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I am fortunate to be considered a fairly decent stage writer and from time to time get invited to "guest" write stages for various clubs.

 

I was speaking to some shooters after one of these opportunities and they mentioned how much fun they had versus some other matches they had shot lately.

I, of course, said "Thank you" and then asked what they thought the difference was?

 

They said the match director was very open about needing to improving/ training his shooters, to "make sure they are prepared for more challenging bigger matches".

 

I almost see the logic; the big, close shooters (that my matches generally cater to) can sometimes experience some sight picture shock when confronted with smaller, more distant target arrays.

 

But shouldn't the desire and effort to improve emanate from the shooter - not by mandate of the match director?

 

I have always said that clubs are not in the shooting business but the entertainment business. 

Competing not against IPSC, but against the NFL, sleeping in, going for a motorcycle ride or even doing chores around the house.

 

If shooting becomes too much like work (or just no longer fun) - some will find something else to do.

And furthermore; why am I preparing shooters for matches they may never attend?

A high percentage of cowboy shooters for whatever reason; they shoot local matches and little else.

So for that shooter - a monthly event is their big shoot and I don't feel I should lessen their fun to assist others get in a practice session. 

 

Am I wrong?

Am I doing a disservice to our shooters by not challenging them to improve?

 

Are monthly matches events unto themselves or should they be practice grounds for bigger matches?

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Creeker, you are so right.  It used to bug me when monthly matches were called "Practice matches", that was the main thing for me.

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Monthlies are my only matches..between work, health , finances and family, I am limited to any travel. I started out when gas was 3 sumthin and it is soon to be there again-probably higher. I bet monthlies become more important to a lot of folks in the near future.

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I’m new to the sport here, but have watched for quite a while. 
The matches should be fun first and foremost.   If there isn’t enough play value, as you say, I’ll go do something else.  If you want to improve your shooting skills, do it at the range not at a match.  
I agree with your approach completely.  

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Yes, it's entertainment business. CAS is one of my hobbies and I go there to have fun, but I wouldn't have fun if it's not also a bit challenging. Fortunately, it's always challenging. Although no target is too big to miss, if it's stage and deliver, big and close then your transitions and the speed of operating your guns are primarily challenged. If more ore less those two skills are the only ones that get challenged in a match it gets boring for me. So yes, I like a couple of targets in a distance a rifle was made for, and shooting a ten inch plate from 20 yards is still far far away from bullseye shooting. But I find also shooting pistols and SG from various distances is fun. Imho, variety is the key for having fun in CAS, matches with super fast big & close stages, some where you have to aim quite hard, and everything in between.

 

Equanimous Phil

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I think your correct.  Match Directors are in the entertainment business.   If I want to work on my skills I will.  When I go to a match I want to have fun shooting. if I don't I'll go somewhere where the Match Director has the right attitude. 

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12 minutes ago, Johnny Meadows,SASS#28485L said:

Shooters are entertained when they walk off a stage and say that was the fastest I have ever shot a stage.

Maybe some.

Well, if there's a stage with one incredibly huge single target plate, stage calls for 7 (or 6, or 5, ....) rounds rifle, 2x5 pistol, and 2 SG, all guns on table in front of you, not one inch to walk during the stage chances are very high that it would be my fastest stage ever so far. But that stage with those 8 SG KDs and a rifle reload and postion changes would undoubtedly entertain me a lot more! Each to his own ;)

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Who says you can't have it all? Our club officials do (in my opinion) an excellent job of setting up monthly matches for guys like me, who rarely shoot outside our monthly club match and go for the fun of it all. They also throw in a good mix of challenges for the "travelling shooters" to keep them tuned up for what they may run into around the country. The mindset that you can only successfully cater to one audience is narrow and limits a clubs chance to draw in new shooters, whatever their reasons for showing up.

 

My hat is off to Whiskey Hayes & Papa Dave, may they continue to innovate, entertain, and challenge us!

 

So if any of y'all are lacking in the fun factor or the training factor, come on down to Wartrace, TN.  If you don't get your money's worth I'll personally refund your 1st match fee.  

