When springtime rolls around, competitive shooters all around the United States pop out of their hybernative sleep (AKA, day jobs) and begin peering around with raised eyebrows for the oncoming warmth and the plethora of matches that it’s time to start thinking about. Those shooters in warmer climates roll their eyes, impatiently, not feeling sorry for any of us and no longer curious about what snow feels like. In either case, the problem remains–with matches popping up here and there all over the Precision Shooting Matches website and other sources of match information– it begs the question; which marches should I shoot?
Look local, feel national
Wouldn’t it be fun to open your window and scream out; “I’m going to shoot ALL the matches this year!”, only to then remember your weekend obligations over the next six months that include, but are not limited to; weddings, family trips, Mom’s 90th birthday (you GOTTA go–who know’s if she’ll hit 91), Bar-mitzvah’s and the occasional quinceañera. Go ahead, open your phone or pull your calendar off the fridge (have to keep these posts multigenerational) and look at what you’ve already got booked over the next few months. No way you’re shooting all the matches. Maybe you can squeak out at least one per month and be thankful you can do that. Focus on your local matches, but if you can–plan for at least one “away” match and the National Championships.
Bring a buddy
You’re crazy if you go to matches all by yourself. You can’t tell me that there isn’t SOMEONE that you know who might be interested in learning about what precision shooting is all about. Spouse, juniors, neighbors, relatives or just buddies from work–I guarantee that there’s a shooter out there who just doesn’t know that they’re one of us yet. Being a competitor also makes you an ambassador to your sport and it is one of your responsibilities to help spread the word. Now… a word of warning. Don’t strand someone at a match. If you’re shooting an eight-hour 2700 with EIC, DR and LEG matches and force someone to sit there through it all while you shoot–don’t be surprised if your guest has become self-taught in noose-tying. Precision shooting is NOT a spectator sport. It’s up there with Golf, drying paint and baseball. Fun to play, agony to watch. Give them an out when they’ve had enough. There’s a reason the Lord invented Uber.
Shoot for enjoyment and not pressure
“I’m DEFINITELY gonna hit Master this year. No doubt. I’m gonna make it happen…” Been there? Know anyone who has? Yeah, me too. As you set upon your season of matches, do everyone a favor and enjoy shooting. Enjoy the camaraderie, the different locations, the different conditions and the overall experiences that come along with it all. Stop shooting to get better. It’s like sitting down on the first day of algebra class and calling out that you plan on mastering advanced trigonometry by years end. Possible? Sure. Likely? Heck no. Don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself. Enjoy the process, enjoy the advancements and the pitfalls equally because it’s all part of learning. Is it wrong to seek advancement? Of course not, but do so realistically and instead of focusing on the entire season and classifications ahead of you, focus on the next shot, instead.
So what’s the answer to “which matches should I shoot?” The answer is – shoot every match you can, realistically. If you need practice then join a local league. No local leagues? Well, heck, just contact us here at PSM and we will help hook you up with one or help you set one up of your own if you care to become a match director. Practice locally but don’t be afraid to travel a little to get to matches. A few more bucks spent on travel and over night expenses turns a match day into a weekend getaway. Split the costs with other shooters going to the same extents you are to engage in our sport. It’s worth the little extra time, planning and money for the experience, because before you know it you’ll be fattening up for the winter again and preparing your hibernation cave (entire states of Texas and Florida rolls their eyes).
Go have a match.
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