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Shooting big match stages ahead of time.


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Not really sure how I feel about this, as I'm stove up and don't feel competent enough to shoot at a big match yet.   But, a major match, where the stages have not been published ahead of time, so that everyone coming can see them before receiving their shooter's packet (not being published seems to be pretty usual).
But, a couple of the local clubs have access to the stages and shoot them in their monthly match, so those local shooters have the chance to practice them.
 
Those local clubs are not trying to hide anything, they'll even post, "come shoot with us, we're going to be shooting stages from the upcoming (Annual, State, Regional, whatever) match.
 
Do those local members who get to shoot it ahead of time have an advantage over those who will get to read the the stages in the booklet in their shooter's packet the day before? 
Is this pretty much a usual thing?
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46 minutes ago, Crusty Knees said:
Not really sure how I feel about this, as I'm stove up and don't feel competent enough to shoot at a big match yet.   But, a major match, where the stages have not been published ahead of time, so that everyone coming can see them before receiving their shooter's packet (not being published seems to be pretty usual).
But, a couple of the local clubs have access to the stages and shoot them in their monthly match, so those local shooters have the chance to practice them.
 
Those local clubs are not trying to hide anything, they'll even post, "come shoot with us, we're going to be shooting stages from the upcoming (Annual, State, Regional, whatever) match.
 
Do those local members who get to shoot it ahead of time have an advantage over those who will get to read the the stages in the booklet in their shooter's packet the day before? 
Is this pretty much a usual thing?

I don't know if it's usual, but it happens.  I've seen a few interesting twists on interstate rivalries before. 

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Just because one shoots the same stages one or two weeks before a big match, doesn't mean you'll get the same results. Anything can and does happen and you can surely mess up any stage big time that you shot clean a week ago.  :wacko::o

JC

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Does it really matter where we shoot a 'Nevada Sweep' on 3 or 4 plates?

 

Or does it matter if we start with SG in hand or staged on a table?

 

What I'm trying to say is that a shooters proficiency probably doesn't change that much

within a couple weeks just by shooting any particular sequence.   If it did, I would be

the worlds fastest shooter on a Nevada Sweep because that basically what I use to 

practice all the time..... ;)

 

I remember once that I practiced the Nevada Sweep for about 2 weeks straight, just to

burn it down during a monthly match.   The timer goes beep and draw both pistols (GF category)

and put 2 shots on the 1st plate.   It was suppose to be Single taps..... :lol:

 

Mileage varies.

 

..........Widder

 

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While there may be a bit of an advantage, as Joe Cross said, it’s easy to practice but things go south when that ole buzzer goes off!  I suppose if there was a really challenging new sweep, or one with several ways to shoot it, some practice might be helpful. 
i know people who study the shooters booklet figuring out stages. I rarely do more than just a quick glance. I can’t remember them that long anyway!

Edited by Hoss
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CK, if you have shot a few matches and understand the rules, especially the safety rules, you are ready for a big match.  Your posse will not think poorly of you for long stage times.

 

I shoot warm-up matches at big matches.  These are not identical to stages shot in the main match but give me a sense on how fast I can shoot these targets clean and how lighting and wind will affect my BP smoke.  That eliminates home field advantage.

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:FlagAm: It is common for a club that is hosting a large match such as a state to pre shoot the proposed stages.  This is ethically done so that any potential problems with the stage design can be corrected or the stage replaced prior to the big event.  Some hosting clubs do this over the course of a year or a club match or two prior to printing the match booklet.  End result is a happier group of shooters who attend the big match when there are no problems with stage design.

In some cases, the hosting club's shooters are not even aware that they are shooting a stage that has the potential of being utilized in the large match.

Chas B

 

Edited by Chas B. Wolfson, SASS #11104
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I don't 100% follow what you're saying...

However

If I run stages at two different clubs and I use the same scenarios at both clubs, does a shooter who shot the stages first get an advantage over the shooters who didn't?

