A major factor in students continuing their education is having a positive experience. Loosely translated, this means hitting the target on demand.
Stick to the Program
I love seeing students come through classes and achieve excellence in their performance. Many times this was associated with passing the class. Passing was associated with a positive outcome and I get that, but what is more important is a positive experience. If the student has a positive experience, they are far more likely to continue their education. If they stay on the path, it is more likely they will see improvements over time. The key is consistency, something I have spoken on many times in the past. Shooting seems easy; align the sight and pull the trigger. We all know it is more complicated than that so to ensure students stick to the program having the positive experience is a major objective in our training.
The Killer Commando Complex
Through the years I have developed a system of corrective strategies for helping students improve their shooting. I have discussed this system at length in various classes and anyone how has attended our intermediate or advanced classes has gained exposure to the process. The most important piece to this puzzle is understanding the subtle forces at play. Each of these forces can have a positive or negative impact on the outcome. There is nothing quite like shooting at distance to help isolate these forces to properly evaluate and if necessary correct. I joke in classes how everyone is a killer commando at the close ranges. For the most part they cannot hit because of poor technique and reinforced with no accountability. Either through misguided direction about deadly force encounters or training with sub-optimal instructors. They lack the skill as a result, but more importantly the guidance on how to improve.
Lacking the skill as a student is not that big a deal. A major reason we are so good at diagnostics is there is no short supply of students who need help. When students don’t have the guidance on how to improve it becomes an impediment to getting better. The corrective strategies I’ve created over the years is nothing more than an in-depth trouble shooting guide. Contrary to popular belief, shooting bully-eye targets is not the solution. It is a measurement and nothing more. Being able to identify what you are doing correctly and what you are doing incorrectly requires a bit more skill.
The Secret Sauce
The process is broken down into major and minor categories of errors. Then, each category is subdivided into simple or complex. Each subdivision is further broken down into levels 1, 2 or 3. I am not going to lie, it is challenging to work with students in this corrective strategy process. Not because of the errors themselves, but because of their inconsistency or in ability to repeat the same action or problem. I don’t care if it is a “wrong” action if they repeat it over and over it is correctable. Often they are the easiest. During the diagnostic drills we tackle the minor errors right away. These are typically all in the simple range. Examples can be better understanding of their sights and or grip.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Once we get past this stage, what I sometimes call the low lying fruit we typically focus on the major issues. A big difference between these two is the degree of error. Another problem is when a student has a complex error; which usually is the collection of more than one simple error. These are tough to solve, but the process works. Many times we see immediate results leading to the positive outcome. This system has been developed over decades of making mistakes. People ask me why I am so good at not just identifying the errors, but correcting them. The best answer I can give is I have at one point or another made the same mistakes we see in classes. I haven’t always been a good shooter. I made up for my shortfalls in other areas while I continued to work on becoming the shooter I am today.
As I look back, I’m grateful for the experience because I can relate to the student in a way many cannot. I was in their shoes and felt their pain.