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The Ten Commandments of Learning to Shoot


geoswz
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I don't do well with structured practice. Maybe someday, when I'm all grown up, I'll have the self discipline to have a written training plan and practice X on Monday and Y on Tuesday and Z on Wednesday. But I don't do that now. At the same time, I know it's a good idea to have guidelines. Here are some thoughts on what my Ten Commandments might look like.

The Ten Commandments of Learning to Shoot

1. Do something every day.

2. Learn something every day.

3. Learn by doing and observing, not by reading and thinking.

4. Write down what I learn.

5. Keep my most recent targets.

6. Mix the Big Three—dry fire, live fire and matches.

7. Slow > Smooth > Fast

8. ?

9. ?

10. ?

Your thoughts?

Thanks,

George

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A recent e-mail exchange with Corey prompted some additional thoughts on my original post:

One thing I like about shooting is that it gives me a chance to work on my own shit. Or, more elegantly, engage in character development. So these "Commandments" (now just called "Reminders") were intended to be reminders of the things I do that get in my way as a learner. I didn't explain that very well in my original post.

Some examples: I get impatient with slow progress so the reminder is "There is no finish line". I get mad at myself when I shoot badly so the reminder is "Keep ego out of it--I am not my shooting". I'm not very planful or structured so the reminder is "The devil is in the detail." When bikerburgess, above, said "Have fun" that was very helpful because I get too serious. So I turned that into "If I'm not having fun I'm not doing it right".

I'm interested in any similar reminders you have about how you approach the sport.

Edited by geoswz
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"Technique is not static", aka, always improve.

You may learn and practice a technique so that you can do it on demand well, and it may serve you well, until you learn to accomplish your goal with a different technique as well or better.

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Technique has a way of fading away when it's not needed anymore.

This is not to say that it's not needed. it surely is.

But after awhile you're back to where you started: Just Shooting.

That's a good reminder Steve. I'm a long way from "unconscious competence" but that's my goal. Did you notice what I stole from your podcast-- "Emotionless"? You triggered my reminder to "Keep ego out of it--I am not my shooting".

Edited by geoswz
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#1 for me has always been...Bring stuff that works.

This one...might depend on your personality type (as I might flip flop it a bit):

3. Learn by doing and observing, not by reading and thinking.

You're right of course. I phrased it that way only because I'm too quick to read and think and watch Youtube and DVD's and too slow to invest the sweat equity of shooting and dry firing. A related reminder is "Find the expert advice that works for me". Because I'm too quick to look for expert advice and I don't filter it through my own experience.

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#1 for me has always been...Bring stuff that works.

This one...might depend on your personality type (as I might flip flop it a bit):

3. Learn by doing and observing, not by reading and thinking.

You triggered another thought about the different ways to learn. There are 4 ways to learn to shoot: Acting (trial and error, just do it and see what happens); Thinking (visualize a stage, talk to myself, plan my practice); Feeling (learn from emotions, intuition, and the physical feeling of shooting well); Accessing Others (books, lessons, DVD's, Youtube, etc.) Most of us overuse some of those ways and under use others. I overuse Thinking and Accessing Others and under use Acting and Feeling, so I try to remember to balance them out.

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Outstanding thread. I think the biggest reminder I have while shooting is smooth = fast and fast = effortless. Funnily enough I shoot/practice the best when I do not think about anything. My mind relaxes and I am just in the moment. I have no idea what your thought process is when you practice but I am much like you in the fact that a regular scheduled training regimen is not something I can stick to...either work or family always gets in the way. However, I find that when I can get practice in...about 20-30 mins a day. I go into it with an open mind. I work on the things I want to improve upon based on my last match and I then turn the voice inside my head off. If I had to and an 8, 9 or 10 one of them would read be open to new discoveries. I know mine come when I least expect them. Hope this helps!

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Outstanding thread. I think the biggest reminder I have while shooting is smooth = fast and fast = effortless. Funnily enough I shoot/practice the best when I do not think about anything. My mind relaxes and I am just in the moment. I have no idea what your thought process is when you practice but I am much like you in the fact that a regular scheduled training regimen is not something I can stick to...either work or family always gets in the way. However, I find that when I can get practice in...about 20-30 mins a day. I go into it with an open mind. I work on the things I want to improve upon based on my last match and I then turn the voice inside my head off. If I had to and an 8, 9 or 10 one of them would read be open to new discoveries. I know mine come when I least expect them. Hope this helps!

I like your version of the more common quote I've seen: "Slow > Smooth > Fast". You're right, the end point isn't fast, it's "effortless". And maybe "mindless" is a part of that.

Edited by geoswz
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You must learn to train correctly which unfortunately includes having a written,structured training plan so you know what you are trying to do, otherwise you'll find your practice consists of things you like to do instead of things you must do ...

My live fire training goes like this: Monday is fundamental skills, Wed is movement skills and Fri is speciality skills ( I live fire train 3x/wk). Each session has 3 or 4 drills in it and I repeat this weekly for 6-8 weeks, then evaluate where I am and adjust the next 2 months of training depending on how I did the last 2 months and feedback from my match results.

For dry fire training I follow Steve Anderson's book, no need to reinvent the wheel here since he has that nailed ... You'll know by your classifier scores if your dry fire program is working ...

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one of the things I would get to run through my head when I knew I had a hard stage or hard shot was "Front sight, press, breathe". Seemed to allow me to do all the rest subconsciously and just make good hits.

You reminded me of an interesting idea from another post. A guy improved his draw time by stopping thinking about moving his strong hand fast and focused on moving his support hand fast. I'm wondering if there was nothing magic about the speed of his support hand, the benefit came from not thinking about his strong hand. Which relaxed the hand and made it faster. So maybe instead of "front sight, press, breathe" you could say anything else, just to take your mind off trying hard, and it would improve your shooting. Maybe saying something totally irrelevant to shooting like "Nike says just do it," would improve your shooting, because the benefit comes from the distraction, not the advice. I'm not a good enough shooter to run a controlled experiment, but if you feel like playing with the idea I'd love to hear about your results. I tried it a little with reloading. Instead of thinking about the speed of my support hand I focused on feeling the grip of my strong hand while I reloaded. I think it helped but I need to play with it some more.

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You must learn to train correctly which unfortunately includes having a written,structured training plan so you know what you are trying to do, otherwise you'll find your practice consists of things you like to do instead of things you must do ...

My live fire training goes like this: Monday is fundamental skills, Wed is movement skills and Fri is speciality skills ( I live fire train 3x/wk). Each session has 3 or 4 drills in it and I repeat this weekly for 6-8 weeks, then evaluate where I am and adjust the next 2 months of training depending on how I did the last 2 months and feedback from my match results.

For dry fire training I follow Steve Anderson's book, no need to reinvent the wheel here since he has that nailed ... You'll know by your classifier scores if your dry fire program is working ...

That's a very helpful structure, thanks, I'm going to copy and paste it. I have the Mike Seeklander book and DVD's and I really like them, but I'm not like the guy who did a book report on "War and Peace". The whole book report was "It's about Russia". Mike has a really comprehensive approach and I need to do a better job of narrowing it down to what works for me at my current new shooter level.

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Learned the slow smooth thing last year shooting steel challenge. No matter how fast I tried to be I couldn't get the times I wanted. I was over running targets and missing to many because of trying to be fast. You can never be fast enough to miss and make it up. Well except for a few like KC Eusubio.

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