I don't think so.  I don't think it's possible to set the stages up close enough to make a measurable difference on the timer.

As also said above, it's a good habit to run through the stages for a big match during a small match ahead of time to make sure there's no issues.

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2 hours ago, Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971 said:

CK, if you have shot a few matches and understand the rules, especially the safety rules, you are ready for a big match.  Your posse will not think poorly of you for long stage times.

 

I shoot warm-up matches at big matches.  These are not identical to stages shot in the main match but give me a sense on how fast I can shoot these targets clean and how lighting and wind will affect my BP smoke.  That eliminates home field advantage.

And I DON'T shoot warm ups...because sure as snott...I will shoot the main match just like the warm ups! 

(Warm ups are NOT shot in the way you will during main match...target placement is the same, stage directionnis not)

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As some have said, it can give a few folks a slight advantage, but minimal changes can totally make for a different stage. 
 

I remember one year (several years ago)  our club wrote the stage for EOT.  They were good stages and fun without excessive challenges.  When we went to EOT they were totally different stages - all the same sequences but different target shapes, different spacing and distances.  It was essentially a completely different match.

 

Another factor is often clubs want to try something a little different for their big match.  So sometimes, they may or may not let people know, but they include a stage or two of to test the stage concept.  Then they can see how folks do and make adjustments as needed.  I know several times clubs found they would have been very unhappy if they had not tested the concept because it somethings fails.  Better to learn that at a monthly match with locals compared to a big embarrassment at the big match.  So if done in good conscience, it can be a good thing for all shooters.

 

(And I have seen this taken too far to give locals an advantage, but that rarely lasted because the word always gets out.)

 

Like most of life, you pay yer money and take yer chances.  :D

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I’m just impressed they leave their stages “set up” for weeks.  

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My philosophy is as follows:

And it is what I adhered to when I was match director for Eldorado.

 

IF I posted the stages online for ALL to see - there was no harm to my club or any other shooting the "known" stages prior to the match.

 

I could always adjust distances or heights if I desired some sort of change to the expectation when setting the steel.

 

IF I was NOT going to post the stages for all - I would NEVER announce that we would be shooting stages from an upcoming match.  

That being said - every stage I ever wrote for a major was shot in some match at some time to ensure sequences, targets, distances, props, stage flow and length fit into my ideas for the major (I considered it auditioning a stage to determine its good and bad points). 

I think I would have been a poor match director if I had not done so. 

But no one besides myself knew that a given stage, sequence, distance, movement, prop, etc. was being auditioned for the major.

 

Unless it is a weird or interesting sequence or prop manipulation - I personally don't think it makes that much difference if some see it or shoot it earlier than another - BUT it does "feel" wrong and some take offense. 

So either divulge to all or show nobody.

Then no one can claim favoritism or injury.

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My experience is that the stages that are published are sometimes tweaked just before a match which cause significant changes.  Just because a sweep is published and movements are published, there is no way to determine distances and some of the other issues that are encountered during the actual match.  

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At a big match, the workers often shoot all the stages in one day, several days before the main match.  Fatigue from preparing the match and fatigue from shooting through are against those shooters but they do it year after year.  Knowing the stages, from doing the set up, does not seem to be an advantage.

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it wont matter to me - im always equally confused or clear on a given stage as i leave the loading table , either i get it or i get a P or a miss , ive never really been concerned with anyone that might have shot the stage before - has nothing to do with my performance 

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Good Question.....

 

Here's what i did for my club over the past 5 years.

 

In April the Texican Rangers have their yearly match Comancheria Days!

For 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020 it has been the Texas State Championship!

 

The stages were written by December.  Frequently there are new the sequences, or movements from previous  years. 

So beginning in January i would try a shooting pattern out in one, or more times in the monthly

January to March matches.  I would also try different firearm shooting positions during this time.

 

HOWEVER, never did i set up the stages for the monthly shoots the same as you would see them in the match.

