The shooting sports are a great way to test your skills against other shooters while spending a great day outdoors. For the novice shooter there are a few basic tips that can make your experience a whole lot better.
- Read the manual - Every sport has a set of rules. You'd be surprised at how many shooters show up to a competition and don't know the first thing about which firearms, ammunition and equipment are required or even permitted! And without knowing what protocols of distance and scoring are in force you will surely hurt your performance. Prepare and be aware.
- Watch first, buy later - Having read up on what you need, don't be too quick to buy everthing you read about. Go watch a few matches and observe what the experienced shooters do. See what equipment they use most and how they manage everything. Follow what they do and you'll save yourself from spending too much on the wrong equipment or way more than you need.
- Temper your expectations - Making the decision to compete can get you psyched up. Don't let nerves or overconfidence get the best of you. You may perform great in practice, but match conditions add a level of stress that only experience can learn to handle. Prepare yourself mentally and physically. Don't get flustered when you make mistakes. Like any discipline you will improve over time.
- If you're not sure, ask - We were all beginners at one time. If you are not certain of anything, stop and ask. Even though it is a competition, your fellow shooters will be happy to assist. And the match officials are there to keep the event moving, maintain safety, and ensure everyone has a great time.
- Above all, stay positive and have fun - Make new friends, learn new skills, achieve your goals, maybe even win. Whatever the outcome a positive attitude will make the experience a memorable one.
Shoot straight, stay safe and enjoy!