Last year I set a goal for myself. Before the 2012 season came to a close, I wanted to make USPSA Production Division B Class. I came close to reaching that goal but ultimately failed. I am convinced that the problem wasn’t that I lacked the skill, instead I think it was an issue with focus. Instead of seeing the whole picture, I was intensely focused on the immediate result.
Last year I had an incredible problem with classifiers. I was very competitive within Production Division C Class but the moment I stepped up to a classifier, there was trouble. The problem was a weak mental game and was a result of pressure.
As the end of the 2012 USPSA grew near, I felt more and more pressure to score high enough on a classifier to push me into B Class. I was hovering about 3% shy of my goal and thought that if I could just crush one classifier I would be set.
I was trying to force it and it wound up hurting me in the end. Because I was shooting faster than my ability allowed, problems would arise. I would throw a shot here, botch a reload there, lose track of my front sight during the press out. You know, all of those stupid little things that come about when trying too hard.
When one of those issues popped up, the problems compounded. While I wasted precious time correcting an issue, it felt like I was taking two to three times longer than it actually did. This only caused me to go faster to make up for the first problem. If going too fast caused the problem in the first place, what do you think happened next? Thats right, one stupid little mistake after another.
Towards the end of the 2012 USPSA Season I actually began to slide backwards. I went from just 3% shy of reaching my goal to around 6%.
Owning my Problem
When the 2012 USPSA Season ended, I was bummed that I didn’t make B Class. In the offseason I would need to make some changes if I wanted to reach the same goal in 2013. The allure of a quick fix, shooting one solid B Class score, was difficult to overcome. I was well aware of what my problem was, I just wasn’t owning it.
While Pennsylvania USPSA was on hiatus for the winter, I turned to IDPA to keep proficient with my gun handeling skills. When USPSA started back up, I wanted a minimal amount of rust to have to knock off before I got back into some sort of a groove.
I decided to try something a little different for the standard stages. Rather than try to burn it up like I was unsuccessfully doing with USPSA, I would relax and stay focused on the big picture. While I wasn’t setting any speed records, I could see my accuracy improve and my time come down. I found that I was more competitive by shooting only as fast as my skill allowed.
Making USPSA Production Division B Class
The 2013 Pennsylvania USPSA Season, for me, kicked off on a brisk March morning at Lower Providence Rod and Gun Club. The match would be a Special Classifier and allow me to put my new mental game to the test with five Classifiers and two Field Courses.
Things started off great. I felt relaxed and shot at my own pace. I hit a speed bump a couple of stages in and posted a C Class score as a result. Old habits came roaring back to mind as I rushed a couple of shots to make up for lost time. I was able to get back on track for a couple more stages but bombed the last classifier in epic fashion.
When the official scores were posted to USPSA, I headed over to the Classifier Calculator to see how it would work out. If my calculations are correct, I should be getting a new USPSA Production Division B Class Card in the mail, next month (scores didn’t make it in to HQ in time to be included in this months classification run).
I have plenty of video from the match, which I’ll share in the next post. I’ll also outline how I think I performed in each Classifier. If you would like to get a head start on the next post, you can Check Out My YouTube Channel for Match Video.
PS – You’re probably wondering why the photo at the head of this post makes no sense in terms of Making Production Division B Class? As the guy behind the camera, I never come away from a match with photos of myself. The image above features James Graziano Shooting in Limited 10 Division (C Class). I just happened to like the photo.