Training Yourself

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posted on October 14, 2015
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You may have heard the saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” The reality is those who can, no doubt do, but it is those who understand that should be teaching. After all it’s you teaching yourself on any given practice day. All you need is the right information.

First off, have an understanding of what you are trying to do and how to accomplish it. This is usually getting hits in a timely fashion. I understand that when I see the sights with the target behind it and the gun goes off, I get a good hit. If you don't get the hit you want, think about what you saw or felt or lack of either. It is when you can draw on that feedback that you can knuckle down and train yourself. It comes down to mental discipline and understanding how to apply the fundamentals.

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Much more than a look, grip involves specific pressures, tensions and hand placement on the pistol.

Some of the best shooters may not truly “understand” how they get their results. Nor are they always able to impart that knowledge on others seeking to operate like them. Some of them can only show you what to do. There is deeper information as to what a shooter sees and feels when a shot breaks and that is what you need. Understanding the how and why of a technique is what gives you the ability to best perform a physical skill.

Training yourself first requires you to know the principal idea you want to accomplish. Whether it is managing recoil, shooting a plate rack quickly or hitting a very small target near or far. It all starts with the principal idea. The tactic to accomplish this task needs to be demonstrated. A visual as well as why you would use this tactic. “It’s just how we do it” is never a good answer. To continue to train yourself you need to know why we do it this way.

Techniques help a specific shooter accomplish the tactic. This is where a shooter can help you work with your body composition, strength and physical limitations. You need to know the details so you can learn it 100 percent through and through. Like the modern two hand high thumbs forward pistol grip. Many things are easy to make “look” right, but are you performing it correctly? How do I make it happen with small hands, short fingers or less physical strength? The nuances are what improve your ability.

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A little spray paint reminder of what I need to see for every shot can be helpful. When I see this, plates go down!

For example, more than a look, grip must be high on the pistol. Grip pressure should be front to rear and side to side with strong and weak hands. Grip strength cannot be too much with the strong hand or you lose the ability to control the trigger finger.

You could press a trigger all day with just the tip of your finger and experience poor results. The “tip” may not be best for that gun, trigger or your hand strength. What is it you’re trying to accomplish? Accurate hits on target is much more than just trigger finger placement. You can work on smoothness and speed by using a shot timer to let you know if you’re making progress. Reload drills are a great way to practice economy of motion. Properly aligned sights on the target usually gets the hit, but don’t forget about what you feel at the moment as well. 

Therefore, training yourself is accomplished by understanding the principle you wish to accomplish, knowing why you need to do it and mastering the details of how it is done. Results will tell you if you’re doing things correctly. If results are not what you want, tweak the details to change the results.

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