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Getting off a plateau

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DA/SA
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Getting off a plateau Empty Getting off a plateau

Post by bobbethune 2/23/2020, 8:33 am

I’m stuck on a plateau after about a year and a half of pretty steady practice and weekly competition. I shoot between 75% and 80%, which is way up from when I started, but I’ve stopped improving. I’d welcome ideas for how to get moving again..

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Post by Spurls 2/23/2020, 8:47 am

I can remember hitting a similar plateau. For me, it was time where I needed to focus on refining my shot process and slow fire. What helped was learning to call shots. I’d shoot a slow fire target, without a spotting scope, and draw a dot  on another target where I thought each shot went. Then compare my drawn target to the shot one. Where are most points left on the table for you? SF, T, R?

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Getting off a plateau Empty concentrate on the basics...........

Post by CrankyThunder 2/23/2020, 8:57 am

focus on the five fundamentals

the three basics.....
Breath
Stance 
Grip

and the two heavies

Sight picture
Trigger pull


do you know what you need to concentrate for each of the five? what the goal is for each one individually?

Grab the USMC pistol shooters workbook and they have a good rundown for each of the five and practice each one separately and with that particular goal in mind.  

And do at least a thousand dry fires each day.  


If you are still stuck, I would recommend that you get a personal trainer or pay for a class.  If you are remote in location, find a internet buddy who is willing to work with you. 

Where are you located anyways. 

Regards, 
Crankster
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Post by bobbethune 2/23/2020, 5:13 pm

Would the USMC workbook be the one found here: http://www.ssppl.org/PDFs/USMCPistolTeamWorkbook.pdf?

Slow fire is where I’m having somewhat more difficulty improving. When I break 80% on a single target. it’s usually not in slow fire.

I do have limitations due to arthritis in the number of times I can lift a pistol on any given day.

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Post by CrankyThunder 2/23/2020, 9:14 pm

that will be the one!  

the first part of the book deals with the five fundamentals.  it is a little  bit lean on the good stuff, but you have to remember that it was designed to be a tool for a teacher or instructor and not a stand alone teach yourself type of book.  Get the five fundamentals down and practice them.  When you have a problem, I always come back to the fundamentals.  

Regards, 
Crankster
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Post by SteveT 2/24/2020, 1:06 pm

Not enough information to make a recommendation. Hitting a plateau means you can't just shoot more to get better. It's time to start training rather than just practicing.

Practice means going through the motions of a match. this is necessary for new shooters to develop a process and get familiar with the rhythm of a match. It is less valuable as the shooter progresses.

Training starts with a goal for than session, either process related (e.g. "smoothly pull the trigger" or "abort for any outside thoughts") or a drill intended to improve the shooter's process (e.g. "Progression" or "Consecutive shots").

Training develop skills and habits faster by focusing on that specific skill. It is much more effective than just shooting match courses. For example, if your problem is getting the first shot off in Rapid fire then shooting a SF and TF target first means you only practice the skill twice in 30 shots and 10-20 minutes. Instead, you should do 1 shot and 2 shot drills and perform the skill 15-30 times in 30 shots and 10 minutes.

It is better to focus on what works and what is good, but it is time to analyze where you need improvement and turn that into a positive.

  • Are you losing more points in slow fire or sustained?
  • If sustained: timed fire or rapid?
  • If slow: do you shoot a good group with a few flyers? or a large group?
  • Is the group round or is there a direction (horizontal, vertical, lower left etc)
  • Is it usually first shot, middle shot(s) or last shot?
  • Is it physical (grip shifting) or mental (focus/thought shifting)?
  • Is it gun related? e.g. first shot from magazine #3
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Post by bobbethune 2/24/2020, 9:13 pm

Crankythunder: as for where I’m located, it turns out I was in the lane to your right at this evening’s match and I scored your targets. Tony H. let me know as I was leaving. Small world! See you next week.

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Post by radjag 2/24/2020, 9:40 pm

I guess that the problem with my plateau's is that they undulate! 

I regularly under-perform at matches, but the apparent problems seem to change from match to match, practise session to practise session. Very frustrating. I often shoot much tighter sustained fire groups than slow fire. Trying too hard to be perfect in SF, obviously. So, a while ago I was putting too many SF shots in the 7 and 8 ring. My mentor told me I should quit practising 2700's and just concentrate on SF. Did that and my SF groups got tighter. Excellent. But now I'm often throwing usually just one SF shot into the white - Aaaarrrrgggghhh...... 

Training vs Practising. Very good advice from SteveT.

OK. So tomorrow my target is to keep everything in the black. Do one shot drills so that I can consistently get that first TF/RF shot off smoothly. I will perfect it all on the coming few days. Then I'll forget it all at the match on the weekend . Aaaarrrggghhh.....

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Post by Vociferous 2/25/2020, 5:24 am

Just keep shooting.  Lose yourself in the work.
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Post by Ed Hall 2/25/2020, 10:00 am

Several comments:

- A plateau often signals that you have reached the limit of your current process.  You have to change something.  That something might be something you're really attached to.

- If you "know" that you regularly shoot in the white, you will regularly shoot in the white.  This is especially true if you're always joking about it, which brings it into your thought process.  (This might be something you're attached to.)

- Avoid getting into the competition for who had the worst session/target/shot:  "You think that's bad, I. . ."  A lot of this goes on during lunch, but don't look for it to prove me right (or wrong).  If you see it going on, either interrupt it or move away.

- Focus on how many tens/x's rather than an errant "white shot."

- Learn how to shoot good shots and focus on that process instead of trying to find out why you don't.

