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Shooting Journal Content for a Beginner

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CR10X
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Post by Stork 3/17/2019, 5:36 pm

Still new to this and since the usmc workbook has TONS of space for notes, that makes me think I need to write more.

In regards to my journal, I have my shot process documented in detail. Other than that, I only record my daily training plan, goals, how each drill and or group went, and what I need to focus on to improve the next group. I don't record score, range info, or gun/load. The gun/load and range isn't changing, and score is of no interest while training. I don't record league nights as I use them to keep things fun. Occasionally I record a flyer, what went wrong, and how to prevent it.

That brings up one of my issues. Its REALLY easy to record what went wrong on a 6, but recording a 10 or an x is far harder. I know I'm supposed to focus on the good, record it, and then repeat until that's the norm, but... I'm not really sure what to record. I think part of that is my ability to call a 10 vs 9 vs 8. Still working on that aspect.

So I guess my question is, how much and what should a beginner be recording? 


I know the content of the journal will change with experience, but I have almost none of that at this point.

Stork

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Post by Aprilian 3/18/2019, 5:28 am

If you have a training plan, record how that worked out.   Better?  Worse?  If no thoughts about the plan, was it really a training plan or was it a list of tasks to complete?

Any Ah Ha moments?

Gun maintenance needs?

Instead of recording what went wrong with the 6, put it in the context of "9 shots 9 or better with good focus on process".

Also try to finish when you have a good string of fire.   Then it will be easier to record the positives.

best of luck.
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Post by CR10X 3/18/2019, 5:39 am

Its REALLY easy to record what went wrong on a 6, but recording a 10 or an x is far harder. 

Do not record anything about a 6.  Even if you called it there, simply congratulate yourself you called it correctly.

Record everything you can (in the beginning) about shooting an X or 10.  Make little pictures of how the wobble looked up to the point of the shot.  Track how far off your calls were from the actual shot. Did you have complete focus on the dot (sight or target, whatever your process is.)  Did you see the dot or sight get slightly larger as you focused completely, with the target kinda fading and just being in the background?  Trigger process - did it start just above the black or below (if you are coming down or up to the center) or did you wait for another spot in the wobble pattern?

Who was with you scoring at the match?  Did you talk to any Masters or High Masters, what questions did you ask?  What questions did you hear?  What positive comments or suggestions (never listen to complaints) did you hear? 

It only takes a millisecond to actually fire a great shot at a match, so don't get lost in the details, but do spend some training time thinking and reviewing what went right for you.  (Don't get lost like on another thread here asking someone else how you should feel or operate the trigger.  You will know from the X's and 10's you shoot.)

Anyway, I hope you see the point that trying to remember the little details generally produces more focus on the process and the environment, leading to more awareness of the process and environment, which leads to learning the best process for you.  Then everything else can just fade away as you perform your shot. 

CR

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Post by dronning 3/18/2019, 7:57 am

CR10X wrote:
Its REALLY easy to record what went wrong on a 6, but recording a 10 or an x is far harder. 

Do not record anything about a 6.  Even if you called it there, simply congratulate yourself you called it correctly.

Record everything you can (in the beginning) about shooting an X or 10.  Make little pictures of how the wobble looked up to the point of the shot.  Track how far off your calls were from the actual shot. Did you have complete focus on the dot (sight or target, whatever your process is.)  Did you see the dot or sight get slightly larger as you focused completely, with the target kinda fading and just being in the background?  Trigger process - did it start just above the black or below (if you are coming down or up to the center) or did you wait for another spot in the wobble pattern?

Who was with you scoring at the match?  Did you talk to any Masters or High Masters, what questions did you ask?  What questions did you hear?  What positive comments or suggestions (never listen to complaints) did you hear? 

It only takes a millisecond to actually fire a great shot at a match, so don't get lost in the details, but do spend some training time thinking and reviewing what went right for you.  (Don't get lost like on another thread here asking someone else how you should feel or operate the trigger.  You will know from the X's and 10's you shoot.)

Anyway, I hope you see the point that trying to remember the little details generally produces more focus on the process and the environment, leading to more awareness of the process and environment, which leads to learning the best process for you.  Then everything else can just fade away as you perform your shot. 

CR
++++1
Lanny Bassham insists you call it a Performance Journal, and you only record/focus on the Performance you want to repeat.  The better your performance the more you should write about it & what you learned.  

Sometimes you do need to dig a little deeper because your "improved focus today" might have been due to things like what you ate for breakfast or supper the night before, when you went to bed, when you got up,....
- Dave
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Post by Stork 3/19/2019, 12:46 am

So tonight I shot my personal best and I attribute some of that to the responses here. I really tried to focus on what went right when I knew the shot was good. That immediately led to me aborting more shots. I wanted to be sure I remembered exactly what I did for a good shot rather than just shooting and pointing out the bad. Somehow it worked out. My journal has way more info in it after tonight, but it's going to take a few more range trips to get used to thinking about all of the details and writing them down. I also need to dry fire more while focusing on the finer details. Not worrying about the bad was tough, but I see the point after I wrote stuff down.

Thanks

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Post by john bickar 3/19/2019, 10:14 pm

I think it's great that you are asking what to put in your shooting journal this early. I wish I had been so prescient.

