 7 SF shots were all 10s. I cleaned the first Timed string--and there'd been damn few times I'd managed to even put five consecutive shots in the black in the months prior. At that point, I got a little nervous about suddenly re-learning how to shoot. I dropped two points on the next string for a 98 TF, and couldn't get my first shots of RF off in a timely manner, so I wound up rushing and getting a 90 RF, for a 278 overall.

So from barely 260, to a clean-up 278. And I've been back to 280 ever since. If I hadn't blown the RF getting all worried about shooting good, a new personal best would have been within reach, because I got my head screwed on straight and read my shot process.

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Re: First Shot Process

Post by MSell on 11/22/2017, 6:32 am

What a great thread ! This is the first year that I wrote my shot process in my box. I started with 1)breath in 2)breath out 3)squeeze 4)follow through . After one particularly bad showing and a couple of practices I added 1) stance 2) arm tension. Now with my six step process I really believe it helps especially since I don't get to train /shoot as much as I would like

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Re: First Shot Process

Post by BE Mike on 11/22/2017, 7:43 am

Another benefit of a written shot plan is, during a match, it gives the mind something to focus upon. That may lead to less match pressure.
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by mikemyers on 11/22/2017, 8:30 am

Keyholed wrote:......but the most important use is retaining things you learn.....

Maybe three or four years ago, while shooting mostly a revolver, I wrote something out for myself, step by step.  Then I added to it. Eventually I copied it to my PC, and printed a copy in big, bold type.  I still have that crumpled up sheet.  Yes, it was helpful.

Did I look at it for every shot I took?  No.  I looked at it every so often.  As you wrote, I found things that I had "forgotten".  

I will do the full thing, "written" (by my computer, so it's legible), and also my "jingle" or whatever I call it, that I "read" in my head every time before taking a shot.  

(I also have lists of what to bring to the range, so I don't forget anything.  Lots of things I remind myself of are just "do once". I think I would feel more comfortable going through a short list of the shooting related things before every shot, but if you guys feel the longer list is preferable, I'll start with that.)

((My printed list also has info such as which way to turn the screws to adjust the sights, and so on.))

==========================================

Side thought - I never heard about your stretching exercise - maybe I'll have to try that as well.
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by Magload on 11/22/2017, 6:42 pm

The above post just reminded me I am again over looking arm tension.  I need to get my head straight and I guess I good list is the only way i am going to do it.  I just am not sticking to doing something one way.  Here are the three things that I can't even get myself to agree on.  
1. Arm tension 
     a.  Pushing the arm out from the shoulder.
     b.  Pulling the arm into the shoulder.
     c.  Just kind of firm and conformable.
2.  Bring the sight into the Black
      a.  The book way.  Lowering into black as you let out breath, but missed shot are low and the wobble is larger..
      b.  Raising the sight into the black.  I get far less wobbly this way, but missed shots are high.
3.  Grip 
      a.  Do not grip with the same strength all shots.  
      b.  I can see the dot raise and lower depending on my grip.

Yes I need a list and I need to make a effort to use it every shot.  I is just that I need to select the right stuff, a, b, or c to put on the list.  Don
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by mikemyers on 11/22/2017, 8:51 pm

Magload wrote:......I need to select the right stuff, a, b, or c to put on the list....

Don, I might be wrong once again, but my interpretation of this discussion isn't to "put the right stuff on the list", but to do the same things on the list absolutely the same way, in the same order, over and over - repetition.

As I see it, once I have that going, I can change just ONE thing on my list, and see if it helps or hurts.  Based on that, I would either change the list, or go back to what I did before.

Again, to me, it's not to improve "accuracy", but to improve "precision".  The hole might be off somewhere away from the bull, but all the following shots should go "towards" that same hole (wherever it is).  If I'm making a mistake, if I make the identical mistake every time, the holes should be grouped together within my ability to "hold" on that area.



(From previous things in my life, you don't change more than one thing at a time, as otherwise you don't know which thing you did made a difference.  I used to graph things out back when I was racing, and plot lap times.  If I changed something, the lap times might go up or down - easy to see on my graph, but difficult for me to analyze without it.)
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by Magload on 11/23/2017, 8:30 am

Mike I agree some what with what you said in the last post, but feel the list needs to start with doing it the right way to begin with.  It would be so much better to have a coach this is a hard sport to learn by the book.  I know when something is changing as my groups move.   I am at the point that I feel a good shot and know before I scope it that it was good.   If only I could make all my shots feel that way and maybe a list will do that.  It is raining cats and dogs today and the ranges are closed for turkey day.  My indoor range is closed Friday also and I don't shoot on the weekend.   My new RO gets delivered there Saturday so might not be able to wait till Monday to get it.  So I got 4 days to work on the list and check it with my AP on the back porch.  Don
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by mikemyers on 11/23/2017, 11:02 am

Magload wrote:......the list needs to start with doing it the right way to begin with.....

That's why I wrote what I did when I started the discussion:

So, my question here is for some of you who are quite talented nowadays, what was the "shot process" that you first started with, once you realized it was a useful tool?


If they got to where they're as good as they are now, it couldn't be such a bad idea to start out with their early shot process.  


--------------------------

I've given up on ever finding "the right way to begin with", as if that were possible, it would be posted all over and we would all copy and use it.  It's got to be something that is eventually the right thing for each particular shooter.  If I accept that, and if I'm now accepting so many things said here by people who know so much more than I do, what would be the harm of starting off with what some of our excellent shooters did?


How about if several of you respond to this thread, by clicking on the "code" icon in the header, and paste in your early or current shot process?
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Re: First Shot Process

Post by Keyholed on 11/26/2017, 3:56 am

Because shot process is somewhat personal.

Take that arm-stretching thing that works for me (and apparently a few others). There are just as many people that would say that that's horrible and doesn't work for them.

Or looking at the dot compared to looking at the target--people just can't seem to agree, even at the top of the heap.

Stance--people shoot exceedingly well from 0 degrees to 90-degrees to the firing line. Some people obsess over the positioning of their feet, to the point of "marking" their foot position by powdering the floor. Others don't care.

Cant--some insist on holding perfectly level. Others cant their pistols slightly ("throwing a punch" compared to "squeezing a throat").

If it were possible to write down how exactly to shoot 10s--guys would do it! But there isn't. Everybody is a little different, and what works for one may not work for another.

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