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This business of "bagging" classifiers


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#1 Sam

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 08:21 PM

There is only one mind-set I ever want to have when shooting a classifier. It's the same mindset I have if I'm shooting at a match. I want control. I don't want to push beyond what I can observe myself doing on demand, anytime, anywhere.

Grand bagging and sandbagging are just labels. For me, an example of grandbagging would be shooting several "hopers" on a speed-shoot classifier because I figure that's what I'd have to do to get a 95% score. If I'm out there beyond what I can see and call, I've started grandbagging. And I have done this on occasion. Your definition might be different than mine, that's OK.

I don't think I have ever "sandbagged" any stage, classifier or other wise. I'm just too competitive to accept that. But, if I go out and shoot about 85% of max speed, I don't think that it's sandbagging at all. Because, depending on no-shoots and stuff, that's how I shoot some stages in important matches. We have all seen those stages that we just want to survive.

It's all just perception really. Most of it is other people's perception. And that means other people's judgement. I say, "their judgement, their problem!"

The truth is, that if you go into a major match with a card in your wallet that you think you haven't honestly earned, you are going to feel pressure to shoot like you did on those classifiers you "grandbagged". Does anybody think "launching hopers" is a match winning strategy? Guess what? You've just grandbagged yourself into a crappy result! ;)

Likewise, if you see some guy in your classification that you believe is a sandbagging scum because he is so much better than the rest of you mortals, then you are beaten already. You just sandbagged yourself! That's what happens when you worry about outcomes instead of paying attention to the shooting.

Yes, I accept that grandbagging and sandbagging do exist in our sport. As far as the effect this will have on my shooting, it's totally irrelevant.


(But, I sure hope the guy I'm competing against is all tore up about it.) :lol:
The world can appear to be so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers, and even cities; but to know someone here and there who thinks and feels along with us, and though distant, is close to us in kindred spirit - this makes the earth seem like a 'peopled garden.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

#2 Flexmoney

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 09:11 PM

That's what happens when you worry about outcomes instead of paying attention to the shooting.

That's what happens when you worry about outcomes instead of paying attention to the shooting.
Thank you,

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#3 scotty

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 10:47 PM

Sam, good words!
In my mind, my shooting ability is based on what I can do right now, on demand, today, with the equipment I have immediately at hand. I don't worry about circumstances such as what classifiers have been shot in the past, the letter on the card in my pocket, or the alignment of the planets. I am my own toughest competitor.
Situations such as no shoots, hardcover, or whatever are things that I must slow down for as necessary. Each stage is its own entity. I always shoot each one the best I can.
You may want to take this with a grain of salt, as it comes from a solid C class shooter.

#4 Duane Thomas

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 04:49 AM

CONFESSIONS OF A REFORMED GRANDBAGGER

At one time I was a fan of the concept of grandbagging (shooting classifiers more than once) because I saw it as a spur to fast improvement. IOW you have to improve once you move up to the next highest class or you're going to get your head handed to you - and then the same with the next class above that and so on.

I've since changed my mind. A couple of very good shooters, Ron Avery in one of his Front Sight articles and Bruce Gray in a personal conversation, made the comment they thought grandbagging "degraded the ethos" of IPSC. At first I didn't understand that, but now I do. When I first started getting into USPSA, I got some instruction from a guy who had a Master card. And I was very excited about that. But then I watched him shoot and my reaction was, "Geez, this guy isn't that much better than me." Then (and I won't be going into specifics) I found out how he got his Master card, and it wasn't through having a classifier percentage of 85-plus. Then I understood why his skill level didn't match my expections, of the awed whispers in which I'd heard the USPSA/IPSC Master class shooter's skill level referenced. It was because he wasn't a real Master class shooter.

People like that do degrade the ethos of USPSA/IPSC Master & Grand Master class shooters. Because when anyone sees a Master or GM shoot, their skill level should absolutely blow the observer's mind. People who have the card but not the on-demand skill level damage that image.

Tom Kettels (Master class shooter, current full-time cop and former Area One champion) recently told me, "The way to approach classifiers is that they're no big deal. Don't try, don't shoot faster than you know you can get good hits. Just shoot it the way you shoot the rest of the match. And when you can do that and you get a new card in the mail, that's when you're ready to move up."

Sounds good to me.
Pride and fear are emotions, which hope for an outcome. Outcomes take your attention from the present, where the shooting happens, to the future. It is totally impossible to do anything in the future, because it hasn't happened yet. The key to shooting your best is to be present as the witness of the shooting. Do not judge, do not give yourself anything to live up to. We can only shoot as well as we have trained ourselves to shoot. To try to shoot only induces stress. Be content with your current ability. And accumulate practice to improve that ability. Consolidate, build strength where you feel weakness. We cannot raise our ability until we accept our current limitations. Practice dissolves limitations. Matches simply define where the current limits exist. The game of shooting is all about redefining our limits.
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#5 Sam

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 06:16 AM

Flex, the top three things I have learnt at BE.com. : :rolleyes:




That's what happens when you worry about outcomes instead of paying attention to the shooting.




