It never fails, when there is a hit to the ego the first target is equipment. There is a time and place to look at your equipment, but the first place you should look is within.
Why did you fail
Many times students become enamored with a piece of gear despite it’s faults. They believe if something did not go to plan, such as hitting the target, it is because it failed. The problem with this thinking is it stunts growth, it limits your potential. If you want to improve, failing with be a part of the process and understanding why you failed is the path towards improvement. You have to take a step back, be impartial and objective. Why did I miss? Narrow down to the specific reason and then focus on correcting the flaw.
How to see things grow
We do a lot of diagnostic work in our classes because of their innate ability to help students. I don’t think you can overdue precision work. It must be balanced with the rest of your skill development and we do it better hands down. It is all about the process, building technique then testing the durability of said technique. Not only is it important you know what you are doing wrong, but what you do right. Shooting precision groups at distance is a great example of this task. When you combine the task with an evaluation system or standards that allows you to systematically identify, isolate and replace the error you have growth on your hands.
Live in the present
Not everyone can experience the positive growth at first. There is a lot of frustrations as you begin to learn what is right and what is wrong. The problem I see is sporadic performance, where there is just enough positive to give the impression nothing is wrong. How people will ignore the wrong even when the instances of wrong outweigh the instances of right. When we push people during diagnostic drills or precision drills at distance some are open to the corrective strategy and make incremental progress. Others are still myriad in their former self’s performance. Reminiscing about that one time they nailed it and they are having a bad day. No, you are not having a bad day. Your technique is filled with flaws you don’t want to recognize.
The good bad example
These types of students come in all shapes and sizes, but a pattern I have noticed is firearm related. Yes, there are all sorts of bells and whistles that can enhance your shooting experience. When I get asked if they are worth the purchase I ask the student if their technique is solid. Without a solid technique, one that is observable, measurable and repeatable how will you know if it is helpful or not. Then there are those who cannot see the difficulty of their selection. A good example is a double action pistol purchase. I don’t care how smooth the trigger pull, the fact remains the student must master two different actions. Close range is notorious for hiding the challenge, but precision work at distance brings it to the surface. The question I ask the student is are you not only willing to put the work into mastering, but the harder work into sustaining.
There are lots of reasons why a student will stick to the firearm despite it’s shortcomings. I am not oblivious to them, but it is frustrating to know they are limited in their potential rather than enhanced by their equipment selection.