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"What makes a good (popular) exercise?"

5 years ago
#1384 Quote

These are just some tips based on unscientific observations about what exercises are the most and least popular in the LASR Community.

Printed targets not required 
This makes the exercise easier to setup, and opens them up to folks who may not have a printer. Some exercises accomplish this by just telling you to use something generic, like a post-it note or sheet of paper. Some of them do this by saying "here is a printable target, but you can also just use something similar like X or Y". Likewise, exercises that use common targets (i.e. a 1/3rd scale IPSC Metric) also tend to be more popular, as folks often already have those from a previous exercise they ran, or something else entirely.

When making your exercise, consider if the target type is really that important. Could this exercise still accomplish the goal(s) with something more generic that most folks have, or could a substitute target be used if they can't print one off? (Check out the El Presidente exercise or the Handgun Fundamentals Video Course for examples of this)

Simpler Setups
Exercises that have really elaborate target and/or target zone setup tend to be less popular, simply because they are more work to setup. Additionally, exercises that have more "props" like barrricades, or require larger areas tend to be less popular. Not everyone has something to use as a barricade handy, and not everyone has a 30ft long area for dry-fire.

Is there a way to simplify the target, target zone, or shooting area setup? (If you check out the FBI qual exercise, two different sizes of reduced-size targets are used in order to keep the maximum space required down to 10ft)

Familiar Things
Some of the most popular exercises in the community are some of the ... to put it nicely... least original. While we like to see fun and inventive new stuff, a lot of people, especially when choosing their first exercise, stick to things they are familiar with or have at least heard of before. An example of this would be the El Presidente exercise.

Good but concise instructions and firing proceedures
One thing that we've noticed is that the shorter and more to-the-point the setup and firing instructions are, the better. This is one where the Handgun Fundamentals Video Course actually seems to loose some popularity, as it actually takes about a half hour to complete, if you actually watch the videos... most shooters don't. On the other hand, exercises with very concise and to-the-point videos (or even no videos at all, if it isn't really needed) and written instructions tend to be more popular. 

Even more popular are exercises that don't have redundant instructions. If your exercise is just five runs of the same thing, then just say that for the first one, and don't enter instructions for the remainder. One less button click and much less reading for the shooter. An example of this is Luck Charms, where it just skips the firing instructions, as they don't really change

Don't be too long... or too short
Extremely long exercises tend to be less popular as folks loose interest, especially if it very redundant (doing the same thing over and over). Likewise, exercises that are too short tend to be less popular as someone isn't terribly excited to spend 10 minutes getting things setup and then shoot two rounds and be done. Alot of exercises remedy this by repeating the same drill a few times to give you a few runs, or make the par time gradually more challenging, etc.

Of course, the best way to do this is to have a target setup that allows for a variety of different things all in one exercise. Remember, you can change the setup between drills to change out setting for things like reload mode, target down, timer mode, etc.

5 years ago
#1385 Quote

Accurate and eye-catching preveiw information
This one should be pretty obvious, but overly generic names, descriptions, or thumbnails for your exercise tend to not get folks to try them. Be creative, be detailed, but, most importantly, be accurate.

Resetting Trigger Not Required
This one should also be pretty obvious, but the more folks that can shoot your exercise, the more popular it is going to be. If possible, try devising ways of making an exercise so that someone with a chamber or bore insert can still complete it. Sometimes it is as simple as changing a two round count to a single round count. This definetly isn't always possible, but it is something to consider.

This one is the most difficult to pull off, and simply can't be done sometimes, but if an exercise is self-explainitory and "cheat proof", it tends to be more popular. An example of this is Lucky Charms, where the exercise really doesn't need any instructions because of how it works (just shoot what it tells you to shoot) and it is pretty cheat proof with target down mode limiting the number of scored hits.

Alot of this just comes from knowing the software well, including all modes a features, how they work, and even how they can be repurposed.

If there is a target that isn't shot in a particular drill, change it's hit tone to "miss" or a custom sound and change it's scoring value to zero or even a penalty, to indicate to the user that they need to double-check the instructions. You can do this by taking the setup, changing those setting for that target, and resaving the setup as a different name, and using that setup for that drill.

If there is a hard limit on the round count for a drill, you can repurpose reload mode and use a custom sound to enforce that limit.

Of course, target down mode can be used to limit the number of shots per target, and you can even use a custom sound to indicate a proceedural if they shoot too many.