The Proof is in the Pudding

Speed gets a bad wrap, everyone wants to be fast and when their accuracy suffers they look to blame everything around them. The blame rest squarley on your shoulders because you failed to recognize the importance of precise movements.

Move precisely, not quickly

We conduct a fair amount of timed drills in all of our classes, from the beginner to advance. The times are proportionate for the class level, but even then the times are too much for some students. There is a simple reason why, the student failed to develop the precise movements at slow speeds. When time enters the equation they are ill prepared to meet the time standards while maintaining their accuracy standards because they literally are moving faster than their capabilities. After so many attempts and failures I shift my guidance to having the student focus solely on their accuracy. Disregard the time standards even though it is a timed drill because if you fail to get the hit it really doesn’t matter.

Aim for flawless execution

Early in our curriculum we introduce students to “tempo” drills for the explicit purpose of going slow. Everyone gets wrapped around the axle about how slow we are asking them to go rather than executing the micro task flawlessly. Shooting is a collection of tasks combined in a chronological order that when performed reasonable well produces a hit. It takes countless repetitions to hone your edge and any shooter should have as a goal their high stress hit ratio. In other words, what they are capable of accomplishing under high stress consistently. The last part gets many people because students are quick to ride the high of a single accomplishment rather than the painstaking effort of being consistent.

You get what you pay for

The goal of any movement should be flawless execution, you should want to perform each movement as precisely as possible and to do so requires you to build the correct neural pathways. A word of caution, you are a product of your training and whether correct or incorrect if you drill the actions enough they will be the prime response under stress. This is the reason it is vital you seek out qualified instruction and training. The instructor must be able to deconstruct the movements so the student can see them clearly. Then the instruction must be broken down in order for the student to develop the requisite skills before moving on to the next task. In order to successfully navigate through all these tasks each task must be evaluated for comprehension and application before moving to the next task.

The good old fashion rucksack

Remedial training use to be something we did when we discovered a student was having a hard time with the micro tasks. Then we discovered everyone benefited from the drills and they went from remedial to required in our classes. I am happy with the results because now we see students developing better technique. It may not be fast, but it is technically correct and I will take that any day and twice on Sunday. It is hard to convince a student to go slow, there is this natural tendency to go much faster than their capabilities allow. We see a similar experience in our assault programs. When students fail to properly process the available information in order to make the best decision for future actions. It got so bad I would force those who moved faster than their capabilities to wear heavy rucksacks in an effort to “slow” them down. On the firing range the tempo drills replace the rucksack.

While speed is the ultimate goal, not at the sacrifice of accuracy. I doubt a Formula One racer would make it far on the circuit if he couldn’t handle the speeds, same theory applies to shooting.

"I wasn't naturally gifted in terms of size and speed; everything I did in hockey I worked for, and that's the way I'll be as a coach." Wayne Gretzky Hall of Famer Ice Hockey Player and Coach.

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