Posts Tagged ‘practice’

The Time Monkey: You must learn to master him.

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

The time monkey.

What is the time monkey? The time monkey is that feeling of pressure you get when you feel like you are stressed for time. That stress and pressure will make you make mistakes.

So how can we master the time monkey?

Practice and build confidence in yourself and your skill set. If you break this down to a specific manageable task at first, this will be easier for you to accomplish. Since most of my classes revolve around shooting we can start there.

Once you have learned the fundamentals of marksmanship and can hit a reasonable target at a reasonable distance we can start on speed. For this exercise we will use an 8 inch paper plate at 7 yards. If you work till you can place 10 rounds on the plate fairly quickly you can start adding the element of time. Start easy. Have a buddy run a stopwatch for you or download a shot timer app for your phone. Shoot the 10 shots on the target in 15 seconds. Then work down to 10, then 5, then 3 seconds. You may be able to get even faster.

Now imagine what would have happened if I had started you out by placing the target out at 7 yards and telling you you have 3 seconds to hit the target 10 times. “GO!”
How well would you have done?
Starting slow and deliberate will allow you to get fast. “Slow is smooth, Smooth is fast”

This procedure will work regardless of if you are trying to mount a rifle quickly, shift targets quickly or reload quickly. Start slow and deliberate and work up to fast.

With some prior planning and practice you will be amazed at what you can do.

One stage in the old Army Qualification required the shooter to start in the standing position with his rifle loaded with 2 rounds and having with them another mag with 8 rounds. At the start signal the shooter must drop to the prone position take the rifle off safe fire the 2 rounds at a target 300 yards away. Then reload and fire one more round at that target. They then shift targets fire 3 more rounds. Then shift targets again firing the remaining 4 rounds. All this must be finished in 60 seconds….

The first time people shoot this usually the clock is on their mind or Time Monkey is on their backs. They rush through the string. They do not score well, don’t even get off all their shots. They fumble around with the reload. And time just slips away.

After a shooter has shot this a few times they see how much time is in 60 seconds. They get more comfortable with it. They focus on the task at hand and do not worry about the clock.

They finish with plenty of time to spare. Shooters finishing this string in 40-45 seconds with a perfect score is not out of the norm.

Work on the skill. Focus on the task at hand. Focus on doing it right.

Work till you can do this with an audience. That adds that extra little bit of stress you need to practice under. Eventually you won’t even know they are there.


Unorthodox shooting positions aren’t

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

In my Handgun Carry Classes I often get students who want to train with their own gun in our class. On the surface this is easy to understand. It is to be expected that someone going to a class to allow them to carry a handgun on themselves would want to train with it. There is a bit of misunderstanding about the class however. The class is not designed to train you to fight with a gun. The shooting portion of the class is only designed to “qualify” you to carry the gun.

It takes much more training and practice to become competent with the handgun as a defensive tool. The handgun can be used effectively even by the unskilled. It can also be a source of false security if we use it as a talisman. Just having the thing with us is not the same thing as being skilled with it.

Skill comes from training and practice.

Often when we practice we do so in one of the standard big three standing 2 handed strong side positions. This is ok in as far as it goes. If we are intending to practice for a “qualification” that is enough. Marksmanship practice is indeed a part of our training/practice. We must be sure not to confuse that with defensive training.

When we go to the range and only shoot in one of those big 3 positions and tell ourselves that we are training for defense we are fooling ourselves. If we but spend an hour on Youtube we can see all the defensive shooting videos we will ever care to see. One thing that jumps out in all of them is that they don’t look like the shooting we do on the range.

In defensive shooting situations people are moving. The shooter is moving. The target they are shooting at is moving. They are often shooting with only one hand. While these are more difficult to practice, we must put forth some effort to practice these skills.

Even though IDPA is not perfect it is a good place to step up the realism in our practice.

What are you practicing for?

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Practice, practice, practice. We all know we need practice. But what are we practicing for? The easy answer is to get better. But why? As my kids are want to ask. What are we specifically wanting to get better for. For many of us it is so we will be better prepared should a threat arise.
We often overlook a good source of practice. Competition. It’s hard for many of us to nerve up to going to a competition as we don’t want to embarrass ourselves.
I like to look at competition as practice for potentially using a gun for real. It’s not the same by a long way. It is a lot closer than many of us ever get.

Have you drawn your gun today?

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Have you drawn your gun today? No? Me neither.
This line of thought came up for me lately while listening to a pod cast. If it comes up today is the day you need to draw your gun it would have been handy to have drawn it a time or two before leaving the house. This would freshen your muscle memory. Hopefully this would make your draw smother.
Naturally if/when you perform this exercise your handgun MUST be unloaded and you MUST draw and present your muzzle to a safe direction.

I have not been in the habit of daily draw practice. I have done a great deal of drawing practice in the past and now tend to only practice drawing once a month. I usually do this in conjunction with competitions. I could likely gain something from drawing more frequently.

My major thrust in starting this topic on this blog is to push people in the direction of some dry fire drawing practice. It is with alarming regularity that I talk with people who carry guns on occasion who have never drawn from their holster. They may have never drawn from their holster clothing combo. If you wear a cover garment drawing with no cover garment is not the same. It’s a good place to start but only that.