Making Time (and the use of…)

Finding Time....
Goal |gōl|

noun
2. the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
• the destination of a journey
• literary:  point marking the end of a race.
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Plan |plan|
noun
1.  detailed proposal for doing or achieving something
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FIRST IS THE GOALwhat is desired. It could be anything from the next classification card to scoring a personal best or just a good performance on the range.

NEXT IS THE PLAN – reflecting the intended actions needed to be taken towards achieving those goals.

There are countless offerings by many very talented authors on the topic of goals and how to best achieve them. They are all worth reading. Stories of tremendous desire, determination and relentless dedication: road-maps to great and proven success. These are often the words written by those fortunate enough to have every distraction between them and their plans and goals swept away – leaving only themselves in their way to success.

Back in the normal world, there are the rest of the competitors that have the desire and the determination – but have to make due with whatever time is available. These are the lives filled with responsibilities and various other distractions that demand immediate attention. It could be said that time is an essential requirement of dedication and that dedication is definitely essential for any plan to be successful.

Why Dedicate To A Plan?

… in two contrasting scenarios:

Both scenarios involve competitors the morning of what they believe is a big match. Perhaps they’re walking their equipment down the gravel road at Camp Perry towards the morning roll call on Viale Range. The contrast is in the words the shooters tell themselves describing their journey to this morning muster.
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Head In The Game

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SCENARIO ONE:

This competitor tells himself, “I have done everything I could have done to prepare for this match. I have brought everything I have with me this morning, having practiced as hard as I could. Regardless of what comes my way, I will have left every ounce of effort that I brought with me this morning on the range before I go. I know what a 10 looks like and am grateful I know how to shoot 10’s.”

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This competitor knows that even if the day does not live up to prior expectations, the score is a reflection of the efforts put in – not just of that day, but of the pains taken in practice and preparation.

SCENARIO TWO:

The other competitor tells himself, “Man, I had every intention of practicing more –
but life just got in the way… I guess I’m just here to enjoy myself today…
I really hope I don’t shoot anything worse than a 9!

This competitor had every intention of preparation, practice and squared away equipment – but was never able to find the time to get it done. The desire to do well is there, as is the determination by showing up to the range.

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Sometimes the simplest task can seem like an insurmountable obstacle if not properly thought out and planned for in advance. Below are some thoughts on how to possibly get a little more out of the already limited time that many competitors have in their schedules – especially when all that remains is the time left over after attending to other responsibilities.

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DRYFIRE:

Science has long shown that meditation has lasting and positive impacts on brain function, especially as it pertains to anxiety and stress. Interesting to this discovery is that recent studies have shown that short meditation sessions conducted frequently are more beneficial than long sessions with occasional practice, even if the sum total over a period of time is the same. Results have shown the ideal length of time, where the most benefits are gained – to be an average of 10 to 12-minutes in length. Past that, the returns begin to diminish rather quickly.
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A Flower on Viale Range.

Forbes Article:
7-Ways Meditation Can Actually Change The Brain

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Psychology Today: The Science Of Meditation

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If we look at dryfire as a type of meditative practice, it is much easier to find more frequent 15-minute periods than any attempts at blocking out an uninterrupted 90-minute session. What is needed is space, careful planning and dedication.

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SPACE: This is a safe environment, near all of the necessary equipment – preferably where the aiming targets can stay hung. It can be anyplace like a wall in the garage, a spot in the backyard or even a hallway.

PLANNING (equipment): First determine what equipment is needed for a thorough dryfire session. Then have everything laid out in the order it is required (e.g., glasses should be on top of a hat… the sweatshirt should be on top of the coat, which is on top of the mat, etc). Everything should be stored like this near the determined dryfire area. Approaching a limited session this way helps to get the equipment requirements handled in the shortest amount of time, similar to a 2-minute pre-prep. Use a timer!

PLANNING (session): First determine how much time is available for the session and have a plan. If 15-minutes is the limit, have a plan to similar to breaking 5 perfect shots or maybe 5 one minute holding drills. If 30-minutes is available, perhaps a visualization exercise of an entire 22-round string at Nationals. Don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit. While it is always recommended to have a steady routine of dryfire practice for offhand, some time spent in seated and prone can also be very valuable. This is especially true when hunting for leg points where transitions are required in the rapid stages. Four or five runs of getting up only to get down, then shifting the NPA onto the target – can really help in building confidence through a stable position for EIC matches.

