Are you comfortable shooting at your local club, but haven’t shot anywhere else?
Go shoot somewhere else. Big match or little match, go shoot someplace different than your home club.
One of the attractive things about USPSA is that you can go anywhere in the country and shoot using the same rules, following the same guidelines, and staffed by Range Officials trained under the same structure. When I first started shooting, I traveled as much as I could for matches. I saw different range designs and bays, different steel targets and moving target activators, and different shooters from all over the country.
Having said that, I knew exactly what the rules were, what was expected of me as a shooter, and what to expect from the match staff. Everywhere I went there were different things and different people, but the rules were the same. I learned a bunch of things at other ranges (including some things I brought to my home range).
I just got the chance to shoot the Area 1 Match in Billings Montana, and once again got to see another organization and crew run an incredibly smooth and efficient match. I took notes. I took pictures. I asked questions and I paid attention. I saw a lot of things I had not seen before, and an incredible level of planning and preparation. Match Directors Matt and Tami Waite put together a great match, and I believe that I am a better Match Director because of this learning experience with them.
Last June I shot/worked the New Hampshire State Match. Again, new range, new crew, new MD/RM but a similar experience in terms of seeing different ways of doing things. Host range restrictions and match breakdown requirements were significant, but the whole team rolled with it. MD Devin McManus and RM Dave Bold had to deal with a bunch of restrictions and weather issues, but still executed a great match. I saw different challenges than I was used to seeing, but again they were handled smoothly.
Every club has its own circumstances (local range rules, bay restrictions, staff and prop availability, etc.) but we are all working towards the same goals and using the same rulebook. We all have slightly different ways of doing business and can all afford to learn something. Whether it means shooting a Nationals or an Area Match, or just rolling further down the road than you are used to going for a neighboring local match, you will become a better shooter and Match Official by shooting someplace besides your local club. Busting out of your comfort zone and hitting a new club is a great way to learn and grow as a shooter and as a match official.
Get out there and shoot somewhere else!
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