 

The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Wartrace Regulators. I am Chickamauga Slim & I approved this message.

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as a noob, at my first match I shot 3 stages.  most of the time I was focused on safety, getting my guns running correct, not missing and not getting a P.  the most interesting aspect of the 3 stages I thought was the challenge of the knockdown SG targets.  I saw some of the fast guys with their 12 gauges have to take some extra shots and I wanted to do them clean.  they all finished in half of my time, but my 20 gauge put them down first time each one.  :D  it was fun.  

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Myself...I like a mixture. I like some close up in your face fast stages. I also like some mid range stages and some farther away. And add in a stage or two that has some of the old things added in for fun. I think most clubs have some members that do travel. As hard as you try...you will probably not please everyone. So mix it up. Put in something for everyone. Watch how you write stages. I hear more about favoring right or left handed people more than anything. Also a lack of stages written with gunfighters in mind. Just try to mix things up so there is a little for everyone.

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At the Illowa Irregulars (Milan, IL), we have a different match director at each of our 7 monthly matches  and Fall Roundup.  All are run by our TG, Count Sandor, to eliminate any confusing wording or safety problems.  Having 8 different cowboys with eight different opinions of a good stage keeps things interesting.  We keep a new rope handy in case there is a really bad stage, but have not had to use it yet.  It is fortunate our club has enough people step up to do the writing.  I know that is not possible at all clubs.

 

Chancy

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Just like each form of entertainment you mentioned have different draws to them, each different SASS Club does as well.  I shoot with anywhere from 5 to 7 different clubs in a typical month down here in Florida.  Each club and match are different. 

 

There are a few that prepare me for bigger matches by challenging me and pushing me out of my comfort zone, others that are big and close where I can work my manipulation speed, others who are very technical and require a more methodical approach to each stage, and still others that are more like a circus than a SASS match. 

 

But each different club allows for different things to be worked.  In my opinion, this type of variety is necessary for the sport.  Some enjoy big and close, others technical, and still others the circus stages.  So having this type of variety allows everyone to find their particular flavor of CAS Match. 

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PLUS ONE for Creeker.  When we collect the match fee for a monthly, we are selling "entertainment."  If the stages require excessive thought to follow, or the targets are difficult to hit, the customer will go somewhere else.  CAS monthlies are not "training" sessions.  They are entertainment.  Should be FUN.  If the match is an exercise in futility, the customer will spend their time and money elsewhere.

 

Keep your stage writing and matches FUN 

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We have about a number of shooters who are really good/fast and attend a number of matches outside our area. We start with;

"We adhere to all SASS rules and conventions" So we don't do something that would screw a shooter up at another match.

Very seldom will there be a stand and deliver stage.

We have great storefronts and berms so we can mix up movement and shooting positions.

We tend to write the stages with gun and starting position choice up to the shooter. Makes them think about approach for speed or fun.

We have fell into a rut of 10-10-4+ but we are going to change that.

Shotguns = knockdowns, pipes, and flyers. Flyers = cowboy knockdown and catapult the bird. And an actual clays bird thrower.

Plate racks and Texas star.

Reloads  = pistol and rifle 1 or ?

We try to provide the types of shooting thats fun but also what you'll see on the road.

And now for the crazy

We write cowboy stages that also allow big bore single shot and lever rifles. They don't shoot the cowboy rifle targets but everything else. Not a SASS category but we have a lot of long range shooters in our club.

 

Our annual match has Tom Horn categories for big bore rifles, smokeless, BP, lever action and single shot. About 35% of our shooters shoot Tom Horn.

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JEDI Creeker,

your efforts to continually learn and supply the mainstream shooters with the right stuff is commendable.

 

And, I agree with your 'entertainment' value of our matches should be a priority.

 

WE, the shooter, are the entertainment also.   Watching a speed demon burn it down or just a mid range BP shooter fill the air

with smoke is very entertaining, regardless of stage design and scenerio.

BUT, for the actual shooter under the clock, the stage should be such as to let them run it at their abilities, not held back by

unthoughtful restrictions.

 

Keep up the good work and good stage writing.   Hopefully some day I will get to shoot a 'Creeker' stage.

