I went ahead and signed up for my first competitive shoot.
For six weeks I would place my high score of the week into the "Late Fall Trap League".
Trappers keep score, but it is more as a courtesy or for information or bragging rights, but not actually official. By joining the league the scoring of my trap lines for six weeks became official and logged. I decided not to go for overkill and only entered the 16 Yard Trap and not the other four events.
By signing up I committed myself to more consistent shooting. I needed to log in at least one line each week for six weeks. I made the decision to shoot at least two lines each week and score both, since the high score would be counted. In this way I would get into the habit of the score counting and try and break through the mental barrier of performing under pressure right away.
Over the past year or so I have been a pretty consistent 17-19 shooter with a few in the 20s (high of 22) and one or two 14s. So, is that really my range? How will I do when the scoring is actually official and counts towards something? Can I figure out the math that will be used for handicapping as the weeks progress? If I average 17-19 my scoring range overall should be in the 102-114 total range.
Oh, crap. Here we go.
Week One - 10/28 to 11/4
Shot on Thursday evening 11/1 right at opening with daylight. Would have shot on Tuesday or Wednesday but wind and rain is a bad mix. Weather cleared up a bit to I went right out so I could get two scored lines in before Thai Kickboxing. Shot a 17 on Trap 3 and a 19 on Trap 2. First line started strong but my third post was number five and I tanked it and my fifth post was number 2 and I just was too tense. Opened with a 1/5 on the 2nd line when I could not hit anything hard left at all and then went 18/20 the rest of the way. Since the 19 was the higher score it goes on the record.
(19/25 and 19/25 total)
Week Two - 11/5 to 11/11
I misunderstood the start dates of the week and ended up shooting a 19 on a day (11/4) when it would not normally count, but because of my misunderstanding I got it to maybe be noted as for Week 2. That round of 19 was potentially sitting there so I made a point of trying to get out again to shoot a regular scored round within the normal week and shot on Saturday (11/10). I did get out there, but then I shot a really crappy 13 on trap 1. The 13 stuck because the 19 was actually shot in the wrong week and I did not shoot a second round to better the 13.My bad, since I can read and just didn't.
(13/25 and 32/50 total)
Week Three - 11/12 to 11/18
It was daylight and not raining and so I went out to get my scored in on a Wednesday (11/14). I followed up last weeks crappy 13 with another 13 and it was clearly in my head. So, I decided to go right back out there and shoot another round but to also get my head straight. I moved from shooting at the first post to starting in the middle at the 3rd, and slows myself down. I had a decent first post by hitting the first three, but fell back into the jerking motion that was causing the 13 scores in the first place. The next two posts I managed to get myself back into a rhythm doing a slow mental checklist and getting my breathing back under control and cleared both at 5 for 5. I finished with two posts both at 4 for a round of 20. The first two weeks with handicaps were posted and I had a 4 handicap for the first week so my adjusted score was 23 and a 7 for the second so the adjusted scored was 20. The combined 32 was handicapped at 5 for an adjusted 37. The 20 should have a 3 handicap for the week.
(20/25 and 52/75 total)
Week Four - 11/19 to 11/25
I went out on a nice Wednesday afternoon and got in three lines on Field 3 in quick succession, each better by a bit than the last (16, 18, 19) so I grabbed a nice 19 for the week. This was an opportunity to get in several rounds in daylight and there was no waiting time so I got into a nice flow very quickly.
(19/25 and 71/100 total)
Week Five - 11/26 to 12/2
I shot for the first time at night in the rain on Field 1 and an 18 and a 20 happened. It was weird because I actually felt like I was seeing the targets in their bright orange quicker from the house than during day light. The 20 was a nice grab to get late in the series so it set me up well.
(20/25 and 91/125 total)
Week Six - 12/3 to 12/9
I felt fidgety and shot a 16, 17, and 16 on Field 3 in daylight in quick succession. My dad was right that I was jumping on them too quickly and was a bit jumpy. The 17 gave me an average of 18 for the series if it held up and since I did not get back out to shoot again that is what happened.
(17/25 and 108/150 total)
With handicap +5 = 113 or 18.8
My earlier stated goal was to be in the 102-114 range and so to average what I thought I was averaging. I got a 108 raw score for an actual average of 18. 18 is the median of where I thought I was going in. This is sort of awesome because I am what I thought I was. There is now documentation that I can use as a benchmark for future growth. The lesson learned is that even shooting regularly I am not good enough yet to avoid the bad round and that when it happens I really need to get out there and slow down and keep going. The next time I need to find a way to avoid that bad round and not merely compensate for it. I got two boxes of shells as a prize for participating.
Can I get the 19 or even the 20 average next time? That is the question.