Training question

A lot of athletes in the shooting sports are technically multi-sport athletes, competing in several different types of the shooting games. For example, a shooter who in the course of a single calendar year competes at Bianchi Cup, Steel Challenge, and USPSA Nationals is a multi-sport athlete. Now, I know that most of the top pros will take time before each of these matches to specially prepare for them in the case of Steel Challenge and the Cup; and perhaps I’ve answered my own question.

Photo by Yamil Sued, courtesy IDPA
Photo by Yamil Sued, courtesy IDPA

However, what if you’re not a top professional shooter? Let’s say that you’re registered to compete in a bunch of USPSA and IDPA matches throughout the season, but your big match is Production Nationals in October. But between now and then, you have two IDPA majors on your calendar. So the question is should you train for the IDPA matches by using IDPA gear and equipment during your dry fire training and practice time, or should you train specifically for the “big” match, because the majority of the skills will transfer over?

I think it’s an interesting question, because when you look to the “real” sports community there are two mindsets. On the one hand, you have track and field athletes whose primary race is, say the 100 yard dash, but also run the 200. Some coaches split training time between two events, and some focus primarily on the athlete’s best event. It’s not a “one size fits all” solution.

This isn’t a purely hypothetical question for me; I’ll be shooting my 4th IDPA Nationals in September, and returning to Custom Defensive Pistol. In CDP I’ve finished 4th Master at the 2012 Indoor Nationals running a Glock 21, and 9th overall at the 2011 Carolina Cup running a 1911. So the question for me is whether or not I should focus all my training on using my IDPA gear and targets and then shoot the USPSA matches knowing that most of the skills will transfer over. My gut instinct is to focus my training on the match I care most about, but my gut instinct has also led me to do foolish things in the past.

What are you thoughts? Train for IDPA and shoot USPSA as organized, more difficult practice, or split my training between the two sports?


  1. I’m not the biggest IDPA fan, and aren’t too worried about their rules. When I shoot an IDPA match, I focus on accuracy. Down zero on every target is my goal, regardless of time. I watch my fundamentals, shooting position, sight picture, etc. I have found that it improves my USPSA scores when it’s time to hose targets and go fast.

  2. Focus on the idpa and shoot clean matches, I find I leave the uspsa speed on in idpa and while shooting 85-90% As I still drop C’s and that’s good scoring but the time in idpa especial compared to a uspsa major scoring division

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: