Originally Posted by Brian.Samson
If you want my advice, that's a big mistake.. enter as many competitions as you possibly can as often as you can.
That's the advice I got when I started shooting and it's the best advice.
I think it's a mistake to just shoot at the range until you feel you are at a position where you will be ble to knock down a high percentage of targets on a course.
You'll do that and then find that shooting a course is a different world and you'll be missing targets that you would expect to hit all day at the range.
I do understand the thinking behind it though. It can be very demoralising to keep going around courses and taking a shot every several minutes, and keep missing and not really knowing why you are missing.
So I would do as Bri suggests and shoot as many comps as you can ... but have some program in place so that you can be learning from the courses. Take note of the targets that you are missing on the courses. Are you missing a certain target ( kill size or position or range )? Are you mainly missing because of wind, and especially wind in different directions as you go around a course?
Then take that back to the range. Practice what you are losing points on. So if it's positionals ... then put time in on that position. If it's wind then don't just go to the range on a stillish day and see how accurate your gun is ... go to the range on windy days and practice how much you need to aim off in that wind. Try and move positions on the range so the wind is at different angles and practice that. Try and shoot club day courses where you can be more relaxed and maybe take a few shots at each target. On those days on the targets that you miss ... try and find out why you are missing and try another shot with a correction and see what it takes to knock it down.
Most important ... if there is someone good at this game who is willing to give you advice ... suck every bit of advice you can out of them. They will have spent years making the same mistakes that you are making and finding out how to correct those mistakes. Half and hour with a good shooter can save you months of working it out for yourself. Ask them to check your position. Ask them to watch you take a shot and see if your trigger technique is ok.
If you have an hour at home ... make a brew and have a play on Bri's wind estimation game. It's excellent.