Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Train to Win: An Overview

I intend to write on the training blog, ShadyMtnTips.blogstop.com,  a series of posts on training to win. The training blog is intended for Alleluia shooters, those that adhere to the Alleluia Training and Competition System.  I appreciate comments from folks who say they read my posts. I think there may be more Alleluia shooters out there than one thinks since I have given the site to a few folks.  My purpose is to help the sport become what it should be, a sport where matches are determined by speed, not chance.  If you would like to acknowledge being an Alleluia shooter, please do so, it keeps me writing. It may also help you win, I think the Alleluia shooter may be somewhat feared.

I know there are a couple of Alleluia shooters, 8 and 10 years old, that have shot here in the Valley of the Sun and are affectionately known as ringers. I take them and fund their jackpot shoots because I know they can compete with the best there is in the Valley of the Sun.  They are Alleluia shooters and we don't practice missing!

Back to the overview, the posts will be on the training blog and will deal with the four main factors of cowboy fast draw: mental toughness, luck of the draw,  accuracy, and quickness, in the order of their importance. The fifth posts will deal with where a shooter can make the most gain and how to determine that.  I need to get some permissions for that post.

The first post on mental toughness will draw on the experience at the Colorado State and Four Corner Shoots.  I only know what I learn from experience.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Update on Alleluia Regiment

I post as an update on my last post. Colorado State is in the books. I shot below average the first day but that was good enough to be clean after day one.  The majority of my opponents were master gunfighters competitors.  I shot much better the second day which is to be expected using the Alleluia system. Of 22 matches, I had only one poor match which I think was more due to fatigue than anything else. By my definition, I was a 5 flat shooter. (.45 to .55 hitting 80%) I was seeded 5th and finished 5th. But for that one poor match (I was just whipped), I would have been seeded 2nd.

There are others competing using the system that shot well. If they would care to comment they may. The training blog is ShadyMtnTips.blogspot.com.  If you are just starting shooting read from the first post in May of 2016.

Don't be mislead, the training is based on speed training only, not accuracy.

Today starts the Four Corner Territorial.  I probably will fall flat on my face, but that is what happens in this sport. Will post another update whatever happens. 

Further Update: After the first day of the Four Corners Territorial, five of the top eight shooters have a connection with Shady Mtn, with two other Shady Mtn and Camp shooters in the 35 remaining shooters.  The wheels may fall off today, that is the way this sport is, but it is a pretty good bet that more than 40% (as in Colorado State) of the magnificent shooters will be from Shady Mtn.

Shooting the Alleluia system, I again improved.  Yesterday was the fourth day in a row that my shooting improved, but that is what I expect from the system.  It is progressive.  You  should improve the more you shoot. That is the way we practice and that is the way we should shoot in competition.  Over 7 matches, I shot better than 80% at mid 4 speed. I improved throughout the day finishing with 4 wins in 13 shots.

Today will be a tough day because we (Shady Mtn) will start to draw each other. We know each other so well that if all seven would rate the field of Shady shooters, we would probably rate the field in the exact same order.  Today is a mental toughness day.  How we place between ourselves will be determined on mental toughness, not speed, not accuracy, not luck of the draw, but on who is the toughest gunfighter. Each of us must put our history behind us and just say "I ain't missing, bring me the next shooter!"

"Beware the Alleluia shooter, we don't practice missing! "  "Beware of Shady Mtn and the Camp!"

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Alleluia Regiment

I write this post as a prep talk for those trying the Alleluia Training and Competition System.  For the last week I have been up in the Coconino National Forest with no timers or targets, so I did bucket work. Shot 190 rounds over five sessions consuming about 30 rounds of wax.

I thought the Rio match on Saturday would be a good indication whether the bucket work helped. Overall, I shot below average right around 60% but that was good enough to win the event.  Good enough because the system is progressive. In 4 of my last 5 matches I hit 100%. The system is designed to be progressive.  The more you shoot the better you shoot.  Your bucket work is progressive.  You may start out at 40-50%, but by the end of the session you should be at 100%, all without trying to improve accuracy. It should all be subconscious.

In each match we walk our hits to the light. First shot is a guess on alignment.  We then go through our physical routine, our mental routine, do our waggle, then wait as a loaded spring for the light. Second shot on the target. Again pre-shot routine. Next shot closer to the light.  Walking the hits to the light.  In each match we should be getting better and better. Just as in our practice, during each 5 shot string we are improving with each shot.

The hard alignment problem is the elevation. For locked elbow shooters that is generally a matter of balance.  It is something you just have to learn as the day goes on.  Just as in our training sessions, your balance should improve at the day goes on. The more you shoot during an event, the better your balance will be.

Saturday, my last three opponents were on average 50 milliseconds  quicker than me. None of them hit a shot while I was in my "I ain't missing, bring me another shooter" mode. Flusters!  They got flustered while I was shooting the Alleluia system of getting progressively more accurate with each shot.

