Ok, let me get right to the point. I want to throw a challenge out. We have something in common, and that is the both of us (unless you chanced upon my blog by accident) probably want you to be a better shooter. You want it because what kind of person doesn’t want to improve!? I want it because helping people improve is my job. So I decide to create a top ten list that is short, sweet, easy to read, and will give you guaranteed results if you follow it. I challenge you to follow each list item, and if you don’t improve significantly, you get your money back…(ok I know this is free so that won’t be much). This one will focus on competitive shooting, and the next blog will focus on defensive shooting improvement.
- Set and write your goals down. Do I really need to go into detail here? Haven’t we all read the significant difference defining your goals and actually writing them down will make? The studies are out there, and they show a definitive and measurable difference in those that dream versus those that turn those dreams into goals by writing them down. I use a detailed goal setting process that is a full planning process rather than just setting a few goals. Read more about it here…
- Commit 10 minutes a day to dry fire training. Yep, just 10 minutes (not including gearing up, safety check, etc.). I have a compete dry fire training program in my book (YCHTP) and it is there for a reason. I tell my students that even if they were so rich they could buy a private range and shoot live fire each and every day, that they would still learn things during dry fire they would not learn while doing live fire drills. Come on….I KNOW you can find 10 minutes.
- Learn and apply the skill of visualization. Visualization is the act of running a mental video in your mind of something before you intend to do it. It can be applied to a training drill, or a full competition stage at a match. Let me put it like this, if I queried the ten best shooters in the world and could summarize their habits, there is one thing that stands out that is different from the thousands of shooters that are not as good as them, and that one thing is the use of visualization. In the mental section of my book I am very keen to point out that visualization is best learned in practice, so it can be better applied in matches. A side benefit is that practice sessions become more focused and give a higher return on your time.
- Train with someone. Yep, as simple as it may sound, a motivated training partner at or above your skill level will increase your effectiveness. I have experienced this personally and have read numerous articles on the concept of having someone push us to the next level. Make sure you find someone who is a good fit for you, and commit to pushing each other hard, and holding each other accountable. It will make a significant difference in your skill!
- Observe and Ask-Questions! I am absolutely amazed sometimes when I attend one of my local club matches, and I observe some of the newer shooters on my squad. The shooting (marksmanship and manipulation) and strategy mistakes I observe sometimes amaze me. I am not trying to toot my own horn here, but my thought process is this – If they watch the better shooters on the squad and I, they could simply mimic the techniques and strategy we are using to improve themselves by 50% or more! And even more importantly, if any of those newer shooters simply asked us why we hold the gun different than them, or use a different strategy when shooting a stage, we (across the board) would GLADLY tell them! I volunteer information and help at times, but am hesitant to do so if I feel I might offend someone by offering advice. So if you want to get better….watch someone better than you and ASK what they are doing! I can almost guarantee they will help you…
- Take a class (sooner). I know this tip might seem self serving (because I teach classes)….but if you take a class from another qualified instructor, that is fine! The point is that I spend a huge amount of time in most of my level 1 classes correcting bad habits with students before I ever get to introduce them to new techniques. Please get some quality training sooner so you can prevent yourself from ingraining bad habits. Read the full blog on this concept here…
- Do a full post match analysis on each match you shoot…and react to what you learn! How many of you have attended a match and sucked at it, and left it behind never taking the time to really analyze what you lacked so you could build a plan for improvement. Take the guesswork and voodoo out of your performances and use them to propel you to success. Read more here..
- Address you visual deficiencies and start a short vision training program. Shooting is visual. I find that many shooter I work with simply do not know what they should be seeing visually when they shoot and a large percentage of them are probably lacking the visual acuity to do so. The key? Working on visual skills! I have a full chapter devoted to vision training in my books, and to write that section did a bunch of research on the subject. My findings? That almost ALL of us can significantly improve our vision (no matter where we start) with some simple exercise designed to work the muscles in and around our eyes. And the good news…once you have developed those muscles you should be able to maintain that development with very little time invested.
- Spend more time shooting and dry firing your guns than reading about it. Ok…know you are reading this on my blog, but if you find yourself spending time behind a computer screen or on your IPAD and end up skipping practice sessions then I am guessing you don’t want to get better. Get off the forums and on the gun!
- Commit to a routine physical fitness program. This is the simple truth, the fitter you are the better you will be able to perform. Increased strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health will all improve your scores. The most improvement will be found in the practical shooting sports, but the slow fire (bullseye, small bore, and high power) competitors will benefit too. If you want a completely different approach on fitness and diet, amount other things, I strongly recommend you take a look at a book call Four Hour Body by Tim Ferris. It is life changing for those that have little time and want results.
There you have it, a quick and easy to apply ten step list to vastly improving your game. Apply each one, and get results. Guaranteed!
Until Then – Train Hard!