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Grip technique and strength


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On 12/11/2017 at 11:06 AM, MemphisMechanic said:

If you’re not thinking about anytiing else (like pressing the trigger or drawing from a holster) it becomes easy to only focus on the one remaining thing: grip pressure.

 

Except then you have to teach yourself how to pull the trigger without moving the sights, draw properly, etc with the new grip technique. 

 

Is it really that difficult to squeeze hard in addition to the other normal aspects of your practice like pulling the trigger or drawing?

 

The no trigger pull thing for any form of practice has never made logical sense to me. I get practicing with a bias towards something to shore up a weakness, but trying to isolate aspects of technique in practice when they will always be used together when it matters seems somewhat counterproductive or at least less than ideal.

 

 

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On 12/12/2017 at 4:43 PM, Jake Di Vita said:

 

Except then you have to teach yourself how to pull the trigger without moving the sights, draw properly, etc with the new grip technique. 

 

Is it really that difficult to squeeze hard in addition to the other normal aspects of your practice like pulling the trigger or drawing?

 

The no trigger pull thing for any form of practice has never made logical sense to me. I get practicing with a bias towards something to shore up a weakness, but trying to isolate aspects of technique in practice when they will always be used together when it matters seems somewhat counterproductive or at least less than ideal.

 

 

 

 

Interesting perspective.

Been going through the Stoeger book, and he completely breaks everything down into parts. Like for draw, just moving hands to gun on timer. Then, with hand on gun, moving it out of holster to target, etc. 

 

So it seems sten boeger would disagree with this. Not saying you are wrong, and of course BS is not the be all/end all of shooting, of course their are many ways to skin a cat. But I have never tried a new sport / game where they didn't break things down into parts. Golf, for example, the lessons I have had were always filled with isolating certain movements and ergo realities, often without completing a swing or hitting a ball. Just playing devils advocate, as I respect your opinion, and see your point.

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5 hours ago, NoKimberDave said:

 

 

Interesting perspective.

Been going through the Stoeger book, and he completely breaks everything down into parts. Like for draw, just moving hands to gun on timer. Then, with hand on gun, moving it out of holster to target, etc. 

 

So it seems sten boeger would disagree with this. Not saying you are wrong, and of course BS is not the be all/end all of shooting, of course their are many ways to skin a cat. But I have never tried a new sport / game where they didn't break things down into parts. Golf, for example, the lessons I have had were always filled with isolating certain movements and ergo realities, often without completing a swing or hitting a ball. Just playing devils advocate, as I respect your opinion, and see your point.

 

Yeah I've heard Ben suggest it before. I think it has a place. If you just can't execute something correctly, are very inconsistent with it, or are just learning for the first time, I can see narrowing your focus to one piece at a time. To me, the focus at that point is to get that skill to a point where you can full out practice with it and still execute it at least 90% correctly consistently. Once you know how to do it though, I think isolation becomes a poor substitute for full out practice. I don't think it's going to make you regress, but I don't think it's an efficient use of time. In my experience, ability to execute something isolated tends to not translate 100% when you add other things to it. For example from weightlifting, being able to deadlift, clean, and overhead squat doesn't mean you'll be able to squat snatch effectively. The sum of the whole is greater than the parts.

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22 minutes ago, Jake Di Vita said:

 

Yeah I've heard Ben suggest it before. I think it has a place. If you just can't execute something correctly, are very inconsistent with it, or are just learning for the first time, I can see narrowing your focus to one piece at a time. To me, the focus at that point is to get that skill to a point where you can full out practice with it and still execute it at least 90% correctly consistently. Once you know how to do it though, I think isolation becomes a poor substitute for full out practice. I don't think it's going to make you regress, but I don't think it's an efficient use of time. In my experience, ability to execute something isolated tends to not translate 100% when you add other things to it. For example from weightlifting, being able to deadlift, clean, and overhead squat doesn't mean you'll be able to squat snatch effectively. The sum of the whole is greater than the parts.

 

Very good points. 

 

But to use your body building analogy:

nobody suggested just doing two or three exercises or that one should only practice three exercises.

Actually, what was suggested was precisely what you do in BB: isolate and work a particular muscle group. And it was suggested to do this when you aren't training. Rather, when you are doing nothing else but just walking around your house.

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On 12/19/2017 at 6:22 PM, Jake Di Vita said:

 If you just can't execute something correctly, are very inconsistent with it, or are just learning for the first time, I can see narrowing your focus to one piece at a time.

 

You just described the exact reasons and situation which caused me to decide that isolating “increased grip pressure training” was a good idea.

 

And every time I stop shooting frequently, shot calling and grip technique / consistently are the first things to go...

 

 

Edited by MemphisMechanic
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14 hours ago, MemphisMechanic said:

 

You just described the exact reasons and situation which caused me to decide that isolating “increased grip pressure training” was a good idea.

 

Did you continue to isolate after you worked your issues out? That's what I think doesn't make sense. Going to isolation as a normal part of your training rather than using it for specific problems that come up just to get them to the point where you can train them correctly with a higher intensity.