That's what happens when you worry about outcomes instead of paying attention to the shooting.

THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WORRY ABOUT OUTCOMES INSTEAD OF PAYING ATTENTION TO THE SHOOTING!

Outcome being defined in this instance as getting a ____ classification card.


Duane, thanks for backing me up with that quote from Tom K. That's essentially what I was trying to say in all my rambling. This time last year, I figured 2004 was the year to get my GM card. But life holds many wonderful surprises. And along the way, I discovered the incredible power and freedom inherent in simply enjoying where I am........ mentally, physically, spiritually. Wanting anything, beyond what I've already been blessed with, is........well it's just sad.
The world can appear to be so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers, and even cities; but to know someone here and there who thinks and feels along with us, and though distant, is close to us in kindred spirit - this makes the earth seem like a 'peopled garden.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

#6 kurtm

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 06:40 AM

Confessions of a "sandbagger"???

I have only been a member of USPSA for a year and a half, I only joined so I could go to the European Shotgun Championships in August of 2003. I found that in the area I moved to that the USPSA club was nice so I decided to reup! I didn't let them turn in My classifiers, because of a disagreement with IPSC on shotgun classification ( why would a GM with a pistol automatically be a GM with a shotgun??, there is NO classification system for shotgun!) I digress. I am turning them in now. Here is the problem, since I am STILL unclassified, I have been tagged with the "sandbagger" title, even though I tell the clubs I shoot at that if I win Unclassified GIVE the award to a new shooter, ( I tell them this right at sign up). I am usually in the top 5 at the local matches ( pistol) and can win occasionally. Classifiers mean absolutly nothing to me, and I just shoot them like all the other stages. I couldn't care less about My USPSA ranking, because my main push is in 3-gun. ( a fringe benifit of being a USPSA member is that I can now shoot in state and national 3-gun competitions, that are USPSA sanctioned, whoo-hoo) Do we have a 3-gun classification?? NO! Yet when I show up and beat the Ms and GMs occasionally, I am labeled a "cheatin sandbagger". How can someone that is U be sandbagging?? Perhaps you guys can shead some light on this for me. KURTM
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#7 Sam

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 06:46 AM

kurtm, tell the whiners:

THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WORRY ABOUT OUTCOMES INSTEAD OF PAYING ATTENTION TO THE SHOOTING!


:lol:
The world can appear to be so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers, and even cities; but to know someone here and there who thinks and feels along with us, and though distant, is close to us in kindred spirit - this makes the earth seem like a 'peopled garden.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

#8 Ron Ankeny

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 08:56 PM

kurtm:

In my opinion, shooting unclassified is about as pure as a person can be. No labels, no predisposed notions of performance, none of that crap at all. An unclassified shooter is shooting for high overall and that's pretty cool.


I feel Sam's post grew out of a long conversation we had last evening. For a couple of years, I treated the classification system as a huge postal match. I got that idea right off of the USPSA Website. I have a lot of classifiers on file that were shot out of control and on the ragged edge. Shooting with an "all or none" attitude is the normal approach around these parts and I fell right in step. Thankfully, I eventually grew into the M card, and I when I am OK physically I shoot pretty well.

A lot of my perceptions of the worthiness (or the lack thereof) of holding an M class card came out of me actually caring what people think. I have come full circle. Why in the hell should I have to live up to any other shooter's expectations? If I have a crappy day (and that happens) that doesn't tarnish the images of all M class shooters and it shouldn't make me feel less worthy. For example, today was a sum bitch. I shot 4 classifiers and zeroed two of them and only got about a 50% on the third one. The fourth one was OK. It's nobody's business why things went to hell, and I no longer care about the perception of other shooters.

Life is too short to be concerned with worry, debate, and turmoil over a sport that is supposed to be fun. My physician once told me, "You need to resign yourself to the fact that as you age you will no longer physically enjoy a quality life." Well guess what sports fans? I shoot to improve the quality of my life. I refuse to let the classification system, the perception of others, or self induced "pressure to perform" to interfere with my happiness. It's time to just shut up and shoot. :P
Train attention inefficiently, and that error will compound itself under pressure.
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#9 John Dunn

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 05:22 AM

Shooting is supposed to be fun. I shot the world's most fubar Bang and Clang yesterday (13 seconds, with a reload!) in L-10 after my "cold" run was 3.03 seconds clean in Limited. I had to laugh at my own stupidity. I wanted to shoot it under 3 seconds (trying), the RO remarked that my draw seemed slower than normal (I'll show him!) What an abortion! :o

Just shoot your best, calling your shots as you go. Someday I'll learn.
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#10 Sam

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 07:35 AM

I feel Sam's post grew out of a long conversation we had last evening.



That's it exactly, Ron. I started this thread in hopes of helping people understand where the pressure comes from. After seeing the number of shooters that replied to your "Paper GM" thread, I felt that a lot of folks are pondering this question.