The system works well in a shoot-off environment because you have a set routine of physical and mental processes to go through with each shot.  It is a guard against flusters. Against The Draw I did get flustered because of the history between us. He gave me an X at the 2016 Nationals .398 to .399.  I wanted to beat him on time so bad my first shot was right over the top. But then back to the system of walking the hits to the light, next two hits within 6 inches of light. Then I had a flyer probably a up 2 hits fluster.  Then back to the system for the win.

Some cardinal rules off the system:

Never ever slow down!

Never ever change your draw in an event!
Never ever think about your draw!
Never ever think about hitting!
Never ever think about speed!

Your quickest draw is your most accurate!

" The researchers ... suggest....that skilled performers have engaged in greater quantities of 'deliberate practice,' the kind of effortful exercises that strain the capacity of the trainee. In other words the kind of practice that often is done solitary."    The Sports Gene

For new shooters or those who want to seriously try the system I do have a training blog. I give the site out upon request.  Alleluia Ruah

Friday, June 2, 2017

Lessons from an 8 year old and an Oldtimer

We had a few free days up on the Rim in the Coconino National Forest before the monthly Pioneer Shoot so I and Lil James headed into Jack's Canyon to tune up a bit.  We each shot 50 rounds on Thursday, mostly speed work, and then 50 on Friday.

Lil James put 15 on the target. He then did a drill where he draws, fires, reholsters, draws, fires, reholsters, draws, fires and reholsters for 5 rounds.  I think he was down under 3 seconds, maybe 2, for 5 rounds. We did that for 15 rounds.  The point of the drill is to finalize your draw.  You are repeating the draw over and over with no time to think about it.  It is all from the subconscience.  No time to think.  Just draw and fire.

Our next drill was to wave a stick behind the shooter casting a shadow across the target and drawing on the shadow.  This stimulated drawing on the light without the light. The next drill was to stand side by side and I would call out "Shooter on the line, Shooter set" and then "Go" and see which shooter would hit the target first.

All of this work was done at 6 feet on a cardboard target where you see every shot.  I doubt many other shooters shot 100 rounds to get ready for the Saturday's match, but if they did, most would do it on the light and would miss more that half the time.  While other shooters may see 30 to 40 hits, Lil James saw 100 hits.  He was chunking data.

I made a mistake on Friday and put a 6 inch target on the cardboard.  Lil James being a head strong kid refused to do any speed work.  He was determined to put 50 rounds into that circle. I didn't press the issue knowing he was going to be the slowest shooter at Pioneer.

Saturday at Pioneer, Lil James missed only one shot in his first three matches. He lost all three matches to faster shooters.  He was getting a little down, but it was a good life lesson for him.  Even when you do your best, sometimes you are going to lose.  He just kept putting the wax on the iron.  He won his next three matches, which seeded him #1 in bracket C and in the money. Another life lesson, if you just keep battling good things will happen.

Now fast forward one week to the Kansas State Championship Category matches.  Probably the toughest category is the Old Timers category.  There maybe faster shooters elsewhere, but it was the only category with a Black Badge in it with seasoned veterans such as Little Kazzie, Luckey 45, Jayhawker in addition to the top four.  Speed does not win gunfights, gunfighters win gunfights.  A relatively new shooter, a Rio Salado Vaquero, a 9 flat shooter (8.5 to 9.5 at 60% or better) Smoken Hank is the new Old Timer Champion.  Of the top four he put out down in order, Everett, Deacon, and Short Keg.

That same old life lesson.  If you keep putting the wax on the iron, good things will happen.

Ain't this sport great!  And to think some want to take the gunfight out of the sport!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Serious Response

I write because Kodiak mentioned my response in his post.  I intend to be helpful to all, the individual and the organizations, both CFDA and World...Gunfighters. If my comments are helpful used them if not disregard. I do not want to be a "can't" person.

I think it is wise not to have classifications in your new organization. From what the old timers tell me classifications almost destroy fast draw once before. In the February event where you had two classifications, one of which was labeled with a degrading term, there were 5 or 6 shooters in our club who would have qualified for the second classification, one of which was a .370 shooter.  None of the others competed because we knew the .370 shooter would compete in the second classification.  All six of those shooters can tell you how the six will finish in a contest based purely on speed, we shoot enough together, and the ranking would be identical.  

I don't think the .370 rule is helpful to your organization.  Why not just make it an "open" event.  The format and rules really limit the competition to .31 and below, so what is the benefit to the .370 rule.  It makes it appear that you don't want to compete against certain gunslingers. I know you don't like losing to a .43 shooter but is that loss any worst than a loss to the .34 shooter. An X is an X, hit the target and you don't have to worry about it. I think the .370 rule may prevent some growth.  What about the up and comers.  For example, we have some shooters in our club who are low 4 shooters but who have recently shot down into the .34s.  They are probably not going to come if all or most of their shots are not going to count, but they might come if not faced with the .370 rule.  And you never know, you might get a few like me who are deluded enough to think that they see some easy pickens especially at 14 feet.

