Shooting Goals

One of the most important thing you can do as a competitive shooter is to set goals for yourself – measurable, achievable goals that you actually take the time to write down, and then actually reference to see what your progress is on those goals.  By setting benchmarks and standards for yourself in practice and in competition, you can measure your progress as a shooter and see what areas you need to focus your training.  For example, here are my goals for the 2009 season, with “completed” goals in italics.

  1. Shoot expert class in IDPA SSP
  2. Shoot a 1500 at the Bianchi Cup (I just missed this one)
  3. Win 2 State level IDPA Championships in CDP
  4. Shoot respectable times at the 2009 Steel Challenge
  5. Shoot the IDPA Winter National Championship (early 2010)
  6. Shoot a sub 7 second El Presidente with my CDP gun

I actually have a more complete list of my training and shooting goals, which is constantly being added to or having goals removed as I meet them; for next year I’ve added a new scoring benchmark for Bianchi Cup, as well as other items.

In setting goals, and then posting them in a public place, it also helps increase the accountability factor.  I can’t for example fudge and say I completely my Bianchi Cup by shooting a 1458, because that’s 42 points shy of what I wanted to shoot even if it is “close”.  Like they say, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Set goals for yourself, and then share those goals with someone you trust.  Train to meet those goals, and you’ll be a better shooter for it.


  1. That is interesting… I think of things a bit differently since I just shoot a lot and don’t notice where I’m classified or ranked in things. I’m not very good with “external validation.”

    Instead of focusing on “outside goals”, like attaining a “level” based on the statistics of others, I focus a lot of my time on developing the fundamentals and trying to stay relaxed. I’m only as good as I am.

    I tend If I’m moving up ranks or “winning” (I shoot in the bush leagues) then that is because, I feel, I’m doing my fundamental things “right.”

    In the end it is all shooting…

  2. Less, I think a lot of it has to do with what motivates a person. Me for example, I tend to be motivated by external forces, i.e. comparing my skills to the skills of others.
    So in my practice, I focus on executing the fundamentals, but I do it with the goal of improving my skills towards successful completion of my stated goal.

  3. I haven’t read that stuff, but what’s interesting is that it follows my goal setting procedures pretty much exactly. I pick a specific goal, such as winning the IDPA CDP division at Steel Challenge, which has a definite time frame on it, since Steel Challenge is in August, and then I train for it by specifically practicing the skills necessary to be successful at that discipline.

  4. Joe, right now my best time was a 5.99 clean run, which I shot with my 16-40. That was kind of a fluke, because my average run time is somewhere around 7 or 8 seconds. So getting under 7 seconds with a single stack 1911 would be pretty slick.

  5. The 5.99 was done on Steel targets at 10 yards. My best time on paper is 7.23, and that was with one 0.5 second penalty for a hit outside the IDPA a-zone.

  6. Congrats on getting Expert in SSP. Definitely not an easy task. That is one thing that is nice about the IDPA Classifier. It allows you to measure your skill not against anyone else, but against a standard. That standard works as a development scale which provides short term and long term feedback.

    Competition is what we measure ourselves against others in, but the classification is not measured against anyone but ourselves.

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