November is upon us and as a USPSA Shooter in Pennsylvania that means one thing, another shooting season is in the books. I spent a fair amount of time this year tracking my matches, which means that I have a lot of useful data to look over.
USPSA Goals need to be assessed, new goals need to be created for the 2013 USPSA Season, and adjustments need to be made to ease the burden on my wallet. The time spent collecting data makes these final steps fairly simple.
2012 USPSA Season Goals
I began shooting USPSA in the middle of the 2011 season and shot a grand total of four matches. I had a great time and was eager to plan for the 2012 Season. Unfortunately, having so little experience to go on made setting goals a little tough. I picked out a handful of things that I felt were under my control and set out to meet them.
I was a little disappointed to learn that I met very few of my overall goals. Despite my disappointment, I think I did well for my first full season of USPSA.
Climb from a “C” to “B” Class in Production Division
When I began shooting USPSA in 2011, my one and only goal was to become classified in Production Division. Being new to the sport I expected to land somewhere in D class. Despite it being the lowest class, I felt that my skill level fell somewhere below the 40% mark. When I shot the 2011 Classifier Match at York IWLA, I was thrilled to see that I landed in C Class.
With my spirits high, I set out for B class in 2012. If I could start in C Class after so few matches, I felt it was very doable to climb a single class in the time of a full season. Unfortunately, I missed the mark. I struggled with making B all year and because I was so close to 60%, I think I may have pushed too hard during the classifier stages. This caused me to shoot faster than I was capable of and caused me to actually go backwards at the end of the season. I went from a high of 57.27% down to 55.72% due to a unacceptable misses and poor hits on target.
Maintain an Accuracy of 90% – Average throughout the Season
To prevent falling into the trap of shooting too fast, I set a goal to shoot at least 90% of the available points per stage. This put me in an odd situation that I struggled with. When I shot better than 90%, my time suffered and I fell in the rankings. When I shot under 90%, my time was good enough to propel me forward in the rankings.
Even though I did well in terms of match rankings, I fell short of my goal. I managed to average 86% over the season. While this has worked for me at local matches, it simply won’t cut it at larger matches. I need to shoot more accurately going forward. 90% was an achievable goal and I got side-tracked my seeing my name at the top of the Class Rankings each month.
Average less than 1 Penalty / Procedural per Match
Tagging No-Shoot Targets was a problem that plagued me last year. I never did track how many I shot but the number was substantial enough that at the end of the season it stood out as something that needed a lot of attention.
This was one of the few goals that I not only met, I crushed it. In over 1,700 shots fired, I struck a single penalty target. My only other penalty on the season was a Failure to Engage a target that I ran past.
If I were to incorporate a Miss as a penalty (which makes sense), things aren’t as good. I came away with 23 on the season, accounting for roughly 1% of my shots fired.
Average less than 2 D’s per match
Another issue that stood out to me after the 2011 USPSA Season was a struggle with the second shot. Too often the scores were called out at Alpha – Delta or Charlie – Delta. I felt that I needed to slow down a little to significantly reduce my number of D Zone Hits.
My shots have improved significantly but I fell short of my goal. I finished the season averaging 3 D’s per match. The total came in at 40 which accounts for roughly 2% of my shots
Average higher than 50% in the Class Rankings
This was the one goal which I knew would be a bad idea. Ranking is a factor which is out of my control. After all, I don’t have a say in who shows up to shoot. Some matches the competition may be light and my ranking will soar (a great example of this was when I won my Division while the top shooters were away at a major match). Then the opposite could happen and big names could show up to shoot, resulting in my rank falling.
Even with this goal having problems, I pressed on with it anyhow. Averaging out the matches that I shot, there were roughly 25 shooters in Production Division (Classifications varied). I had an average place of 7.77 which comes in around the 70% mark, exceeding my goal of 50%.
Volunteer my time to help a local club
USPSA is a volunteer sport. Without help setting up each match, then breaking down at the end of the day, these matches simply wouldn’t happen. One USPSA Club in the area was lost due to a lack of volunteer help. In an effort to help the two remaining semi-close clubs to thrive, I made a serious effort to get out early and lend a hand.
At the two clubs I shoot, I missed one setup at Southern Chester (My car broke down on the way) and I helped with four setups at Lower Providence Rod and Gun Club. I hope to spend just as much time, if not a little more, volunteering at both clubs next year.
By The Numbers
As you’ll see from looking over my USPSA Season Stats Spreadsheet, some of the numbers don’t add up with what I’ve noted above. I shot my final match of the season on November 17th and those scores have not ben reported as of this writing.
The York IWLA Match (First one on the spreadsheet) was never reported to USPSA, so I was unable to lookup the details for tracking.