Sometimes, the barrier to progress is you. The ability to self-sabotage is way more prevalent than you might think on the firing line.

Know Thyself

It is always interesting to take the 1,000 foot view approach in classes. You have the opportunity to observe a group of people all participating in the same evolutions, following the same instructions and performing to the same standards. Yet, we have varying degrees of outcome. There is no such thing as equality of outcome when it comes to physical performance. There is the ability to learn and apply only. The better you learn, the better understanding of the actions required. However, the real challenge is not in understanding the task at hand, it is understanding yourself.

Avoid The Dark Path

All things being equal, it boils down to ego, failure to follow instructions and the inability to choose success. Many times I see students who are graduates of other formalized schools show up with terrible skills. The notion goes something like this; I attended this school, I observed my performance amongst my peers and I was near the top of the class. Ergo I must be a good shooter. If this notion is not challenged early on it leads to a dark path. One where the shooter doesn’t put in the work, will make excuses for poor performance and fails to hold themselves accountable.

It’s Good To Be Hardheaded

Humility is one of the most important traits one can have in any high risk endeavor. Respect for how little you might actually control or the realization you don’t control as much as you thought. If one can see this, then one can see the importance of recognizing what is within your control. Which really is just you, your tools and your preparation. This level of understanding can be quite liberating. It can create a sense of intense purpose or determination.

Being Ready to Learn

I have seen students with virtually no formalized instruction make huge gains and those with a fair amount stagnate. A major difference is how well they can follow instructions. When an error is discovered the action is the result of doing something wrong or not right. You can park yourself on the shooter’s shoulder and tell them over and over, but until they can follow the instructions for correcting it may be an effort in futility. In these situations it might prove more valuable to identity the error through the rounds on the target. I explain to the student when they see rounds in this sector what the probable causes are and what they should do instead. After having heard me say it to them a few times they often can start to see the error in real time. Then I typically will step back. I allow the student to experience the corrective strategy first hand because now they are better prepared to “see” for themselves. They become the custodian of their skill development.

It doesn’t happen as quickly as I would like sometimes, but it does produce results. Something as simple as following instructions at the cellular level can be challenging for the majority of us, myself included.

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