 

My goal when I make a mistake is to correct that mistake on the next rep without slowing down at all. I think that is a more valuable form of error correction that translates itself better to your overall game. If I make the same mistake 4 or 5 times in a row I'll slow down for a couple reps just to reemphasize the correct movement pattern. Then I speed back up and try to hold that correct movement pattern. So isolation is really not something that I ever put a lot of time into, it's just a means to an end to facilitate aggressive practice with the correct lines of action. I think that's an appropriate way to use isolation effectively. On the other hand, if you do 20 minutes of practice that is just isolating a certain movement, I feel that is at best an inefficient use of time.

 

I also don't want my practice to be executed flawlessly. I'm sure you notice when you do something in isolation that it's relatively easy to execute flawlessly, then when you do the whole thing at full speed, it gets a lot more difficult to execute flawlessly. If I'm practicing something and I do it 100% correct 100% of the time, that practice isn't really making me a better shooter. In order to cause a favorable adaptation to stress (which is the goal of all training) you have to provide enough of a stress stimulus to cause that adaptation to begin with. I want to practice at a pace/complexity where I'm doing 80-90% of the reps perfectly, then force myself to correct the mistakes at the same intensity that caused the mistake to happen to begin with. If someone tends to revert back to isolation whenever they run into problems, they miss out on this incredibly valuable aspect of training. The requirements of technique increase with intensity, which is why doing something slow or isolated is never going to be equal to doing it as a whole or at speed.

 

If you're doing 50% of the reps incorrectly, I totally see isolating the problem area for a limited time. But, once you're doing 10% or fewer of the reps incorrectly, you aren't pushing hard enough to really expand your capabilities. Another way of putting it is once you've executed in isolation 9/10 times correctly, I think it's time to move on from isolation and add more stress.

 

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3 hours ago, Jake Di Vita said:

 

Did you continue to isolate after you worked your issues out? That's what I think doesn't make sense. Going to isolation as a normal part of your training rather than using it for specific problems that come up just to get them to the point where you can train them correctly with a higher intensity.

 

Of course not. We’re in agreement, you didn’t need the additional 3 paragraphs. I posted an initial suggestion on how to begin to learn to reprogram such a huge shooting fundamental, and that’s what I had stuck to  discussing.

 

I fully agree that once you have learned to make a firmer grip your “new normal” as people like to say, it’s time to roll it into some bill drills or a 2-reload-2. Then work it into an El Prez or similar, and finally into everything else.

 

You’ve rebuilt your grip as a GM several times, Jake. How did you do it?

 

Edited by MemphisMechanic
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9 minutes ago, MemphisMechanic said:

Of course not. We’re in agreement, you didn’t need the additional 3 paragraphs.

 

The explanation wasn't only for you. If you don't like the length, feel free to skip it.

 

10 minutes ago, MemphisMechanic said:

You’ve rebuilt your grip as a GM several times, Jake. How did you do it?

 

I decided on what I was trying to accomplish, then the change I was going to make to do that, then I installed the change into my regular practice. I paid attention to what I saw and felt in dry fire from making the change and made further changes on the fly as I felt necessary. I spent about a half hour at the onset of the change figuring out the exact positions I wanted my body to be in, then I threw it to the wolves and forced myself to adapt. I slowed down when I needed to, but rarely did I ever go slower than match pace in dryfire (my match pace tends to be around 80% of my maximum speed). I recorded my mistakes for every rep and drove more of my attention towards the common errors that appeared out of the data over time. I did not reduce anything down to practice it individually.

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  • 1 month later...
7 hours ago, lfine said:

So how do people weigh in on Captains of Crush and other tools out there for working on grip?

 

They can be useful for some people. I prefer to develop hand strength more as a by product of training. Between deadlifting, oly lifting, pull ups, climbing rope/rock climbing, and dryfire my hands get plenty of work. Unlike with captains of crush, the benefit of the training goes beyond the hands while still having enough stimulus to force them to get strong.

 

My general advice for a shooter would be to focus on squeezing hard in dry fire and dry fire every single day with that focus for a few months. This will build some strength, but primarily it's going to get the neurological system more efficient at applying force in the way you decide to with the gun. Ultimately all the grip strength in the world doesn't matter if you aren't applying it effectively. After that if the shooter still feels like grip strength is holding them back in some way, they can look at captains of crush or some of the other things I outlined that I like to do.

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15 hours ago, lfine said:

So how do people weigh in on Captains of Crush and other tools out there for working on grip?

I stopped using mine. I found the risk of injury was notably higher than the benefits produced. 

Priority One is using all of your available grip strength, whatever that is. For the average user, that is typically sufficient

Priority Two is developing strength as an ancillary product of other exercises: deadlifts, pull ups, and dryfire. More grip strength is more gooder. 

 

Speaking from personal experience, blowing out your elbow with CoC tools really screws up whatever strength you developed with them.

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On 12/2/2017 at 7:34 PM, PatJones said:

 

 

 

 

 

Most people have desk jobs pushing a mouse, if you work with your hands you have an advantage. Hold your gun with a firm grip like when you're swinging a hammer and you'll be fine. The desk jockeys are the ones that need to think about how hard they grip.