 

I personally think its really unfair for a local club to shoot the exact stages for an annual match or above

in the months leading up to the event.

 

YMMV

 

AD 

 

 

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I'm not a fan of releasing the stages ahead of time. For me it's part of the game to get on site and then find out what to do. I rarely ever even look at the stages after picking up my shooters packet. If they are so difficult that they can't easily be explained on the spot, then I'm at the wrong match.

Edited by Snakebite
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2 hours ago, Snakebite said:

I'm not a fan of releasing the stages ahead of time. For me it's part of the game to get on site and then find out what to do. I rarely ever even look at the stages after picking up my shooters packet. If they are so difficult that they can't easily be explained on the spot, then I'm at the wrong match.

For you - it may be part of the game to come into the stage "cold".

For others - they may only be comfortable if they are as fully prepared as possible.

 

I spend the evening before big matches with my shooter book and pen - clarifying sweeps, direction of movement, position choices, etc. 

Pages full of arrows and round counts on target.

Attempting to prepare myself.

 

If the stages are available to ALL to review - no one will be forced to look at them; but it allows everyone the opportunity to play their best version of the game.

 

When I have been a Posse Marshal at larger shoots - I always gave the same speech to the posse before starting.

 

"This is a championship match - and while not everyone expects to win;  everyone here is hoping to perform at their very best. 

And if the shooter is trying to do their best; then they deserve your very best when you are spotting, timing or assisting."

 

This opportunity for everyone to perform at their personal best was always of utmost importance to me.

And I carried it into match direction as well.

 

 

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After reading the above I would like to suggest that it is not the target sequence but the transitions and props that make a difference.

Some clubs have unique props that require "action" during the stage, opening a door, shooting through bars or sitting in an out-house.  The locals clearly have an advantage.  Publishing a "stick diagram" prior to the match does not help much.  On the other hand, publishing prior does warn the shooters AND then they can try to mimic the action required for that stage.  Another example could be a split shotgun or pistols allowing shooters movement either left or right.  Knowing this prior would allow shooters a chance to practice and potentially become a safer shooter.  How many times have you seen a right-handed shooter more from right to left and with shotgun or pistol and sweep the spotters on the left? 

If the stages are plain then no need to publish.  If the stages have unique elements then publishing would be reasonable.

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Long range when the target distances ain't posted, is an advantage for the home club.

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2 hours ago, a d said:

...I personally think its really unfair for a local club to shoot the exact stages for an annual match or above

in the months leading up to the event...

 

By far, my preference is to avoid any appearance of unfairness, real or imagined, whenever possible.  As Creeker mentioned, it's a good idea to include stages that are known to work.  Over a period of time, test them out on your range prior to the "big match", but I really don't think it's appropriate for a home club to practice a match in advance.

 

Additionally, I don't think it's appropriate that "workers" have an opportunity to shoot a match prior to the other competitors.  If I should manage to outshoot an opponent, I certainly would not want them to think it was because I had an advantage due to the weather (or whatever conditions) being more favorable "last week" when I shot.  There are work-arounds to the "worker posse" that might not be convenient, but, in my opinion they are definitely worth the dividend.

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Jackalope said:

 

Additionally, I don't think it's appropriate that "workers" have an opportunity to shoot a match prior to the other shooters.


I agree.  I don’t like pre-shooting for score and I don’t like shoot-throughs.  But usually I am not given a choice.

 

As a member of the club hosting a big match (state championship) I am usually faced with choosing to shoot with a posse and not performing duties assigned by the club or not competing at all so I can be a match “official “.  In black powder categories weather is a significant factor and I don’t like accepting a plaque for a score shot before the main match, possibly under better conditions.

 

This is one of the reasons I wish my home club would never host a big match!! But some/many folks think that is desirable!!

Edited by J-BAR #18287
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Gee!

If you would listen to some folks...... The stage writer would win every match!

