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Demonstrating as a trainer

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He's already been there done that, that's why he's instructing.

One could only wish that were actually true.

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As a Nationally recognized instructor for rifle, pistol, and shotgun, we are encouraged NOT to shoot. Most people that I teach know I can shoot, and can do the drills. When I have someone having an issue that verbal and visual presentation does not effectively do the job of instruction, I MAY opt to show them in live fire, but that is not my time to impress anyone with my shooting skills, nor is it a time to tear down the rest of the class. If I ever do offer a live fire presentation of the drill, I do it at 50% speed, and I do not draw the attention of the entire class. It's not for me to show off, but for me to be a better instructor, and I use it as that tool.

I've been to a lot of schools, offered to civilians, military, and police. I have received instruction from some of the best. I use them as a guide for how I want to present the lesson to any class I teach. Most instructors that I have been to that do it for a living do very little live fire. There's no room for ego on the range.

If you are teaching to stroke your ego, you are in the wrong place. The demonstrations are not to inflate your ego or embarrass anybody. They are for DEMONSTRATING the technique. Do all techniques need a live fire demo? Of course not. Grip, stance, presentation, tactical reloads, etc. need to be demonstrated by the instructor in one manner or another. Knowing how to do something and showing a person who is having difficulty "getting it" by demonstrating the technique properly is called..................teaching.

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I do not shoot (never say never) when instructing or demonstrating techniques. The officers I teach have all seen me shoot while not instructing and know my capabilities. I do fire our department qualification course and any other graded courses along with other students at least once during each qualification cycle. I only do this on the line with other students when there is another instructor present to run the line. I do not shoot the training drills with the students but, will shoot them while setting up to check course design/difficulty and for my own training. Sometimes we will run man on man drills or timed drill like the plate rack. During these drills I will participate if asked to do so by my officers provided there is another instructor there to run the drill.

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The rule is that no instructors will shoot in front of the students. They are doing this so in case you have a bad day and don't shoot well, you will not loose the respect of the students. Also, he said you don't need to be a good shooter to be able to teach it, and you are there to teach.

I agree that in pro sports, like golf, basketball and skiing, the best teachers are not always the best athletes...

Ok, so this will likely be taken the wrong way and I’ll end up the bad guy, anti-instructor, anti-LEO, hell probably anti-gun. But….

Dude, that is weak.

I know I jumped in after the thread has really matured but I just stopped in to answer PM’s and this one chapped me a little.

You don't need to be THE champ to teach, and the champ may be an AWFUL teacher, but you better know what the hell you are doing and how to teach it!!

I may not be able to snap off a personal best .70 reload on the first try in front of the class, but if I can't demonstrate CORRECT technique, full speed and ssssssssslow mo, by the numbers, than even LEO you are just a gun rag commando with a badge.

There are WAY too many “instructors” out there, who can’t teach worth a damn, and can’t even really shoot. But they scowl and wear the gear, and somehow people buy it.

Sure, there are instances where I can NO LONGER do something, but still understand it well enough to help folks in the technical aspects, and even move them past my current level.

BUT!!! Just reading about, or going to some course where they mentioned a technique, does NOT qualify you to teach it. You don’t even have the shallowest, most basic understanding of something if you can only say "stand like that, do that, don't jerk the trigger, come on, front site maggot!!!".

If you take being an instructor seriously, as in you want to be good AT INSTRUCTING not just talking about it, you already know about different learning styles and that one drill, demo, description or technique is not going to “turn the light on” for every student. If you take away demo-ing, you've lost a major tool in turning that light bulb on.

I have buddies who are LEO, went through the academy myself and have had LEO in my classes.

LEO at the experienced "street cop" level are so used to knowing it all, and being the final word, you MUST be able to demonstrate a technique, and PROVE it's better or they will ignore you. Sure, once they've been to a year's worth of matches, they ACCEPT that the academy was 30 years behind and they are more open minded, but if you get them fresh of the street, they know it all.

At the academy I had an experience EXACTLY like you describe, from the STUDENT’S point of view. As “instructors” they had a bunch of LEO, working the range as an "extra duty". They weren’t gun nuts, competitors or even good shooters. But there was an abundance of tough talk, posturing and telling us we sucked. ZERO demo.