 

I used to be a desk jockey ;)  Lot's of dry firing around the house is my plan.  The hammer analogy is helpful to me thx!

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On ‎1‎/‎31‎/‎2018 at 12:53 AM, Jake Di Vita said:

Ultimately all the grip strength in the world doesn't matter if you aren't applying it effectively.

I tested my grip strength with a hand dynamometer and my right is close to 160lbs and I was surprised by how strong my left is around 145-150lbs so grip strength isn't an issue I'd say. For me now after reading comments and hearing advice from other professional shooters a lot of them say just grip it HARD with both hands don't worry about gripping harder with one hand then the other and if you have trigger control issues then work on that but don't change your grip. And as Jake Di Vita said you need to apply it effectively, and I think that might be where I'm lacking. I was worrying to much on how hard I was gripping the gun when I should have been more focused on getting a proper grip on the gun. not that I was not trying to get a proper grip but since I was focused on strength I was loosing technique.

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Definitely going to try this practice. 

I have plenty of grip strength, tree trimmer 38 years. Problem is once i start shooting i know im not keeping that strong ,weak hand grip, that i should be. Start thinking about aiming and all the other things thst are going on in a stage

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I’m a bit of a new guy, but doing some experimenting I’ve learned that I do better with different grip pressure in the same hand. Maybe it’s out of left field but my strong hand thumb needs a lot of pressure as well as my pinky. For some reason I disrupt sights less this way. I’m probably doing it wrong but this is what experimentation tells me to do right now. Any feedback to this practice would be appreciated.


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  • 2 weeks later...
3 hours ago, GunBugBit said:

Grip strength is way overrated.  I'm seeing guys emphasize it when it's not one of their weaknesses.  They'd be far better off losing 80 lbs and working on their overall agility.

 

Let's not downplay proper grip.  :D  Part of proper grip is having the strength to stop the gun from moving within your hands.  Things like grip technique (particularly hand placement) can alter how much strength is needed to satisfactorily control the gun but, in most cases, more strength = better control.

 

I'm not talking about stopping the gun from moving at all, but rather not letting the gun slip in your hands when it recoils.  If the gun moves within your grip, the sights will not return consistently and you will need to adjust your grip.

 

I do agree with you that shedding some pounds and working on movement are important, too... but no more important than any other low hanging fruits for any particular competitor.

 

This is where self-analysis (or some constructive criticism from other shooters) comes into play.   Determine what your weaknesses are and work on them.

 

Sights not returning consistently?  You need to work on your grip.  That may be your hand strength or your technique.

 

Hand strength not the problem?  Just maintain your current grip strength for the time being and work on what is the problem.

 

Sights returning consistently?  There's probably things other than grip that would have higher returns on the time and effort that you invest in your training.  But, you wouldn't ignore your grip and let that skill fade as you work on other things... you'd maintain it.

 

As a personal example, at the end of 2016, I wasn't having any "problems" with my grip, but I let it deteriorate over the winter (dry fire only, no live fire) while I worked on other skills.  In the spring of 2017, I had all sorts of issues with my grip.  The other skills that I really focused on over the winter, which were transitions and reloads, were much better in 2017 than in 2016, but my scores didn't improve until I got my grip back up to par again. 

 

While I was improving my grip, I decided to improve my diet, start exercising more and to add movement drills into my practices.  I went into maintenance mode with the other skills.  By mid-2017, my grip was no longer a weakness, though I wouldn't exactly call it a strength, either.  Then, by the end of 2017, I'd lost 40 pounds and can now navigate field courses a lot better than I ever could before.  

 

Post-season analysis of my shooting pointed back to my grip being one of the two skills that could be improved with the most payback.  The other skill was vision.  For me, developing these skills has gone hand in hand; as I expand my visual awareness of what the gun is doing, I have to process the visual input faster, which tells me more about how my grip is doing.   

 

I'm "interested" in where the front sight is going to be before I reach my final firing grip (from draws, transfers, remounts after movement, etc).  I can tell if my grip was good before the sights are between my eye and the target both by sight and by touch, so it takes me less time to confirm my sight picture (or rather, I am starting to confirm my sight picture sooner) and I can fire the shot sooner.

 

I'm "interested" in how changes in my grip affect the movement of the sights when I squeeze the trigger.   This means I have to see everything faster - during a transition, for instance, my eyes are going from the sights to the next target, I'm aware of when the sights start to cover the new target, I am aware of when the sights are aligned for an acceptable shot in the scoring area and I'm aware of what happens to the sights as I pull the trigger.  This awareness tells me if my grip is improving or not.

 

I no longer ignore any of the other skills and work on maintaining all of them in the off-season as best I can.   

 

In summary, I don't think any of the skills are overrated.  The better my grip technique and the stronger my grip strength, the better my sights return and my gun moves less.  When my gun moves less, it's easier for me to pay attention to what movement remains.  That helps me know what's happening during entries, exits, SOTM ... in short, improved shot calling. ;)

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