The agony of victory

Recently I had a student finally earn his class certificate after several attempts. Probably not a big deal to some, but in this case it marked the culmination of hard work and dedication.

You cannot make an omelette without breaking some eggs so if you are serious about training you are going to have fail before you can succeed. We have all been there at some point and while some can be discourage others will percivere. I have to say I was quite proud the moment the student figured it out and was able to consistently perform.

So, how did it happen? Well, it started out by working on his equipment. He was shooting a double action pistol at first and it was incredibly difficult to overcome the challenges inherent with a double action trigger for a new shooter. Part of the problem was the training scars that were be created as a result. Each round was only reinforcing the bad things that we were trying to correct. It is kind of hard to see where you want to go when you can barely keep your head above water.

Once he was able to invest in a striker-fired pistol we started to see some progress, but the training scars were deep. The benefit was in the consistency of the same type of action with each round fired. Not having to deal with the double action was a big step. There was also some mental issues he was dealing with or expectations. While we might all expect ourselves to do well, that is not often the case. We often perform below our expectations, which boils down to managing expectations. That requires some serious assessments of current skill coupled with realistic performance goals. That’s the real secret, you have to know where you are and where you want to go. As the ego takes hit after hit you have to keep your eye on the prize. Fortunately, he had a group of friends that kept encouraging him despite how pissed off he might have been. Now, we are able to keep our head above water and see the shoreline.

I literally had to shock his system, rewire his brain to think about things from a different perspective. We used various physical drills that forced him to stop thinking and start doing. Getting him out of his own head was critical to his success and then it all fell into place literally like a light switch. And now, he can kick, stoke and glide to shore.

Why the data dump? While it might haven taken him several classes to accomplish what he did the road he took is the key and what I wanted to share.

You can easily get discouraged when things are not going your way. Another way of looking at it is taking short cuts, sure they may be a short term solution, but eventually you will pay the man. You have to put in the hard work; the blood, sweat and yes tears. Nothing is free in this world. But when you do the reward is that much sweeter.

One thought on “The agony of victory

  1. RamZar says:

    The Agony & the Ecstasy

    I’m pretty sure I know who Jeff is talking about. I first him during my first class with Jeff which was Combative Pistol 2 (CP2) in June 2012.

    CP2 is an unforgiving class with 2,000 rounds over 3 days. You need the discipline to do the best you can with each round! The instructor is tough and so are the targets where the scoring zones are not visible past 7-10 yards (tougher to see the head zone). There are batteries of instruction, diagnostics and scoring runs (one or two encompassing 100 rounds). It is mentally very challenging and exhaustive to remain focused and consistent. Not knowing these things and the crucial DQs (missing the target) I barely managed to pass my first time through.

    The shooter is definitely a dedicated fellow but he was dealing with too many variables. He had already taken CP2 twice already and he was at best an intermediate shooter. Taking CP2 is like being thrown into the lion’s den! He was finally able to pass this class in November on his fifth try. There were times that he just could not see the light at the end of the tunnel but with encouragement and dedication he persevered.

    First class he was shooting the DA/SA SIG P226. At his skill level it’s yet another hurdle to overcome the two trigger pulls. I loaned him my P226 DAK. At least now he was dealing with just one trigger pull. However, although the dedication was there the patience was NOT. You can’t get to your destination by skipping the mandatory work. There are no direct non-stop flights!

    So, he got the striker fired Glocks and M&P pistols. However, he was now dealing with Mini Red Dot Sights. The Trijicon RMR was not as reliable back then as it is now. Still too many variables, not enough patience and mentally self-destructing. Little by little he fixed the equipment issues, got personal training and stayed with it. Through hard work, patience, mental toughness and dedication he was becoming more consistent. The confidence level was going up and getting over small failures here and there.

    Personally, it’s all about consistency. What doesn’t break you makes you stronger.

    Anyway, this last CP2 class in November he finally put it all together and passed the class with an 85%! He was even doing a celebratory dance. We had 9 shooters in the class and only 3 passed with a final score of 80% or better!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *