I watched the second of my two revolver shooters slowly pull the trigger to the rear, strong hand only, and HIT the 18 inch steel chest plate. FROM MORE THAN SEVENTY YARDS AWAY! Yes, you read that right. This lesson comes from a competition class I taught in Gainseville, FL. The drill was a fun drill, designed to allow the
students to apply proper sight and trigger management at a distant target, all while using the concepts of the mental program I teach (from my book YCHTP). We normally start out at 10 or so yards and the shooters only goal is to draw and hit the target with one round. If they miss, they get to try to make the shot with their strong hand, and if they miss again, with their support hand. Once everyone in the group shoots we move back and anyone in the game gets to continue to play.
At the time described above, the group had already moved back from 10 or so yards to the distance of around 70 yards, and the reason the revolver shooter was using his strong hand only was because we had all hit the target with two hands and the few of us left in the game could not physically get any farther away from the
target. So we improvised by making the shot harder. In the end, we all made that shot, and when we tried it with our support hand only we all missed! We ended the game in a draw. The moral of this blog is not to tell you about the game though, it is to discuss self limiting assumptions. What is a self limiting assumption?
Example 1: Years ago NO ONE thought ANYONE would be able to run a sub-four minute mile. It was an assumption…obviously not a galactic law because once that assumption was crushed, numerous other runners beat that time within months.
Example 2: A shooting example might be one of the original practical shooters making an assumption that a sub-5 second El Presidente drill was impossible. Of course, these days we have times under the 4 second mark in the open division.
Now, I know some of you might be thinking that hitting a small chest plate at that distance is accomplishable, and I agree. What surprised me, and pointed out that I had made assumptions that were not true, was the fact that almost the entire student group exceeded the 40 yard distance, and most made it past 50 yards. In previous classes I have had students make it past 50, but not many. Most get pressured out and start pulling the shots after around 40 yards. So imagine my surprise when we passed 60 yards with almost everyone in the game! I had “assumed” that we would be done with the game much earlier. I was wrong!
The point is that each of us is ingrained with bad mental habits that limit our abilities. Instead of striving to find our limitations, we instead set them in our head. “It’s impossible to do this or that.” At this stage of my life, I firmly believe we self-limit much more than we think we do. It’s time to change that! How? Start by believing in yourself. Next, work hard on rewiring how you think about things, and in particular, how you think about your own limitations. REFUSE to let a skill barrier exist without trying to beat it every time you train. A few years ago I hear the term “get your number” from my friend Mike Hughes (developer of the S.I.R.T.). He and his workout partner used the term when lifting weights and it meant that at the point where they thought they were at complete failure, they found the mental energy to push through and get a few more repetitions. This became their new “number.”
Shooting drills should be approached the same way (within an acceptable level of safety). In practical shooting, time and accurate hits are both critical factors. If you are training, you should set the
acceptable level of accuracy and then strive to continually beat the time. DO NOT accept your fastest time as your final fastest time for the drill….just your limit for that moment. Work to beat it next time. Every time!
The main reason I advocate that my students follow specific drills, and use an electronic timer to measure those drills is because I want them to push for improvement during every practice session. Using a specific drill that is set up and started exactly the same way will allow you to measure the metrics of that drill (time and points), and repeat it in the future. As you can probably guess, the future should involve trying to beat your old time, or if you are using a set or PAR time, beating your points scored in that amount of time.
The walk back drill (by the way, credited to Rob Leatham who I learned it from), in this particular reminded me how important the mind really is in performance related goals. The students in the group were good shooters, no…they were better than some of my average groups, but they were not a group of “ringers.” They simply applied the fundamentals we had worked on and believed they could keep hitting that piece of steel, no matter how far we got from it. If we had been on a range with more distance, there is no doubt in my mind we would have moved well beyond 80 yards before the game was over.
SO I have one question to ask you…..How are you limiting yourself??
Until Then – Train Hard!