John, you are totally right, we do this for fun! (I can't wait for you to get your M card so I can show you the secret handshake that I swore upon the honor of my ancestors never to revel to any mortal.)

I shot the world's most fubar Bang and Clang yesterday (13 seconds, with a reload!)

Robin says to tell you to turn the magazine around the right way in the pouch.
The world can appear to be so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers, and even cities; but to know someone here and there who thinks and feels along with us, and though distant, is close to us in kindred spirit - this makes the earth seem like a 'peopled garden.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

#11 John Dunn

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 08:07 AM

That Robin's a keeper!
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#12 Nik Habicht

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 03:19 PM

That's what happens when you worry about outcomes instead of paying attention to the shooting.

That's what happens when you worry about outcomes instead of paying attention to the shooting.

Sam,
Terrific quote. All year long I've been competing with two friends in C class in Production. (As an aside, you probably met them at the ITRC.) We keep going back and forth on winning our class. Often the results are close --- like less than five points separating first and second. When Phil (who really ought to have his B card by now) has a great match he can dust Keith and I by 50-100 match points. We're having a lot of fun, egging each other on, and busting each other's chops. We shot a five stage match yesterday, and when the results arrived I'd won my class by more than fifty points. First time I've won by that much --- and it surprised me. So what was different about this match? (Other than that Keith and Phil helped me out by missing targets and occasionally taking longer to shoot a stage than I? And that rarely happens --- they're skinny, in shape and quick, but I digress)
When the buzzer went off, I was focused on one thing only --- the shooting. I didn't expect to win, I didn't want to win, I just wanted to shoot the stage.

Now, how to bottle this feeling, so I can get my B card at Friday's four classifier special? :lol: :lol: (That's not going to happen --- because I do want that, and so far haven't figured out how to let that want go. Until I do, no B card.)
Nik

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This is a game of high-speed precision. If you don't precisely plan what you want to happen, there's not much chance that it will. ---- Brian Enos, 2004

#13 John Dunn

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 04:10 PM

Keith and Phil are great guys. Hope to see them at the ITRC again this year.

I just shot a four classifier special on Saturday. Shot Limited for the match, then L-10 for the classifiers only. Did OK in limited, with three solid A class scores that should move my average up a point or two, one will get thrown out.

In L-10, where I am at 82%, I was pushing it a bit. I, too, feel the desire to move up and get the coveted M card. First run felt good, looked good...let's kick it up a notch. Bad idea. Suckety-suck-suck. :(

There is no doubt I can slop my way into an M card next summer, I just need to get serious about doing the work, so when I get it, I don't have to feel guilty.

You grandmasters of C class need to get your B cards! Tell Keith and Phil Hi.
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#14 Sam

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 09:57 PM

Nik, we had a great time visiting with Keith and Phil. You guy's must have a very cool club. One of you has to make the jump to "B" so the others can follow.

How to bottle this feeling? Man, I wish I knew. Sometimes it's there and sometimes it isn't. :P
The world can appear to be so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers, and even cities; but to know someone here and there who thinks and feels along with us, and though distant, is close to us in kindred spirit - this makes the earth seem like a 'peopled garden.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

#15 PaulW

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Posted 17 December 2004 - 01:15 PM

IMO every single classifier that is shot here locally I'd say about 50-60% screwed something up, but why? They "TRIED" is why. I still do it at times myself. I wish there was away to setup a classifier without anyone knowing. My road to GM was one where I got classified as B-class. I shot in B-class for a long while, at least a year and a half. I made A-class and thought I was well on my way. My whole goal when I made A-class was to see if I could make M-class. I really started to "try" and I was in a world of confussion. I just could not figure out how to get better. I would dry fire, practice, all for knot. Then one day I said f**k it, I don't care what I have to do I am going to hit the target and shoot my plan. I stopped caring what my times were, I even stopped looking at the results for awhile. All I wanted to do was to see how fast I could hit the targets with good points, no extra shots on steel. I knew I was close but it was still a surprise when I got my M-card. This was after 2 years in A-class. I kept the same attitude and was shooting a ton and practicing a ton as well. 7 months later I get a call from a friend who was checking classification on people he knew and there it was, I made GM.

Since then it has been very tough. I have to shoot against a group of individuals who have no problem handing you your ass. I have not shot much since back surgery, have gained like 20 pounds, have a new gun (again), am rusty as can be and I have a huge mountain to climb if I want to be considered even competitive in GM class (competitive???). My hunger is not what it use to be either....not sure why, life changes I suppose.

I also hear a lot of people complaining that they are not moving up in class. I ask them how often ther dry fire and I get the look as if I just made this up. If you want to move up you MUST put in the work to get there. I don't mean half ass'in it either. I mean everyday you have to work on your skills, because it's not like riding a bike.
Paul Whitacre
"When the pressure is on think of it as an opportunity to succeed, not an opportunity to fail."




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