The fact that any of us qualified was pure, random chance.

They kept barking at me, even though I was the best shooter in the class, and qual'd the first try through.

They hated what I was doing, and when I asked them to demo the "right" way, they were furious, and crawfished away most riky tick.

When I won the shoot off at the end and the students wanted to match me up with the most boastful instructor, he declined.

This was when I was about a low "C" level shooter. What did some super-dee-duper LEO instructor have to fear from me?

I was so disgusted with the LACK of decent understanding of proper technique and instruction that I sought out competition as a way to finally learn something about shooting, first IDPA then graduating to IPSC / USPSA. I liked that the shooters HAD TO do more than talk about it, and that proof made me a believer and made it easier to improve through positive visualization.

Yes, you not only need to demo, you need to rescind that stupid rule and hold the instructors to a higher standard.

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I do not shoot (never say never) when instructing or demonstrating techniques. The officers I teach have all seen me shoot while not instructing and know my capabilities. I do fire our department qualification course and any other graded courses along with other students at least once during each qualification cycle. I only do this on the line with other students when there is another instructor present to run the line. I do not shoot the training drills with the students but, will shoot them while setting up to check course design/difficulty and for my own training. Sometimes we will run man on man drills or timed drill like the plate rack. During these drills I will participate if asked to do so by my officers provided there is another instructor there to run the drill.

To clarify, I agree, the students are NOT paying to watch me practice and run drills to improve my own shooting.

As an instructor, if you are teaching things the right way, you might be surprised at how well you do when someone says "show me".

As a flight instructor, I used to fly 20-40 hours a week, and actually touch the controls very little.

If I was working them through good, solid technically correct maneuvers, I found more often than not, I could talk myself through a pretty respectable demo, even cold, when they got frustrated and threw down the gauntlet.

Sometimes it's not even a "challenge", different students learn in different ways and just need to see something demo'd smoothly, and confidently, even half speed. :cheers:

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Sometimes it even helps to demo to them how it looks when they are doing it wrong, then show them what it looks like to do it right. I do this often for students who let the gun hang in recoil and just don't get it with words alone what it means to minimize muzzle flip and get a quick consistent return of the sights.

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I notice most of the posts on this thread are from instructors and I thought I would give my opinion as a student. This is actually the first time I've posted on this forum so as you can see, I'm here to learn.

I am just getting into competetive shooting, for speed anyway, and I am learning from research as well as personal instruction from a friend who is quickly making a name for himself locally. I have known him since we were very young and until he truly took up the sport, I could spank him in any form of shooting. But now, my only advantage would possibly be if there was a mile run in the middle of the stage... round is a shape right bro, lol. What I'm saying is that a good student will take what he wants from an instructor and that's it. If the instructor has more to offer, then the student will take more. For some students who are dumb enough to bring their ego to class, then maybe a little smack down ie. "demo" is necessary but that would usually only apply to required classes and not highly expensive requested classes.

I find the greatest respect for my instructor comes from him watching ME and showing ME how to improve MY times, not showing me how fast he is. If my time and technique improves then he's a great instructor even if I manage to surpass him.

P.S. That being said, I'd still be pissed if I payed for instruction from T.G.O. , Burkett, Butler, Miller, Lamb, etc. and didn't get to watch them monkey stomp a stage before, during, or after a class, lol. I'd supply the weapon, ammo, beer, whatever to see that in person.

Great reading and learning from all of you on this forum and look forward to soaking up your knowledge... as ego free as a Jarhead can. Thanks, Tiz

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I took a class from TJ, one of the lessons that stuck with me the most was when he demostrated the skill. 5 boxes in a horizontal line, different distance apart from each other, but always always less than 3 steps from one to the next. Target about 7 yards in front of each box. Move from box to box, shoot the target infront. I went as fast as I could move, TJ walked, his time was faster... If he hadn't shown us, I would have called BS.

If TJ demostrated a skill and screwed up, he made a joke, we laughed, and he tried again...