Everything. Write everything down. Focus on the positive (as Cecil has indicated).

But write down as much as you can. As you progress, you'll narrow the funnel down to the things that work for you. But it makes it a lot easier to narrow down on those things if you have them in your journal.

You're at the wide mouth of the funnel right now, and unless you have a full-time coach, the only person who is going to record these details is you.
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Post by john bickar 3/19/2019, 10:34 pm

Also, for a little bit of level-setting, I'd suggest the following metrics. You asked this question on a bullseye forum, and have received replies from several High Masters.

That level may or may not be your goal. I honestly don't care if you ever even reach Sharpshooter level; I'm glad you're participating.

Ask yourself, did I:

- show up?
- be safe?
- have fun?
- encourage others?
- help with the logistics of the match, e.g., setup, cleanup, stats, etc.?

If you do those things, I'd be proud to shoot with you any time.

I run a fair number of matches, and if I could have 25 shooters check the "show up" and "be safe" boxes, that's a big win in my book.
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Post by Stork 3/20/2019, 12:18 am

Tonight I took notes on dry firing. First time doing that and I did things a bit different knowing I wanted to write about it. I'm convinced my random 5 and 6's are due to grip & trigger finger placement issues. Focus on the front sight, sight picture, and sight alignment are probably not causing those given I regularly shoot low - mid 90's in TF/RF. Anyway, think I have a good solution, so I wrote everything down. I didn't write anything about what I was doing wrong or why I was changing things. That feels odd still. 

That brings up a question though. How will I  know what I was fixing if I go back and read these notes?

Let's say I'm struggling with a .45 (when I finally buy one) and am hoping the solution is in my journal. Without remembering my struggle with unconsciously loosening my grip over a SF string, I feel like the notes about my grip from tonight won't be of much help. What am I missing?

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Post by CR10X 3/20/2019, 9:33 am

Eventually those correct things are part of the process.  So when you get to the "grip" portion of your process (pre shot) you will "remember" to create a firm, even and consistent grip to be maintained throughout the shot process.  Sometimes you may need a "key word" for the actual trigger / holding portion of the shot process.  Some people use "Smooth", "Center Press", or whatever.  

Again, even when you are struggling with issues, now or in the future, you are still only going to find the solution in recreating the good shot.  So, it's really not important what went wrong, its still about creating (re-creating) what worked best for you. 

I know this sounds a little strange, but just keep thinking on the positive side. 

Almost forgot the most important thing about a Journal.  Don't worry about how its written, or how bad the pictures, grammar, or whatever is, the journal is your own personal property.  No one else is going to read it.  

CR

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Post by bruce martindale 3/20/2019, 9:19 pm

Write down your shot process, all of the little details....it's easy to forget what worked and skip a step.

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Post by Stork 3/20/2019, 10:55 pm

john bickar wrote:You asked this question on a bullseye forum, and have received replies from several High Masters.

That level may or may not be your goal. I honestly don't care if you ever even reach Sharpshooter level; I'm glad you're participating.

Ask yourself, did I:

- show up?
- be safe?
- have fun?
- encourage others?
- help with the logistics of the match, e.g., setup, cleanup, stats, etc.?

As someone who regularly jumps into things head first, this really motivates me to shoot a real match and not just weekly league. I've learned over years of motorcycle racing that just participating and getting involved will bring far more enjoyment than simply training and trying to do well. Training alone isn't very helpful compared to someone teaching in person. That and when I hit a plateau, the camaraderie will make the frustration acceptable.

Stork

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Post by Ed Hall 3/23/2019, 12:10 pm

Just a couple things to add/share a little different opinion:

Writing everything positive down is important, but just as important, is reviewing what you have written.  However, this comes with a caveat.  As you progress, you will leave behind some things, replacing them with newer understanding.  Be sure that when you review early entries that you also review anything that may be newer.

The only time I ever suggest writing down a negative, is if you have made it persistent by thoughts/statements like, "I always..."  In this case, I do sometimes suggest a mental exercise in which you write the issue down, then tear the page out, crumble it up and throw it away.

And, just to support what John wrote, be honest with yourself.  If you want to reach higher classes, it will take some effort.  But, if you are happy where you are, that is just as fine.  There are many shooters who would like to do better, but in reality are quite content with showing up to a league once a week to fire 30 rounds and socialize.

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Post by Stork 3/23/2019, 3:22 pm

As for goals, I'm planning on shooting my first real match in a few weeks and my goal is a 1620. It's a little bit unrealistic given that my league average is mid 260's and personal best is a 270. If I shoot above a 1590 I'll be happy. I've been working out and dry firing more than in hopes of improving my physical conditioning. I have a lingering shoulder injury that isn't an issue during league, but may rear it's head during an 1800. Hoping I can train enough that it won't be an issue till the following day. Seems like my hold is a little steadier too, but we'll see how it it by the end of that match.

As for the journal, writing about dry fire has been very enlightening. There's no score, no pressure, no nothing to distract me from observing my technique. I'm reading the inner game of tennis and that has been surprisingly helpful at teaching me to step back and just observe what I'm doing rather than being judgemental about it. That then makes writing the good in the journal much easier as I just write about what I was doing when everything was working well. It's also helped me observe the bad without worrying about it so much. Granted that's easy during dry fire.

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