How to Prepare for a Competition

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Males
Two or 3 days prior to a competition, get fresh haircut. If you have sensitive skin/acne, make sure your shaving schedule ensures you shave the morning of the competition always have a styptic* at hand when shaving).

*Styptics are a specific type of antihemorrhagic agent that work by contracting tissue to seal injured blood vessels. Styptic pencils contain astringents. Wikipedia

Females
Like the males, take care of your personal hygiene requirements in a timely manner so that you are ready to go the day of the competition. Make sure you have makeup, hair spray and extras of hair pins/bands.

All
Make sure you have (an equipment box);

  • Extra safety pins of different sizes
  • Edge dressing
  • Extra backings for your uniform pins/badges
  • Extra rifle parts
  • Duct tape- can be used for just about anything
  • Extra rifle sling plus sling keepers
  • Extra gloves
  • Lint roller(s)
  • Fingernail clippers

A complete ditty bag (a bag originally use by military members as a sewing kit and eventually for personal items: soap, shaving kit, etc.) if needed.

Ensure the uniform is complete two days before- if you need something, take care of it. Shoes should be highly shined or, if shoes are poromeric leather, ensure they are clean and scuff free heel taps/cheaters should be either shined or blackened and heel and sole dressing on the soles and edges of the heels (more on shoes).

This is going to sound a little strange, but there is, more or less, a ‘system’ to getting dressed:

  1. Underwear and socks
  2. Uniform shirt
  3. Tie/tab
  4. Uniform trousers (But, don’t zip them up! Pull them up to your thighs and sit down to put your shoes on.)
  5. Tie your shoes and tuck the laces in completely
  6. After your shoes are taken care of, stand up, tuck your uniform shirt in and zip up the pants- this prevents putting any kind of crease in the trousers
  7. Next, the uniform blouse (jacket) and cover (hat)

Make sure all of your equipment is in excellent condition: flags, rifles, harnesses, slings, etc. All need to be clean and shined (if applicable).

Don’t!
The morning of a competition is not the morning to experiment! Don’t try shaving “a little closer” or against the growth when you usually don’t shave that way. It’s not the time to change your routine, just keep doing what you’ve been doing. Create a checklist to make sure you have everything you could possibly need to do and take with you and follow it with plenty of time.

One last thing, be careful of what product you put in your hair. Men, if you use a white-colored paste (or something similar) it could come out in your hat as you sweat and your hat absorbs your sweat. At first it may look like salt, but it will be very difficult to remove.

USAF photo

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