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Thread: IDPA jitters

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    Senior Member Sporadic's Avatar
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    IDPA jitters

    I had not shoot any competitive shoots for over a year but began practicing 3 times a week after I had an Apex competitive trigger installed in my M&P Pro 5 inch. I was getting fairly consistent at hitting a target size of the Zero-down area of an IDPA target at 20 yds.

    Last week I participated in 2 IDPA shoots at the local club and did not do very well ... sometimes missing the entire target at about the 20 yard range. During the 2nd shoot I decided to check my pulse via my Apple watch. While waiting to shoot my first stage my pulse was 71 ... when the tell me I am "on deck" my pulse goes to 125. When the tell me I am "in the hole" my pulse goes to 130. For the rest of the day my pulse would not drop below 126. I am thinking my inability to relax contributes to my poor shooting.

    The scary thing ... this is just an IDPA match ... how would I react in a "real" situation.

    (My practice range is indoors and air-conditioned. Maybe I should wait until fall for the next IDPA match.)
    You had me at Death Ray.

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    Unrepentant chocoholic ShooterGranny's Avatar
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    When I was shooting the competitions with the guys at our club every week I found that if I did about 5 minutes of Tai Chi warm up exercises before my turn to shoot I did very well. No Tai Chi, not so well.

    You need to find calming exercises that include mental focus and breathing control. Then you'll be OK. IMHO
    If you think changes need to be made - get out and DO SOMETHING positive!

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    Senior Member Wunderneun's Avatar
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    I think shooting while everyone is watching you and can be somewhat critical or often offer suggestions is what has you nervous. Not the actual shooting itself.
    "I need your clothes, your boots und your motocycle..." Don't think it won't happen, it's practically here.
    I like all kinds of foreign guns,

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    Senior Member Rabbit212's Avatar
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    I would think that in a "real" situation you wont have time to worry about your pulse rate. All the real situations I have ever been in or witnessed were very fast and most came with very little warning ahead of time. I think you were suffering the old book report in front of the class thing.

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    Asst. Administrator DogWalksWithMe's Avatar
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    If it was real, your pulse would likely spike around 160. But there would really be no warning, so you might actually hit your target.

    Then you'll throw up.

    ETA: I've been shooting Steel Challenge for the last year. And a few other competitions. Some competitions I use my EDC but in no way do I think the BEEP simulates a real event.

    Work on relaxing and enjoying the competition, and don't compare to other's times or accuracy. Focus on improving your time and accuracy. And have fun. You will improve!
    If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

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    Senior Member Sporadic's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great comments and advice. I am not practicing at all this week ... just relaxing.
    You had me at Death Ray.

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    Asst. Administrator ccw9mm's Avatar
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    One of the little aphorisms folks say regarding marksmanship, competitions and other "exacting" activities of this sort is: slow is fast. Or, from the Latin, festina lente ... or make haste slowly.

    Consider ripping it up on a bicycle obstacle course, or a snow skiing race course. If you simply blow right through it, you'll likely foul up and miss a gate/cone. Same with, say, driving a car fast through a tough, twisty mountain road or on a track. Or with something like carpentry. Do such things like this too fast, and you make mistakes, have to go back and correct those before doing it properly. Same can be true of marksmanship.

    Point being, if you can focus on just going through things relatively slowly, as though there is zero risk, threat or challenge, you'll likely do better. Sure, such competitions are judged partly on the overall time consumed on the course. No way around that. But doing the stage in a "slow is fast" manner, you can instead remain focused on getting the job done, instead of on the "fast" part. Speed will come, but only once you're accurate and competent enough to get all of it done without over-stressed wasted motions and mistakes. Gradually, once you're able to be accurate and effective at a much slower pace, you'll find you can start pumping up the volume as you improve.

    In your case, it might not be outright marksmanship, but rather physiology control (the "shakes", pulse and whatnot). Go slow, to go fast. Just focus on the task being done, not how rapidly you're pressured to go. The time will take care of itself. So, don't worry about it. Just go through the motions ... slowly and deliberately, in a way that keeps you calm and focused on the actual positioning and aiming and firing skills you're putting into practice. No rush. No worries. No pressure. Just get it right, and in time you'll be able to speed up the process by eliminating the extraneous, thinking faster, moving faster, etc.

    My $ 0.02.
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    The first time I ever competed I was more confused than nervous since I never shot while walking sideways.

    I just focused upon shooting. After that, I just became more focused upon the front sight and thinking of nothing else.

    I have my own range in the backyard now. It has 2 plate racks (4 and 6 gongs), 6 IDPA stands, Dueling trees x 2, Texas Star, swinging IDPA stand, a 2/3 IDPA AR500 plate, 12 inch plate, and a rubber dummy.

    When I practice, its always using a timer, doing a few different drills.

    I just compete like I practice. I have added moving while shooting to my repertoire.

    Its fun to compete and I get excited.

    Ive only done a few so far, but I just try to do better than I did before.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    When I was shooting competition my goal was (and still is) to shoot 80%. if I shot all "A" zone or 0 points down, I wasn't shooting fast enough. Below 80% I was shooting too fast.

