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.
- Shoot expert class in IDPA SSP
- Shoot a 1500 at the Bianchi Cup (I just missed this one)
- Win 2 State level IDPA Championships in CDP
- Shoot respectable times at the 2009 Steel Challenge
- Shoot the IDPA Winter National Championship (early 2010)
- 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.