Also the python is not that manoeuverable.. stuffing it with hull and modules reinforcement doesn't help. You don't need those if you keep your shields up
I'd rather use shield boosters, and maybe a SCB in case shit hit the fan.
DD4 or 5 thrusters, and bi weave shields (why not engineer them for even faster recharge)
As for "strategy" (cough !) when you enter a CZ, quickly cycle through all the ships present. You may want to side with the faction that has the biggies. It's easier to get the hang of it if you don't blow up after 10 seconds
Stay away from the melee, and pick ships on the outskirts of the crowd. Once it's down, boost away, scan and repeat.
The Python being a (sexy) brick you may want to practice fighting while flying in reverse. It will help agaisnt eagles, vipers, Cobras, etc..
You can't out-turn most other ships so try to manage your pips to be able to boost regularely to get out of the line of fire or to get ships on your sights.
I am not the best at combat but i never lost my shields in CZ by doing that