The important thing was, we did not bring our ego to the class and neither did he

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Everyone learns differently. Some people prefer being told what to do, and others like being shown what to do. A competent instructor will be able to leverage whatever tools are needed to enforce/convey what is to be learned. If that means doing a live demo, then do it. If that means flapping your gums for a half hour to explain the purpose of every single detail, then do it.

The way I see it, if an instructor is not confident enough in his own skill set to demo what he is teaching on command, then he shouldn’t be teaching. Its also important to understand that a live demo does not have to be an overall perfect or a record breaking performance. Showing the difference in the proper and improper way of doing said task being taught should be the focus of the demo. If you screw up during the Demo, point that out as an example of doing it incorrectly and WHY it failed. Then repeat the demo until it is successful. No one is perfect and sure, instructors may feel some extra pressure by having to perform successfully in front of their students. But if everyone, including the instructor, has the attitude of leaving their Ego out of it, the lessons will be learned. People stop learning when they write someone off due to being closed minded before they even start the class. Turn off the judgments, ego, and expectations and simply observe and explore what is being taught. Too many people turn a training session into a competition and they focus on beating their class mates or the instructor instead of learning. Who cares what your performance level is compared to others in your class as long as your are able to learn and implement what is being taught.

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This was an interesting topic.

I do a demo.......when it's called for. When the skill or lesson plan or tactic lends itself to being demonstrated......livefire, dryfire, Fx-fire.....yeah, I think a demo is appropriate.

It's interesting how dogmatic some "instructors" in this thread got about the issue.

If you've ever taught a class more than once in a row, you'll know that every class and every student is different. If you cannot read your students......and then determine if a demo is appropriate.....then you're probably not much of an instructor.

One of the biggest issues is doing firearms training (especially firearms training for folks who are going to carry a gun for a living) is TIME. There is never enough time. As someone already posted.......time spent doing a demo is less time for the students to train.

FY42385

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time spent doing a demo is less time for the students to train.

Ultimately, if a student is going to get good, it's not going to happen in the class, it's going to happen at home in their bedrooms or basements. Taking 20 seconds and showing them the right way of doing things is well well worth it.

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I was so disgusted with the LACK of decent understanding of proper technique and instruction that I sought out competition as a way to finally learn something about shooting, first IDPA then graduating to IPSC / USPSA. I liked that the shooters HAD TO do more than talk about it, and that proof made me a believer and made it easier to improve through positive visualization.

Yes, you not only need to demo, you need to rescind that stupid rule and hold the instructors to a higher standard.

Did we go to the same academy? LOL! Its not funny, and it is. I felt the same way when I went through and shortly thereafter. Receiving very little advanced or further training made me seek it elsewhere, in the form of competitive shooting. Go figure, we must be doing something right! H!

:cheers:

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I think the basics of shooting can be taught without a live fire. When the skills become more demanding or the goal seems impossible, the instructor is going to have to demonstrate what he is trying to teach. Most folks have no idea of what their potential really is until an example is presented to them.

A demonstration is the purest form of a confidence booster.

Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile and his record was buried in a few short months. Before that, noted authorites said it was impossible, simply because they had not seen it and because they could not do it themselves.

Mike Tyson was unbeatable!

Who pictured the WTC towers falling?

A piece of foam could cause catastrophic damage to a billion dollar space shuttle?

A 4 second El Prez!

Like President Harry Truman said... "You gotta show me..."

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As a student, I find it useful to see some types of things demo'ed - especially when I appear to have a mental block on just how fast they can be pushed, or if the verbal explanation isn't enough. A small amount of "showing off" by the instructor isn't a bad thing, as long as it doesn't devolve into instructor masturbation followed by student hero worship. In particular, I learn complex skills best by watching them performed a time or two. If I have trouble catching on to what the instructor is telling me, I'll ask them to demo it - slow, and at full speed.