 

..........Widder

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Johnny Meadows,SASS#28485L said:

Shooters are entertained when they walk off a stage and say that was the fastest I have ever shot a stage.

J.M.

Dissagree there Johnny.

Not all of us what close, big, and easy.

I get most excited when I set a goal of a time and beat that....

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Each shooter is going to have their own definition of "fun" or "challenges". Nothing wrong with having some easy and some more challenging, listen to what your shooters are telling you. If you hear that they find harder stages less enjoyable, make a match with "marshmallow" stages one time, then let them know the next match will have a couple tougher ones in it to keep things balanced.

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I agree that having the 'same' stage set up, targets, distance, size, each month is a disservice to the club...

Especially to those who do travel to other clubs.

I asked for a bit of variety...and we got it.

I would like to see a plate rack used more.

(Also, have fun....there's no money won by you through THIS game.)

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I think a good MD will write stages that give a shooter a choice as to how a stage should be shot. Not necessarily on every stage. I don't much care for matches that tell you down to the last detail how to shoot every stage. I may decide to shoot it the slowest way possible if thats what I feel like that day. I shoot almost every weekend.

kR

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I like to give choices on all stages that it is possible.  Then, for a 6 stage match, 2 easy, 3 medium and one medium hard.

 

For practice, mostly hard stages.

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2 hours ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

 

PLUS ONE for Creeker.  When we collect the match fee for a monthly, we are selling "entertainment."  If the stages require excessive thought to follow, or the targets are difficult to hit, the customer will go somewhere else.  CAS monthlies are not "training" sessions.  They are entertainment.  Should be FUN.  If the match is an exercise in futility, the customer will spend their time and money elsewhere.

 

Keep your stage writing and matches FUN 

 

Some shooters get really bored shooting targets so close that you can spit on them and so big that missing them takes effort. 

 

Some shooters get bored shooting scenarios that a gold fish could remember. 10-10-4 on every stage, every month, over and over starts to get old after a while.

 

MDs should keep in mind that shooters that fall into the above also vote with their feet and shoot at clubs where they are challenged or lacking that hang up their guns and move on to other hobbies.

 

There is no one size fits all. 

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As a noob, I'm not turned off by a difficult target, right now my time is going to be over 1 minute whether the targets are 5 feet big 5 feet away or 1 in big 25 feet away, I'm still working on manipulations, transitions, safety and gear considerations.  I do desire a wide range of scenarios so things don't feel stale and so I can experience why I might want to do things differently on different stages.  Based on the one match I went to, the longtime players cleaned up all the 10-10-4 stages in the mid 20 seconds, the guy who had been going about year said he averaged 35-40 seconds a stage, but he managed to beat out the other guys on the knockdown stage, I thought that made for a more interesting day.

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Maybe it isn't just one stage but all stages together?

 

A match that has one stage with distance challenge (not too distant, the "action" part of this sport rules!). For me, anyway. A difficult bonus target as an option also adds a strategy consideration.

 

Another stage with focus on keeping track of the sweeps (easier with rifle, but managing the pistols always adds an element of complexity for me).

 

But I also love a stage where the targets are close, the sweep is easy, and I can just try to run at full speed! Yippee Kay Yay!

 

The match as a whole is more important than a particular stage to me. And the challenges should never take out the fun.

 

FWIW.

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Shooters aren't going to continue to go to any action shooting sports matches if it's not fun and entertaining. SASS, USPSA,IDPA and ICORE included.

 

Each sport has a unique balance of rewarding speed vs accuracy. Same thing with target sizes vs distances. Static only targets or some moving targets used. All steel or a mix of steel targets with cardboard and scoring zones. But all the matches must be fun to those who shoot them. 

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I am certainly not saying to not listen to your shooters - as a matter of fact; that is the MOST important thing a MD can do.

I am just questioning the mindset of MD's saying, "I don't care what shooters want - I know what they need"

 

But understand BIG and CLOSE does not by itself make a match a good experience and smaller/ more distant does not by itself make a match a bad experience.