I assume the move to 14 feet is again to help with accuracy.  Why not move to 10 feet. You and I both believe in close work.  If accuracy does not matter then move as close to the target as is safe.  We have shot a lot at 5 feet and know that to be safe, but to be conservative, move to 10 feet.  The point of the big target and close range is to eliminate accuracy as a factor, then do so by moving to 10 feet.

CFDA Shooters Beware!  For those that continue to shoot CFDA, you need to be aware that while blockers may help you go fast they may also hurt your competitiveness in CFDA.  I think it is reasonable to ask why a 3 flat shooter (.25 to .35 at better than 60%) loses in the National Championship to a 4 flat shooter (.35 to .45 at better than 60%). It may be that the 4 flat shooter practises mental toughness while the 3 flat shooter has moved on to competitions where mental toughness and accuracy are not a factor.

A Blocker Proposal:  You need to develop a base from which to draw competitors. It is obvious that there are shooters who want to shoot blockers but are not quite at .30 speed yet. They clamour for classifications but that creates problems. Since you are using most of the rules of CFDA create something that works for the CFDA competitor.  

How about this:
1. Shoot from 10 feet;
2. Paint a 10 inch circle on the center of the target.  A hit in the 10 inch circle or touching it the shooter's time is divided by 2. You hit a .29 on the corner, I hit a .44 in the center, I win .22 to .29. You hit .29 in center you win.  This would be the scoring for the "Open".
3. "Open"  Everyone compete against everyone in a round robin event.  Open to everyone.
4. After the seeding rounds top seven shoot off for the "Open" Championship using open scoring.
5. After the open championship the top seven with the quickest times shoot off in a Magnificent Seven Master's Championship.

What do you think? Helpful or not?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Illusions, Flusters and "just another cowboy"!

We all have illusions. I have commented in the past about how the luck of the draw creates the illusion that we are better than we are. The illusion of speed is easily observed and documented. In the final match of the National Championship and in the final match of the Arizona State Championship not a single shot was won by quickness. Although four of the fastest gunfighters were involved, speed was not determinative, it was completely irrelevant in both of those match. Because the competitors were quick the tendency is to think that speed decided the match. It is an illusion!

If speed did not decide the match one might think that accuracy did.  That would be an illusion also. All four of the shooters were accurate enough to win otherwise they would not have made it to the finals. But accuracy did not decide those matches, if it would have both matches would have been over in 3 shots which was not the case. 

What decided the championships was flusters.  The winner of those championships was the gunslinger who best managed flusters.  The mentally tougher gunfighter won.

This years Southern Championship was decided in a gunfight.  Quickness was determinative in that championship, a match between the quickest gun there and a brand new shooter in his first event who was the slowest male shooter there.  The match went down to the final shot tied 2-2.  The brand new shooter came within a shot of winning the championship (I am sure there is a bit of illusion there for him).

While speed gets way too much credit, it is a factor that effects flusters.  When we come up again a shooter that is perceived as being substantially quicker, we many times change our routine and become flustered. The lack of speed and perceived accuracy of a slower shooter may have the same effect.  That explains how a brand new shooter can make it to the number one seed at a titled territorial.

On a personal note, of my 8 losses in titled matches, flusters were involved in 60 % of those matches.  Two of those matches were against quicker opponents whom I should have dispatched with ease.

There is a scene in Appaloosa where a cowboy laments that Virgil is "just another cowboy," where upon Virgil asks his deputy what do you think and the deputy responds " ....I don't think you're just another cowboy!"

If I can ever get the flusters under control, hopefully I won't be just another cowboy!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Entertainment or Sport?

I had some interesting banter with Kodiak that highlights the issue of whether we are in the entertainment business or a sport.  He is hosting an event this weekend called the World Fastest Professional Gunfighters.  I wish him and his organization well and hope they have great success. He asks whether I would prefer to watch Carl Lewis or some jogger. Of course, the answer is neither.

If you want to participate in the entertainment business that is world class long distance running you must be born in East Africa and not just anywhere in East Africa but to a certain specific tribe in East Africa. The Sports Gene. That entertainment venue is limited to a very few individuals of specific genes.  However, thousand participate in the sport of long distance running, from the 15 minute miler to the 4 minute miler.

A sport is a character building activity.  It is where one struggles against adversity and in the process gets stronger physically, mentally and in character.

CFDA is a sport, not an entertainment venue. Entertainment venues will be limited to very few participants. Sports are for those who want to participate and not just watch. You have to have the courage to compete. I hope that all that speed in Reno stay in our sport because we are better for it.  Unfortunately, I know that some will not, for whatever reason.

Can't help myself. Come shoot with me, I am not that tough!