As an instructor, I will demonstrate where its useful to get across either the execution of the skill, the execution of the drill, or when there's a major point to be made. If the student(s) want to see something specific, I'll attempt it for them - usually, I'd prefer to save any "real" shooting for sometime when I can shoot a match with them, so they can see things in context. Most of the demonstration I do in a class is without ammo - demonstrating techniques for getting into and out of positions, shoot on the move, etc. There are a couple of drills I show them that benefit from live fire demo... and I do something similar to the TJ 5-box demo that supermoto describes (didn't realize TJ was doing that, having not taken a course of his... that drill is so highly effective at pointing out how much more important good entry and exit is than raw movement speed!!!). In fact, in the last class I did, I fired exactly four rounds in the course of the class, not counting the match that we shot as part of the class - and they were doing that very drill. But I demonstrated pretty much every skill I showed to the students in some way... Whenever possible, I let the student demonstrate to themselves, too, through various drills and their own observations of their improvement by using a modified or new technique, etc. Seems to help them learn better, and increases their confidence in the new skills more quickly.

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Jake-

With students who want to learn........with students with even the slightest drive to excel.....you're right. The learning is happening off-range.

However, when it comes to the non-hobbyist shooter, the unfortunate, horrible, hideous reality is that the o-n-l-y training time they're going to get is in the class. For most of these people, the concept of taking responsibility for their own development is totally foreign.

For the vast (99%) majority of people who are learning how to shoot for work, there is no "basement" or "bedroom" training. All they get is the assigned block(s) of instruction. At the recruit level , you m-i-g-h-t get them to do some practice draws in their dorm at night.

FY42385

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Jake-

With students who want to learn........with students with even the slightest drive to excel.....you're right. The learning is happening off-range.

However, when it comes to the non-hobbyist shooter, the unfortunate, horrible, hideous reality is that the o-n-l-y training time they're going to get is in the class. For most of these people, the concept of taking responsibility for their own development is totally foreign.

This happens a lot, actually - a lot of folks take classes with the thought that they're going to have magically improved at the end of the class. The truth is, it takes practice following the class time to integrate all of the new information. People who do even a small amount of work will improve - to a point, the more work they do, the more they improve (assuming they paid attention, and actually learned what the instructor was teaching).

Some folks just enjoy the social aspects and dedicated range time they get in a class - that's all good. They will still learn some things, of course, but they won't show a whole lot of improvement following the class. Unfortunately, its just how we're wired as humans.

Those who want it (and prove that through their actions) get it. Those who don't... don't. I stress with my students a lot - I can show them the path, but I can't make them walk it. I encourage them to take notes (so that they can refer to them later when they don't have their mouth to the fire hose), to ask questions (so they are clear about what we're covering), and to practice - dry fire for even 10 minutes a day will make a huge, huge difference. In the end, though, its up to them to do the work. There are few joys that match seeing your students excel, though, so I stress this point a lot to them...

For the vast (99%) majority of people who are learning how to shoot for work, there is no "basement" or "bedroom" training. All they get is the assigned block(s) of instruction. At the recruit level , you m-i-g-h-t get them to do some practice draws in their dorm at night.

Unfortunately, you're right. Wish it wasn't that way, but... not a whole lot we can do about that, is there?

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not a whole lot we can do about that, is there?

Nope, not when the admin building says to the student.."Failed one of the written tests? You're fired. Failed the PT test? You're fired. Failed firearms? Go back and try again, one on one without the stress this time, you'll get it eventually."

Edited by RobMoore

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However, when it comes to the non-hobbyist shooter, the unfortunate, horrible, hideous reality is that the o-n-l-y training time they're going to get is in the class. For most of these people, the concept of taking responsibility for their own development is totally foreign.

If they have no drive to excel at all, they won't. Period. The class and instruction is useless to them and should be spent on someone who does have the drive.

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Hey Dave-The only thing we can do is give them 110%. Everytime.

Jake-Unfortunately that's not always an option. Even if the student is too stupid/lazy/apathetic to realize their life depends on this.....we owe it to their partners, fellow officers, taxpayers, and (sigh) even the criminals to lead them to water, tell them to drink, and then shove their head in the water bucket. Repeatedly, if necessary. If they simply refuse to drink......it's time to take administrative action to get them out of there.

Rob-"You'll get it eventually." I feel that pain brother. We've had a rash of "Well, maybe if we give her a different gun maybe she'll pass" incidents as well. Good times.

FY42385

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As for demos, I made a few recordings yesterday that got used for the first time today in the basic fundamentals class powerpoint (the first class our students get for shooting, right after safety and orientation).