 

Clear and understandable stage instructions - Variety of sequences - differing gun orders (including split pistols and shotguns) - lateral and downrange movement - reactive targets - props - etc.

These all contribute to the perception of a good match versus a poor one.

 

Now I fully stand by my assertion that GENERALLY having generously sized targets placed closer to the firing line is more fun than the opposite.

IMO, easily hittable targets actually open up the door for more "action" elements - such as different/ more complex sweep sequences - prop manipulations - additional movements; instead of the challenge coming solely from sight alignment - it is now from components within the stage.

 

There is only so much time in which a stage should be run; generally figured at TWO minutes BEEP to BEEP. 

Meaning within two minutes - A shooter needs to complete the stage/ move to the unloading table - targets are reset/ brass is picked - spotters are polled and time/ penalties are relayed to the scorekeeper and the next shooter has been called to the line - staged their guns and is getting the shooter ready? - BEEP at the 2 minute mark. 

(this is even more of a consideration at bigger matches where posses bunching up is a real issue) - so we figure that mythical average shooter is going to run 30-40 second stages. 

So I have to plan the components of the stage to be completed by my "average" shooter within that 30 -40 second window. 

If the stage design/ target size/ distances take 1 second per shot for my average shooter - plus transitions (draws, holstering, pickup, restaging) 20 seconds are eaten up just for rifle and pistol - and then say 4 shotgun takes another 6 to 10 seconds. 

That means for my average shooter to complete that stage in my desired 30 - 40 second window - there will be little to no movement - no props - nothing much at all beyond shooting.

I think most would take the trade off of 4 shooting positions or prop manipulations and the challenge of proper transitions - than to push the targets out and eat up the time with lengthy aiming.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

I am certainly not saying to not listen to your shooters - as a matter of fact; that is the MOST important thing a MD can do.

I am just questioning the mindset of MD's saying, "I don't care what shooters want - I know what they need"

 

But understand BIG and CLOSE does not by itself make a match a good experience and smaller/ more distant does not by itself make a match a bad experience.

 

Clear and understandable stage instructions - Variety of sequences - differing gun orders (including split pistols and shotguns) - lateral and downrange movement - reactive targets - props - etc.

These all contribute to the perception of a good match versus a poor one.

 

Now I fully stand by my assertion that GENERALLY having generously sized targets placed closer to the firing line is more fun than the opposite.

IMO, easily hittable targets actually open up the door for more "action" elements - such as different/ more complex sweep sequences - prop manipulations - additional movements; instead of the challenge coming solely from sight alignment - it is now from components within the stage.

 

There is only so much time in which a stage should be run; generally figured at TWO minutes BEEP to BEEP. 

Meaning within two minutes - A shooter needs to complete the stage/ move to the unloading table - targets are reset/ brass is picked - spotters are polled and time/ penalties are relayed to the scorekeeper and the next shooter has been called to the line - staged their guns and is getting the shooter ready? - BEEP at the 2 minute mark. 

(this is even more of a consideration at bigger matches where posses bunching up is a real issue) - so we figure that mythical average shooter is going to run 30-40 second stages. 

So I have to plan the components of the stage to be completed by my "average" shooter within that 30 -40 second window. 

If the stage design/ target size/ distances take 1 second per shot for my average shooter - plus transitions (draws, holstering, pickup, restaging) 20 seconds are eaten up just for rifle and pistol - and then say 4 shotgun takes another 6 to 10 seconds. 

That means for my average shooter to complete that stage in my desired 30 - 40 second window - there will be little to no movement - no props - nothing much at all beyond shooting.

I think most would take the trade off of 4 shooting positions or prop manipulations and the challenge of proper transitions - than to push the targets out and eat up the time with lengthy aiming.

 

 

 

 

Squeeeeeeee!

I'm MYTHICAL:wub:

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19 hours ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

Am I wrong?

Am I doing a disservice to our shooters by not challenging them to improve?

Are monthly matches events unto themselves or should they be practice grounds for bigger matches?

No.

No.

Yes, and Yes.