PLANNING (completion): Practice getting everything back onto the cart in the exact order required to make the most of the next session. Don’t forget to allow time for this step by letting the session run over the time limit. The intention of this schedule is for it to be something that is attainable and not a hindrance on other responsibilities like punctuality or attending to relationships.

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AMMUNITION PREP:

While it is certainly true that there are ample choices of factory ammunition available on the market more than suitable for the needs of the National Match Course-Of-Fire, cost will typically prohibit this option for most competitors. Serious competitors shoot lots of ammo. This means that most serious shooters have to make lots of ammo and that can definitely become a burden.

PLANNING: Work in batches and always try and stay ahead during downtime. Be sure to keep batches separate and maintain a separate checklist for each batch. These are the steps required to finalize the amount of match preparation desired. The goal is to know what is required before or immediately at the start of each session at the bench. Countless time is often lost when having to go over old notes trying to determine where the last session left off.

DEVELOPMENT: It is fortunate for Service Rifle competitors that literally all of the load development needed for clean scores has already been done countless times over the years. Surely competitors will always have an individual sense of voodoo as to what is required for any specific rifle, but the vast majority of the work has already been done. Just ask the winners what they shoot and emulate accordingly! Always be on the look out for evidence of corners that can be safely cut, or processes that can be streamlined – to save time when loading ammunition.

EQUIPMENT: The thought of a first good progressive press or motorized trimmer can often be overwhelming. Some of these items can be very expensive and it’s intimidating when first contemplating if they’re really that easy to use or provide results that are up to desirable expectations. Far beyond the value of any information or opinions on the internet, is finding a fellow competitor with the equipment in question who is willing to provide a hand’s-on demonstration. Ask around! Many competitors that are just starting to make their own ammo are often very surprised when they find how little attention those on the leaderboards actually spend on the subject. The question is: How can better ammunition be made in less time? A piece of quality equipment that can produce desirable results, while performing more than one function at a time is always worth looking into.

OUTSOURCING: Any time not spent at the bench is time well spent! This includes time for dryfire and attending to life outside of highpower. Ample amount of dryfire and things like a significant other’s blessing the morning of a match can go a long way towards desired outcomes. The opposite can be said for spending countless hours at the bench a handful of evenings before being gone all day at a match.

There are quite a few vendors on the internet who offer services to facilitate all of the steps required for brass to be considered “match prepped”. These typically include: tumbling, swaging, sizing, trimming, chamfering, de-burring and cleaning and uniforming primer pockets. Upon return, all that is required is to prime, charge and seat for match-ready ammunition. Prices usually vary somewhere between $.05 to $.07 per piece after shipping costs to and from via USPS Flat Rate boxes. This will roughly total out to $195 for 2500 pieces of dirty brass coming back to ready to shoot.

Long Seated RoundsSTAYING AHEAD OF ACCURACY: Certainly a debatable topic, many competitors will choose to chase the throat of their barrels when seating bullets destined for the 600-yard line. While the desired jump or jam lengths will always continue to grow over the life of the barrel, the same cannot always be said for the available time that is required to perform this process. One idea is to average what is known to be an acceptable (and probably minimally significant) powder charge and seat the season’s worth of 600-yard line ammo on the long side – well ahead of time. This is what is known “soft-seating”. Incremental throat measurements can then be taken to dial in seating depths throughout the course of a season – without having to perform other steps along the way.

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PRACTICE:

For many competitors, casual time at the range can be few and far between (especially that not taken up by actual matches). However, should some available time coincide with an available range – it is always best to already have a plan. Be aware when writing in a shooting journal of what areas need work. While it is always a good confidence boost to go practice the positions that net the best results (and they should definitely not be taken for granted!), primary attention to should be given to working out problems areas.

Always have a plan....

Points to Consider:

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• Always work on building and maintaining good positions!

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• There is always room to improve fundamentals!

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• Train hard! Mental Focus and Shot Discipline!

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