Results were positive. It showed close ups of the grip in action from multiple angles, including slow motion, and a few wider shots to show the overall stance, ect.

We even have one of those "bristlecone" machines so we can put in some first-person viewing of what the sights SHOULD look like. I got the idea to dig it out of mothballs when I saw Travis Tomasie use one for his Shooting USA pro-tip on "calling your shot".

They will still see live fire demos, but there are some things they just can't see in a large group standing off to the side and behind the instructor. This is the video-game generation coming through training now, so visual learning is key. The old fuddy duddies don't agree. They still think all this techno stuff is a crutch against having to stand up and lecture for 2 hours.

Edited by RobMoore

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If they simply refuse to drink......it's time to take administrative action to get them out of there.

I couldn't agree more. In my experience however, the majority are not thirsty at all...and the administration is pretty blind to it.

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Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile and his record was buried in a few short months. Before that, noted authorites said it was impossible, simply because they had not seen it and because they could not do it themselves.

No. I read this statement a lot, and it is simply untrue. If you read The Four-Minute Mile by Bannister, he makes it very clear that numerous runners in the world were pushing the four minute mile mark for months before he finally broke it. I'm not going to swear on a stack of Bibles that, years before the event, some idiotic soul didn't opine that a four minute mile was impossible, but it would have taken a fool indeed to voice that opinion in the months before Bannister went into the history books. Because it was obvious that in short order someone was going to run a four minute mile. Bannister's challenge wasn't to do something that people didn't believe could be done; his challenge was to do something that it was obvious could be done but, as far as we knew, no one had ever done before, FIRST.

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... a demonstration of some machine guns .... and then, only to demonstrate muzzle climb with sustained fire

No! This is a myth that circulates because the US Army has failed to train effective machine gun gunnery for decades. It's like saying shots fired during a Bill Drill are doomed to climb up into the upper 'A' box " 'cause the muzzle climbs in recoil."

A good gunner should be able to produce circular cones of fire even during longer bursts, and aims center base to better distribute the beaten zone across the target area. Shooting controlled bursts allows the gunner to search/traverse while the other gun he is paired with engages.

The Marines still have a MG MOS (0331, 0332) but the best "Emma Gees" I've met are Commonwealth troops. Look up the history of The Battle at Somme to see why the Brits take their MG's seriously.

And to the topic, an "instructor" that won't demonstrate with live fire is a poser. Walk your talk or shut your mouth!

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Wow.

I wish I would have seen this topic when it was hot! I'm kind of amazed that it has taken this long for folks to question the practice of Not shooting demonstrations. In every instance where demonstrations are not allowed by a group or organization they stem from someone having not been able to cut the mustard at some point. Groups or organizations have been embarrassed by one or more instructors talking the talk but not able to walk the walk.

The Army has been horrible with that. Do as I say and not as I do (since in lots of cases I can't).

I believe that instructors choose a method to instruct that makes them the most comfortable. Those guys who aren't comfortable shooting in front of students won't advocate it, and in most cases it's a good thing since they don't know how to use that tool. But those guys who can and do shoot in front of students, are ones who are comfortable with that technique, and have already seen the outcome of what they are about to demonstrate. They have learned what a valuable tool it is and some would refuse to work inside the more restrictive confines.

Any demonstration put in place purely to stroke an ego is pretty easy to spot just for what it is. But when an instructor gives an action, condition and standard statement relating to the next task at hand, and then demonstrates correct performance.... everyone is a winner. Unless he can't demonstrate correct performance.

All too often we find folks teaching or calling themselves Instructors and that in and of itself is the first step in them stroking ego. They no more believe in themselves or their ability to teach then the man in the moon. They know they are selling wolf tickets.

But there are guys out there who will plan a demonstration and use it as a teaching tool. Those same guys will accept the fact that they might have to press a trigger while a student grips a gun, or take a gun and fire a group for the sake of firing a group. Those same guys realize they assume some risk of making a mistake in front of students, and the learning that will occur from either the mistake or success is well worth the risk involved.

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Instructor should definitely demo shoot, with the weapon that class is using. If you can not shoot the demo due to injury or infirmity, then someone else should demo. Visual learning is what most new people use. If an instructor can not shoot, period-why are they instructors?

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