 

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It's asking a lot to have the people who worked to set up an annual or bigger match to not compete. It depends on how the responsibilities are divided but if the workers can't shoot with the regular possies then why not have them shoot the day before the main match.  The people who worked setting up are probably more tired too.

 

But you must make sure they shoot the same match officiated just as stringently as the main match.

 

Weather can be a factor no matter what you do. They might shoot in better conditions or worse conditions. Even on main match days if its nice during the morning and rains in the afternoon shooters on different stages will be impacted differently. 

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A few years back I was lucky enough to be range master for the NE Regional, we had the stages written early in the year, we shot all of them at 3 different clubs over the 3 or 4 months before the Great Nor'Easter.  No one other than myself and the Match Director knew we were shooting regional stages.  The feedback from shooters, and scorecards was invaluable to fixing issues, before a major match.   It allowed us to correct "P" traps we did not anticipate, among other issues, and some wording of stage directions.   

So in short, if the RM and MD use monthly matches leading up to a major match to test drive stages I think it leads to a better received major match. 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Ace_of_Hearts said:

Gee!

If you would listen to some folks...... The stage writer would win every match!

 

I can't count on both hands and most toes how many "P's" I have gotten from stae I have written, set up, read and then shot, wrong! 

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Pre-shoots were an item that I forbade when I was running Eldorado.

For two reasons:

One, the workers bust their hind ends to put together this match - they DESERVE to get to shoot it mixed in with their friends and fellow posse members.

Two, I never managed to win the Cadillac at either Eldorado or Dam Site - but I always tried.  I never wanted anyones (including my own) performance to be questioned or dismissed because it took place on a different day or under different conditions.  

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Lots and LOTS of posts I agree with here.  A few of the biggies:

 

Creeker having every stage from the state match included in monthly matches throughout the year but don't tell anybody which ones.  That's the sign of a darn good Match Director right there.  A Match Director that wants to put together a great match by testing the stages before hand.  A Match Director that wants every single shooter to shoot their best match.  

 

Creeker studying the Shooter's Handbook the night before.  I find carefully going over each stage in a relaxed atmosphere with no time limit allows me to put together a much better game plan than either showing up cold or shooting the stages at anytime before the current match.

 

Widder saying practicing a particular stage can actually hurt performance more than it helps.  I find that if I shoot a stage before the current match I tend to develop unrealistic expectations during the match.  For instance, if I shot it in 20 seconds and clean in a practice session I SHOULD be able to shoot it in 19 seconds and clean during the match, right? WRONG! We all know how ridiculous that is but it's a mental trap I seem to fall into.  Best way to prevent this was mentioned above. Study the Handbook the night before and come up with a solid game plan and focus on that, nothing else. 

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I think a number of folks believe that 'Big Match Stages' are set up thru the year (or months) leading

up to the big match in order for local shooters to practice those stages.

 

In reality, I think MD's evaluate the stages at monthly matches for considerations

in being used in the Big Yearly matches.

 

I have, on occasion, mentioned to the MD or club prez that such-n-such stage would make

a great stage for a big match.   And likewise,  I've mentioned to MD or club prez that

a certain stage was bad and had many 'P's on it.

Those good folks would comment that those stages would be looked at for 'P' traps and

probably not used  again without modifying it to elliminate such traps.

 

What I'm saying is:   Monthly matches aren't established on whats going to be in the Big Match.

A good MD establishes the BIG MATCH based on what has worked well during the monthly

matches, such as elimination of 'P' traps,  average times on the stages (for posse flow), etc.....

 

Just my opinion.

 

..........Widder

 

 

 

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Regarding shooting ahead or shoot through, I find that I do a little better shooting through. As a worker or match dr.  at a state match, when shooting ahead my mind was always on what still needed to be done and all the other stressful things you think about at that time.  When shooting through, almost everything is already set so that I can think about my shooting. As for an advantage, before I started running matches I was a middle of the pack shooter. After I started having more responsibilty I quickly moved nearer to the bottom.

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