 

But, as you posited in your OP, the challenge to improve must come from within the shooter.  Back when I started in this game, I shot nearly every match held within a 100 miles of me... at first that was only two, then 3, finally every weekend.  But, to improve, I had to shoot those matches with a goal in sight, and practice other aspects of stage management outside of a match... and where possible shoot with stage segments in mind as I shot at the local range.  While stages back then were pretty much small and far across the board, If one match director chose not the include those in his match, yes, he was doing a disservice to his attendees.   In the mid 1990s the game changed significantly.  The addition of the 2nd pistol meant that less emphasis had to be on precision and more on speed.  What people fail to recognize when they talk about old-school and new-school CAS stages, is really all about that change.  I remember setting a goal of 3 minutes from beep to beep... when we only had one sixgun to shoot.  But, the additional time was ate up with more physicality... starting prone, transitioning to standing,  climbing into-out of wagons, on-off horses, etc... moving 20 - 30 yards arcoss a stage.  50-80 shooters were about all that you could accommodate in a 6-stage, day long match.  The fastest shooters were completing some of those stages in the low 20s... slower shooters in a minute to 90 seconds... with the vast majority falling in the 30s.  With the huge influx of shooters in the late '90s and after the turn of the century, something had to give.  It's a huge challenge to create stages that provide both a setting that's different from one stage to the next, and yet, can be negotiated by folks from 8 to 80, and up!  

 

I'm with Widder, I hope to make a "Creeker" match someday!  

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22 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

Some shooters get really bored shooting targets so close that you can spit on them and so big that missing them takes effort. 

I'll have you know that some days I can miss with absolutely no effort at all on my part!

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No; a match should not be set up to “make” your shooters better shooters.  Average shooters are only going to be shooting 1-2 minutes in a monthly match.  Can you really call that practice anyway?  They should be set up to be fun.  To me that includes some fun on-the-clock stuff, some more difficult shots, maybe load an extra rifle round, some up close stuff, etc.  your fun may not be someone else’s fun.

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I agree with Creeker.  Monthly matches should prepare you for the big matches and be fun.  Shooters come from all over the world to shoot big matches.  For many shooters monthly matches are an opportunity to work on skills, yet walk away feeling good about your shooting.  World and National matches have been pretty consistent in the past and most repeat shooters know what to expect. There is always exceptions, but for the most part I have seen most stages prior to the big match.  I look for monthly matches that are well designed.  Shooters in AZ can find matches to meet most of their needs and yet have a good time. Big and close does not mean no movement.   I personally like to see movement in my monthly matches because I am going to see movement in bigger matches.  Vertical staging was in 3 stages at the last Winter Range.   I messed up two of them!!!  Back to practice!!!

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IMHO ... Monthly matches need to be intuitive.

While most "big" matches send out stage descriptions … many monthly events do not.

It isn't fun to try to plan an overly "clever" stage (or sequence) quickly.

 

At many matches you can't get close enough to the firing line to hear a stage description and see all the targets at the same time.

Without some special emphasis by the stage reader … (while having all the gun carts and lawn chairs all jammed up at the firing line) it is easy to miss something "new".

 

How long do you really want to spend discussing a stage description after reading it? (or after someone shoots it?)

If there is more than one solution to a shooting string … AND … it is repeated … does the writer specify if the shooter should repeat the "string instruction" or "the sequence" previously shot?

 

Does anyone ever use a different string instruction for rifle and pistol anymore?? Haven't seen that for a long long time …

 

Does the writer spread targets clear across the stage and then have the shooter engage them in any order?? (spotter fun) … 

 

What is the clean shooter percentage on the stage? Are you killing off your setup people?

It is fun to learn new things but I think it takes great care at monthly matches ... :)

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The choice of starting on the Left or the Right Side can make a huge difference to FCD shooter , Forcing the shooter to keep shooting into his Smoke can sure slow down a Shooter ... If he can shoot from the end where the wind helps clear the smoke away from the next target it is more

fair.  I like choice of firearm stages, Don't much care for Dump targets. instead of double tap 5 rifle targets, put two shots on each !!! 

Often two sweeps allows me to shoot faster than double tap each target ... Yes I make lot's of smoke by choice, but allowing to shooter to best figure out how to hit the targets is Fun ... 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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