James Yeager wrote a great article for TacticalGunFan.com on how to get maximum benefit from attending a class on shooting and marksmanship. Some key points:
Keep an Open Mind
The golden rule is to have an open mind. Go to every class with the opinion you know nothing. Push all your previous training to the side and do the class exactly like the instructor tells you – even if the instructor tells you to do something that’s alien or has never worked for you in the past.
If you can’t honestly receive instruction with an open mind, save your money and stay home.
If you’re seriously questioning what you’re learning in a class you shouldn’t have ever gone. This isn’t to say that you should blindly accept whatever is shoveled before you. There are plenty of idiots pretending to be instructors in this field. Instead,
- Ask the instructor for a measurable metric on what a “good” performance is.
- Ask the cadre for a demonstration.
The response and performance (or failure thereof) will tell you if there is merit.
… 99.9% of us won’t do it because we don’t want to look bad in front of the other ninjas. So we keep on pluggin’ away with our inferior methods because they “feel better.” If you change the way you shoot you’ll most likely have a short period of feeling awkward about the new technique.
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve experienced this. Student shoots horribly and the instructor begins making corrections. Student protests with, “But my way feels more comfortable.” Doing what feels most natural is only valid if the results are there. My favorite analogy is touch typing vs. “hunt and peck.” It doesn’t feel comfortable to touch type at first, but is obviously the better technique.
Nobody wants to take a “basic-level” class. Everyone wants an “advanced” class because they’re above anything else. … I’ve found that less than 10% of shooters have a firm grasp on shooting fundamentals, yet 90% think they shouldn’t be demoted to anything less than an advanced class. That means there’s a 9 in 10 chance you’re that guy or girl.
This applies to practice and training on any level. The bulk of any training plan should be basic, core skills performed consistently. Group shooting from position along with gun handling done with singles and pairs should be the majority of anybody’s training session.
If you do your dry practice weapons manipulations and go to the range and “make payments” enough times, the new skills will be yours. Skip a few payments and they get repossessed. I’ve taken many classes with folks who take training all the time. At the beginning of every class they have to be shown the basics of how to shoot and they slow the class down. Take time between classes and ingrain those new techniques. [Organized shooting such as] IDPA and IPSC are great places to build skill and confidence
Go to as many different types of learning environments as possible. To become well-rounded, go to schools run by ex-military, police and champion shooters to learn something from all the different outlooks.
This is the best advice of all!
good article and great advice. i learned a new grip once. felt awkward but hey, the instructor was teaching for a reason. i mastered the grip and my scores went up big time. so what if “we’ve always done it this way” only results count.