    In both competition and in life, you can't miss fast enough to win.

    Then again, I don't let pursuit of perfection keep me from doing well enough to accomplish my purpose.

    John W in SC

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    Senior Member Saxdm9's Avatar
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    I like the 80% idea. When I’m scoring folks who shoot 1 or 2 down I joke with them they shot too slowly. So somewhere between 80 and 95% would work for me. Nice goal.

    Otherwise, common knowledge in the league is that the plan often falls apart when the buzzer goes off. As I shoot more events the start signal becomes slightly less “exciting”. On the first stage two weeks ago, the stage intended to help us get our jitters out, I had a plan. I talked it with a friend, trying to affirm it and lock it in. The buzzer went off and I forgot the plan on that really simple stage. Only on the first stage, but still . . . Jitters ruled despite my best intentions.
    Regards, Sax
    G27 G19 G17
    IDPA A158430

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    Senior Member Maxwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wunderneun View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I think shooting while everyone is watching you and can be somewhat critical or often offer suggestions is what has you nervous. Not the actual shooting itself.
    I would also consider this as a possibility. A type of stage fright similar to what hits me every time I go on stage (business and trade shows, not entertainment but there have been some doozies!), until I remember that I have done this many times before and I can do it again. FYI the jitters still hit me every time while I'm waiting to walk on.

    Bottom line: Relax and remember that if you can do it in practice you can do it "on stage" just as well. No one's opinion matters but your own, and occasionally even that's questionable!
    I never let schooling interfere with my education.
    Mark Twain

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    Senior Member RightsEroding's Avatar
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    Don't be so hard on yourself...

    ...now you know why LE in a real shoot scenario miss more than they hit!

    There are as many ways to overcome the jitters, heart rate etc as there are humans.

    Anyone can offer the sage advice to "relax" I won't.

    Only YOU know who YOU are, what excites you, scares you, makes you happy.

    Shooting in a cascading adrenaline dump is not easy for anyone. Period.

    Most of us here can shoot with decent accuracy; that is not the issue.

    The issue boils down to the ability to switch off certain emotions and channel certain ones.

    Fight or flight WILL and always does come into play when we are confronted with a situation that threatens our self preservation.

    As "normal" adjusted individuals, none of us want to take a life. We are more than content to leave the pistol in the holster for the rest of our lives as we walk around in life.
    This ^^^ alone interferes with fight or flight.


    Not knowing you; the ONLY piece of advice when shooting range combat, be it IDPA or whatever, is visualization before you shoot.
    Convince yourself the targets are threats, not just targets, threats. Convince yourself, if you do not score hits, you WILL be injured.
    The term Visualization can be interchanged with the word focus.
    "A covenant not to defend myself from force, by force, is always void"...Thomas Hobbes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sporadic View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I had not shoot any competitive shoots for over a year but began practicing 3 times a week after I had an Apex competitive trigger installed in my M&P Pro 5 inch. I was getting fairly consistent at hitting a target size of the Zero-down area of an IDPA target at 20 yds.

    Last week I participated in 2 IDPA shoots at the local club and did not do very well ... sometimes missing the entire target at about the 20 yard range. During the 2nd shoot I decided to check my pulse via my Apple watch. While waiting to shoot my first stage my pulse was 71 ... when the tell me I am "on deck" my pulse goes to 125. When the tell me I am "in the hole" my pulse goes to 130. For the rest of the day my pulse would not drop below 126. I am thinking my inability to relax contributes to my poor shooting.

    The scary thing ... this is just an IDPA match ... how would I react in a "real" situation.

    (My practice range is indoors and air-conditioned. Maybe I should wait until fall for the next IDPA match.)
    I just started competing but I feel confident of my abilities with the gun I use.

    One of the things that I do is review what stages are like in competition. Then I set up my targets in my backyard, using a timer.

    So what I try to do is reproduce every bit of the competition apart from an audience.

    I have 6 IDPA target stands. I also have a swinger Target, two dueling trees and a Texas Star. The more I work with timing myself I give myself an honest assessment of how I should do.

    Before a stage I look at the scenarios and I mentally rehearse how I would do it.

    In time it becomes second nature.

    For the place I have competed though, the top shooters are using 1911s, 2011s, Glock 34 and CZ 75/85 variants. Ive just been using a stock Glock 19. I want to finish the season with the 19 and Id love to break into the top 10.

    I have only placed as high as 13 so far, but I just acquired a few CZ pistols to even the field a bit for next year.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    Senior Member Ghost1958's Avatar
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    IDPA is,like reading before class. Your getting stage fright.
    Nothing in the same universe as a,real life deadly force encounter.

    That said . Not everyone reacts to real life situations with " tunnel vision" and adrenaline dumps.
    Some do, and fall apart. Some get extremely calm calculating and dangerous.

    The natural response of an individual can't be trained out of him. And you won't know how you'll react until actually put in that situation.

    The individual who by nature falls apart has to change their own mindset. And that usually requires surviving a violent attack.
    Odd how most folks who say they support the Constitution as written ,,,,,,,,,,,,really don't.

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