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Here are some tips on IPSC/USPSA shooting that will benefit the beginner and the expert shooter as well. Thanks to Steve Anderson and the many other great contributors to the Brian Enos Forum for the ideas.
Running the Stage:

Too many people "tune out" the RO when they are preparing too shoot. Always pay close attention to the RO when you come to the line. This will save you MUCH GRIEF someday.
When planning a stage, look at it from many angles. Don't discount an unconventional path through the stage, it may save time.
If you're planning ANYTHING unconventional, have the courtesy to warn the RO BEFORE you shoot. It's too late afterwards.
Understand the COF, and know what has to be done
Make sure you see all the targets before you shoot and know your plan to shoot them
Make a plan and stick with it.
Don't get too fancy. A well executed plan always beats a miracle plan than you can barely remember. Confidience is in simplicity.
Avoid standing reloads whenever possible. Always plan the stage so you can reload while moving.
You can cross fault lines, just don't shoot while outside them.
Your draw and reload must be consistent and sure, even if not lighting fast. A blown reload is disaster for a speed shoot or classifier.
Fast is an illusion, smooth really is fast and economy of motion is vital.
You cannot miss fast enough. Get your hits.
You must be able to shoot on the move with confidence.
During major matches don't shoot outside your comfort zone
Have an "on the line" routine especially in practice, go through in your mind the same thought everytime before the timer starts
Don't be afraid to challenge the RO on a hit. You might win. If you know it's there, argue for it politely and professionally.

Calling the Shot:
"Calling the Shot" means it is impossible to miss if the sights were in proper alignment with each other and the target...when the bullet left the barrel. You don't have to see the hit because you know you had it lined up when you pulled the trigger.
You must learn to call your shots on steel with confidence. Waiting for them to fall takes time.
Learn how to build an accurate shot
Shoot a gun with zero'd sights. Knowing your gun is on builds confidence.
Find a spot on the target. Shoot that spot. Shoot for points.
Most all the things that are blamed on equipment...turn out to be the shooter. (But hey...we need a good reason to buy new stuff!)
Misses suck! You get no points...you just waste time. Use your time to get hits. Take however much time you need to get a "good hit".
A "hoper" is a miss.
A "good hit" in Minor power factor is an Alpha. A "good hit" in Major is a Charlie or better.
There are no Charlie hits on steel.
You need positive actions in your head, not negative ones. Think, "I will hit the A zone twice" NOT, "I better not hit the no shoot."

Shooting Preparation:
Dry Firing every night will drastically increase your confidence level when you get on the line.
You must practice strong and weak hand shooting on a regular basis. You don't want to be surprised by this at a match. I've seen grown men cry...
If you wish to excel at IPSC shooting, you must seek out your weaknesses and make them strengths, or at the very least, non-issues.
The good shooters at your club will most likely be glad to help you...if you just ask.
In practice try to go full out, just to see what its like, and then try to go even faster
Try the 50 yd+ shots routinely in practice.
Watch the super squad every chance you get. Don't just ape them but observe and evaluate
If reloading your own ammo, know that it is all good. Weigh it, measure it, and chamber check it before the match.
Bring equipment that works. Never show up to a match with the same "stuff" that didn't work last time. Know that you gun, ammo and mags function.
Dry fire groups on tiny targets in addition to your action dry fire drills. It helps more than know.
Full mags all the time, do not put empty ones back in your belt.

Match Preparation:
Make a checklist for your match gear so you don't spend the drive wondering if you forgot something.
Bring water and a lite snack to keep your energy up.
Plan ahead for colder and warmer weather than you're expecting.
Summer matches are long, sunscreen and a hat are a big plus.
Football style cleats are not out of place at a match where wet grass, loose gravel, and loaded guns might be co-existing.
Shooting ranges tend to be dirty, muddy, wet, sandy, you name it. Be prepared to clean mags between each stage.

Mental Preparation:
Progress comes from within.
Don't get brought down by somebody elses bad attitude, if they don't want to try, then that's their problem.
If you aren't having fun, you are doing "something" wrong.
When you get GOOD, share what you know. That's how you pay back those that helped you.
When you make a mistake or blow a stage, or even tank a match...Find something to learn from it and move on.
Leave your Ego at home.
Never give up. Your competition could also have a 20 second jam on the next stage.
Don't be afraid to ask someone better or even worse than you for advice. There are plenty of people out there who can't DO but who know how to DO and may be able to help you. In other sports they are called "coach".

This Document Last Modified July 01, 2006
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