- Practice has its place.  Practice what works.

- A positive attitude will take you to higher levels.

You might also consider my "Progressive Drill" for some of your training sessions.  Although it focuses more on sustained fire, if you approach your slow fire with the same process, you might find improvement there, as well. If you develop a process that works well for the first shot of sustained fire, why not use that process for every shot for slow fire?

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Post by DA/SA 2/25/2020, 10:29 am

Something I recently realized after reading one of Ed Hall's comments in a different thread.

I wanted to check my zero one morning so I benched my Marvel (Ultradot) and it shot ten rounds practically on top of each other right on the X. Once done with that I went on with normal shooting and shot lots of X's. Didn't think much of it. I haven't really shot .45 for Bullseye, but bought a Range Officer (iron sights) to tinker with. I benched it one morning and it was X ring effortlessly. I went on to shoot another 20 rounds normally and shot the 10 ring out. I was surprised, but didn't think much more about it. 

Mike Myers recently shot a very nice target that Ed and I both commented on about looking at that target prior to shooting or dry firing. Ed reflected on an occasion where he was observing someone else's target with a perfectly centered X ring shot on it and Ed'e next shot duplicated that target. That got me thinking...

Driving home the other night I recalled seeing something that Brian Enos had written stating that EVERY range session for him began with shooting a few groups from a rest, but never really stated why.

My hypothesis after mulling this all over, is that by doing so (bench rest) you imprint your mind to see perfect shots and feel good trigger control at the beginning of the practice/training session.

Perhaps I'm nuts, but I'm seeing a pattern here.
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Post by rburk 2/25/2020, 9:57 pm

I agree with the pattern you are seeing, DA/SA.  I went to the indoor range to practice last night, it was packed.  One lane was open, I took it.  Problem was the target machine was broken and the target would only go out about 25 feet or so on this lane.  I decided to shoot anyway, since I was trying some new loads and wanted to test them for function in my 1911.

At 25 feet, I wasn't worried about aiming, I just started shooting and paying attention to my trigger, grip and stance.  After about 10 SF shots, I had a ragged hole in the middle of the target.

Another lane opened up and I moved to it, set the target at 50 feet.  I had a pretty decent practice session from then on.

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Post by James Hensler 2/26/2020, 8:11 pm

Man I feel your pain! I have been stuck on 868 on all 3 calibers myself! I am testing and refining and trying to make sure my feet and natural point of aim are the same
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Post by CO1Mtn 2/26/2020, 10:02 pm

Bob, that is the same thing that happened to me. My first hardball match, I scored a 99/300. I shot 1800s with my 9 mm pistol and my .22 conversion kit for 12 months. I never got above the minimum cutoff score (250/300) for winning a hardball match. I was always getting around 210 to 230.

Then I got deployed and was overseas for a year. I didn't have any access to firearms since I wasn't in a combat role. I did a lot of weightlifting on the deployment. A lot of pull-ups. Nothing else to do there. I also practiced the single arm front raise with my right hand. I used a 5-lb dumbbell and brought it from my waist to being out in front, just like raising a bullseye pistol from the table to firing position. I also practiced holding it out in front of me, static, held it there for a minute or two minutes. Did that every day for a year. There was nothing else to do on the deployment since we were all on total base restriction (abysmally boring). Basically I practiced holding in this position in front of a mirror at the gym in this bodybuilder website link -- front hold  and pretended it was a pistol I was holding up, try to keep it as still as possible. That does a lot to strengthen your muscle control. Great for slow fire.

After deployment, somehow things just started to click. I scored a 261 in the first match after I got back (seemed like a miracle). Then I started getting in the 90s in slow fire. I could hardly believe it, never would have thought I'd be winning. I think the key is to just stick with it. I think if I can do it, anyone can. I think the advice that the others have offered is good, but I also think time is going to fix it, if you stick with it. You may not start to win anything until the end of your second year of bullseye. But if you get a bronze achievement pin, nail it down to the inside of your shooting box and start a collection, and then eventually you start getting the silver ones, then the gold ones.

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Post by john bickar 2/27/2020, 12:06 am

Ed Hall wrote:Several comments:

- A plateau often signals that you have reached the limit of your current process.  You have to change something.  That something might be something you're really attached to.

- If you "know" that you regularly shoot in the white, you will regularly shoot in the white.  This is especially true if you're always joking about it, which brings it into your thought process.  (This might be something you're attached to.)

- Avoid getting into the competition for who had the worst session/target/shot:  "You think that's bad, I. . ."  A lot of this goes on during lunch, but don't look for it to prove me right (or wrong).  If you see it going on, either interrupt it or move away.

- Focus on how many tens/x's rather than an errant "white shot."

- Learn how to shoot good shots and focus on that process instead of trying to find out why you don't.

- Practice has its place.  Practice what works.

- A positive attitude will take you to higher levels.

You might also consider my "Progressive Drill" for some of your training sessions.  Although it focuses more on sustained fire, if you approach your slow fire with the same process, you might find improvement there, as well. If you develop a process that works well for the first shot of sustained fire, why not use that process for every shot for slow fire?

Lots of good advice here.
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Post by bobbethune 3/7/2020, 1:44 pm

Thanks for all the great suggestions and information here! Just to add one more bit, I think I've found out that one of the best ways to improve is to write a post here asking for ways to improve. I shot better before I'd even seen a reply!  Smile

But seriously, I am definitely mulling over and playing with all these ideas. Thanks!

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Post by Guest 3/8/2020, 6:42 pm

Try these three things...

Dry Fire, dry fire, dry fire

Guest
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