It happens all too often, you start off real slow and before you know you are some sort of ninja. Well, at least in your mind you are a ninja, the reality is a little different.
Finally Tuned Machine
In our instructor courses I talk about the importance of developing the two confidences. The first is skills confidence. What you need to technically be proficient at the skill or skills. This is where you put the hard work into your development as a shooter. You learn the basics, drill them over and over. Start to fail, learn why you fail and work to improve. Then fail again, repeat as necessary. At some point, you have developed your skills to what I call command performance level. That means, at any given time, in all manner of conditions demonstrate your skill to a minimum standard.
The Truth Hurts
It sounds easy, truthfully it is pretty easy. The hard part is patience and discipline it takes to get to the level where you can now push into situational confidence. The mistake made is trying to jump right into the situational confidence arena. It may not be bad, you learn really quick how ill prepared you are and well worth the price you paid. You walk away realizing, well that didn’t go according to plan. It can force you to work harder, seeing your failures in all their glory. Or, it can do the opposite. It can solidify the notion of not wanting to be put in that awkward and uncomfortable position…ever again.
Situational confidence is about taking your proven skills confidence; which is typically void of realism and applying them in realistic settings. These don’t always have to be in force on force scenarios, even just role playing with unloaded or even prop guns can scar someone. The importance of situational confidence is huge, but it is also part of a linear progression philosophy. One where you build from one level to the next, only advancing when you have developed a level of proficiency or meet a standard.
This is where the rubber meets the road, where you want to spend a good amount of your training resources. The reason situation confidence is so important is because it both familiarizes you with an unknown as well as inoculate you to the unknown. The more you dabble in this field the more gaps you bridge; which allows you to better react in real time. A major problem this solves is critical decision making under stress.
Rehearsals & Looks
Trying to perform any task under duress is challenging enough. Trying to do it without ever having been in the situation can be Herculean. We call these “looks” and a major reason we spend so much time doing rehearsals. The insight was ridiculously valuable, but it was only available if you were willing to see it over your ego. You had to recognize you made a mistake, try to understand why you made the mistake and then work towards changing the behavior that lead to said mistake. It is a process and no amount of good intention can replace the skill needed to take advantage of the benefits.
Put the work in to build your skills, hone them to a razors edge. Then test, test them until the fail, then test them again.