Want to shoot better? Train less. Here’s why…

A common saying in the gun world is that if you have a choice between a $500 gun and a $1,000 gun, you should get the $500 gun and put the rest into training and ammo.

This is true to a point, but the majority of training and practice that gets done at ranges across the country every day does very little to help shooters actually shoot better.

Putting rounds downrange is fun.

It’s satisfying.

But the training that I see 99% of shooters doing will actually make it harder for them to improve…and yes, this even includes shooters doing dry fire training.

If they’d just train less and make a couple specific training tweaks that I’m going to share with you today, they’d get better results in less time.

There’s a very popular saying, “Practice makes perfect.”

It sounds good on the surface, it’s easy to agree with, but for most people, it’s a lie.

It’s like saying, “If you walk faster, you’ll get where you’re going sooner.”

Here’s what I mean…

I remember hunting pheasants one day with my dad in light snow as a kid.  I think I was still using a .410.

He was trying to teach me to pick a point in the distance and travel straight towards it.

We turned around after 100 yards and there were 2 distinct sets of tracks…

One was straight as an arrow—that was my dad’s.

The other went back and forth like a bloodhound—that was mine.

He pointed out how much further I had walked because of weaving back and forth, and the lesson has stuck with me for the last 35 or so years.

I had to walk faster and further to get to keep up with my dad…and walking faster didn’t get me where we were going any sooner.  I just spent more energy and had to navigate more trip hazards.

Back to “practice makes perfect”.

A more accurate saying would be, “practice makes permanent.”  Practice only makes perfect if you’re practicing precisely.

If you’re paying attention to details and deliberately practicing precise technique, you’re telling your mind exactly how you want it to perform in high speed or high stress situations.  You’re creating a default mode.  A conditioned response.  Like a preset on your radio that you can press and automatically get the desired result without a lot of fumbling around.

But the presets in your brain will only be as precise as your practice.

And that’s not what most shooters do.

Not with their live fire time and not with their dry fire time.

Since shooting is so much fun and releases so may neurotransmitters, it’s natural to just start shooting and keep shooting without diagnosing or fixing issues.

That’s why it’s so common to see targets that look like this:

Don’t judge the shooter when you see a target like this.  Most shooters don’t have the tools to diagnose or fix the issues that cause targets like this.  Even if they want to, they may not know how.  And when you don’t know what you don’t know, it’s hard to fix your own problems.  That’s why we offer training DVDs like >THIS< and private training like >THIS<

But I encourage you to ask yourself what this kind of practice reinforces?

Does it reinforce the grip that the shooter had when they shot to the left of the head or the one that caused them to hit the right shoulder?  Does it reinforce the flinch that turned their headshot into a center-mass hit or when they pressed the trigger without disturbing the sights and hit where they were aiming?

What kind of performance does this kind of practice make permanent?

Is it fair to get results like this in practice and expect to do BETTER in a life or death situation?

Probably not.

But the tendency when shooters have a target like this is to shoot more.  To do more of the same and expect a different result.

And even when shooters ARE shooting well, the tendency is to keep shooting after focus, concentration, and performance starts to drop off.

And the same thing happens with dry fire.

I talk to shooters fairly often who feel like they need to do a certain amount of dry fire every night.  It might be an hour of practice.  It might be 500 reps.  But the emphasis is on quantity and not quality.

I want you to know that there’s a better way.

To train less…but train in a very specific way and get way faster & better results.

When you train, if you want optimal results, you want to do deliberate practice.

Deliberate practice is, very simply, when you pay attention to the details of what you’re doing…even if it means slowing down to a speed where your brain can pick out those details.

You break up a process into it’s component pieces, and focus on perfecting one component at a time.

And then you gradually put the pieces back together until the entire process is smooth, efficient, and automatic.

There’s 4 huge keys to this process:

Deliberate focus on what you’re doing…paying attention instead of just going through the motions…will help you build neural connections faster.  As fast as 1.8 million new connections per second with deliberate practice versus basically zero when you’re just going through the motions.

Precise form…Think of practice as telling your brain where you want the preset on your radio to go.  If you set a preset for 99.5, you want it to go to 99.5, not 100.5 one time and 98.5 the next.  The more you focus on practicing with precise form, the better you’ll perform in high speed or high stress situations.

Slow Down…Anyone can shoot faster by moving their finger faster.  The trick is to shoot faster while maintaining a high level of accuracy.  When you slow down and focus on precise form and eliminating wasted movement, you’ll be able to shoot faster without sacrificing accuracy in short order.  And, remember, just like with driving, your definition of “slow” will increase considerably over time.

Time…The first 3 keys all take brain power.  Brain power that’s hard to sustain, especially after a long day.  So you only want to practice as long as you can maintain precise form.  When your form drops off, call it quits for the day, regardless of whether it’s been 50 minutes or 2 minutes.  Just putting in reps will just chip away at the value of the precise practice that you did.

Sometimes, you can do some slow breathing, combat breathing, or use other tools to get your head back in the game.  Other times, it’s better to come back later or the next day.

What about just plinking and having fun?

Sometimes I just want to shoot.  I’ve had a rough day and want to play with my guns.  In my mind, my Glocks are for fighting, and I’ve got other guns for fun…like my M&P 15-22, my Ruger 22-45, and my Kimber TLE-II.

I keep a very high standard when I’m shooting my Glocks or practicing with my SIRT, but I’ll let my hair down quite a bit with some of my other guns…and even with my M&P SIRT.  That way I can still enjoy “group therapy” when I don’t have the bandwidth to be so serious.

What about pushing your limits?

If you’re trying to speed up…on drawstroke, reloads, multiple shot strings, etc. a few things will happen.

First, you’ll be moving at a speed where you can’t focus on individual components.  At full speed, you’ll kind of be able to focus on the beginning and the end and the rest will be a conditioned response.  The big thing you’ll be focusing on is how fast you’re executing.

Video is great for dissecting your technique at full speed.

Second, there will be a rough spot as you’re increasing speed where all of your motor neurons may not be firing at exactly the right time.

The brain basically needs to rewire the process to account for the increased speed.  Even if your feet, legs, hip, torso, and head appear perfectly still when you’re drawing, muscles will flex throughout your body to compensate for the movement of your arms…and when you add a new gear and try to draw at a faster speed, it may take a bit for the rest of your body to catch up.

How long?

Sometimes, it’s instant.  Sometimes it takes a few reps or even a few practice sessions.

But when you’re trying to push speed, I want to encourage you to start and end your practice session with a series of reps at whatever speed you can execute with precision.

If you’re looking for a systematic way to diagnose and upgrade your shooting, and go from happy-you-hit-the-target to fast tight groups like this:

 

I want to encourage you to check out the 21 Day Alpha Shooter course >HERE< Now on DVD!

And if you have hit a plateau…or just want to maximize your training time by focusing on the highest leverage drills specifically for you, check out our virtual live training by going >HERE<

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