Match Debriefing


My 2014 IDPA season is over with having competed in the Utah IDPA State Championship. Like all the matches hosted by UDPL it was well put together and the COFs were well planned and executed. Now I actually walked away from this state match feeling okay, which is a big difference from previous large matches I have shot. Last year’s Utah State Match I put on a poor performance which left me well in the rear of the top shooters competing that year. This year however with a ton of practice and a better mental game things turned out a little better.(Third Overall)

Critiquing your performance is essential to your improvement. This year I have kept all the results of the matches I have shot on my tablet to compare with the previous matches. Also the in-match notes and post match thoughts I write down. The GoPro has been awesome in documenting the stages and helping me remember what I was thinking via a first person view. I review all the data to build my training regiment. I use mainly the mistakes during the match and leave the positives behind. I don’t want to fall into a “I’m so great cycle” and end up just doing what I’m good at. So let me break down my match for you.

IDPA is a awesome practical pistol game because of it’s scoring system. You don’t need to win every stage you just need to be consistent in your stage execution. So I will spare you all the stage run times and so forth but I will give you my stage rank and the ranks of the shooter ahead of and behind me to prove this point.

Stage Ranks

1st place ESP shooter- 2,1,1,1,2,2,1,1,1,3. Now that kind of consistency will win you a lot of matches. Almost all the elite shooters in the sport put up runs like this.

Tom 2nd place ESP shooter- 4,2,4,1,3,3,4,7,4,13. This is what you call a controlled crash. Just like Arby’s, it’s not the best but it’s also not bad enough for you to stop coming.

3rd place ESP shooter-3,3,2,3,12,2,17,3,17. Where I lost to him the damage was minimal but his stage losses to me were catastrophic. I trailed 1st by 40 seconds and beat 3rd by 15 seconds. Now It was a mistake filled match on my part but I didn’t fall apart on large stages or make enormous mistakes. 3Rd’s loss to me was based on two stages alone. Consistent execution was the difference.

My plan was to to make the best use of my accuracy and be way more aggressive in my stage plan than I have ever been before, but not to the point where I was writing checks my hands couldn’t cash. If you want to improve your stage performance start with little rolls of the dice and not betting the house. The bets I lost on Saturday where procedural based or recovering from a violation so I would not receive a PE. But in most cases when I recovered from the error the cure was worse than the disease. I would spend more time correcting the error than what the penalty was worth. The points down came from getting ahead of myself on the stage plan and not focusing on delivering the shot that was at hand. A friend noticed that I fired a lot of extra shots throughout the match. When I examined the video I noticed after a stage where I had large amounts of Points Down I would make sure on the proceeding stage to fire extra shots at medium to difficult targets to ensure minimal points down. What it cost me was extra reloads on stages that didn’t need them, thus increasing my overall time. The final thing I need to address is my footwork when setting up into a position and when rounding cover.

Once you have identified your match issues the next step is to work drills into your dry fire that put that issue into play. It doesn’t have to be the main focus of the drill but must be a noticeable step, then see how the cookie crumbles in match scenarios. Getting better in this sport depends on reps, confidence and strong mental discipline to put process at the top of the list when that buzzer goes off and not the plan. My goal is to deliver a perfect draw, then position myself, get a good sight picture, press the trigger without disturbing the sights and rinse and repeat until there is nothing left to shoot. Process is not shooting this stage faster than the previous guy. Process is speed math, not speed reading. Just work it one problem at a time.

Stay safe and click at the wall,

Tom Nelson

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