Adding fun and variety to dry fire to help you learn faster and perform better

I’ve got a fun, easy, and powerful set of drills for you today that will help you improve faster if you’re in a learning mode and break through plateaus if you’re having troubles making the gains you want.

The drills…or rather modifications…are VERY simple on the surface and here’s why they work.

There are several models that try to describe our brains.  One of them is the Baniel Method created by Anat Baniel.  In the Baniel Method, the brain is either in learning or non-learning mode.

In non-learning mode, there is no growth.  You aren’t creating new neural connections or making existing ones denser.  You aren’t creating muscle memory.  You’re aging…stagnating.  You’re just going through the motions.

In learning mode, you create up to 1.8 million new neural connections per second.  This can be learning a new skill, refining a new skill, or creating multiple redundant neural pathways in the brain to accomplish the same goal.

Learning mode makes us more creative, happier, more youthful, and it feeds on itself and helps us learn faster.

One way to trigger learning mode is with novel or new activities.  Another is to do practice existing skills with slight variations.

This is a form of interleaved training.

Interleaved training combines something that you know with something that is new/novel/challenging.

Interleaved training can be very frustrating, because your performance at the core skill will almost always be worse than how it is when you practice the “normal” way.

It’s important to do perfect practice, but it’s also important not to stop with perfect practice.  Once you can start adding speed without having a big drop in performance, it’s time to start adding variety.

Let’s say you’ve got 2 shooters who have both practiced perfect form and have their technique dialed in.  We’ll call them Shooter A and Shooter B.

When Shooter A practices, they use perfect form and have 90% accuracy.  Person B uses interleaved training that makes it harder to execute perfect form, and only has 60% accuracy.

But here’s where things get interesting…

When they get into a high-speed or high-stress situation, Shooter A will perform at 20% and Shooter B will still perform at 60%.

So, Shooter A will feel better while practicing, but Shooter B will perform better when it counts.  (That’s part of the reason why we do all of the crazy drills we do in our training)

Ideally, you combine both approaches.  You focus on perfect form, and then the application of that perfect form in varied situations…gradually increasing the difficulty over time.

So, here’s a drill set that you can do that will let you take advantage of this.

Please remember that not everyone is as intelligent as you.  In fact, more than 80% of the population believes they’ve got above average intelligence…so I’ve got to continually remind people that they’re responsible for their actions and to train safely.  Only do these drills with an inert training platform like a Dry Fire Pistol, an airsoft pistol that’s been rendered inert, a blue gun, or your real pistol that has a training barrel or barrel plug inserted so that it’s not possible to fire a live round.

For this drill, you can use any target at any distance.  I usually use a light switch at 7-10 yards.  There’s nothing magic about that.  You can use a 1” target at 10 feet.  If the light switch is too hard of a target to hit for the balance drills, use a bigger target like the wall plate around a light switch…a wall plate for a single switch is roughly 2.75” x 4.5”.  The wall plate for a double switch is roughly 4.5” x 4.5”.

  1. Stand and do 5 perfect dry fire drawstrokes at 50-80% speed.
  2. Stand and do 5 perfect dry fire drawstrokes at full speed.
  3. Stand on your right leg only and do 5-10 perfect dry fire drawstrokes. Start slow and speed up to as fast as you can go without compromising technique.
  4. Stand on your left leg only and do 5-10 perfect dry fire drawstrokes. Start slow and speed up to as fast as you can go without compromising technique.
  5. Stand, close your non-dominant eye, and do 5-10 perfect dry fire drawstrokes. Start slow and speed up to as fast as you can go without compromising technique. (This one shouldn’t be challenging)
  6. Stand, close your dominant eye, and do 5-10 perfect dry fire drawstrokes, lining the sights up with your dominant eye.  When you think your sights are lined up with your intended target, open your dominant eye, correct if necessary, re-close it, observe with your non-dominant eye, and re-open your dominant eye.
  7. If time and your situation allows, lay on your back on a workout bench, on the edge of your bed, on the edge of a table, or any way so that your shooting arm is hanging off the edge. When you do this, you calm the brain because it no longer has to worry about balance, but you also challenge it because gravity is acting in a different direction.  When you’re comfortable, do 5-10 perfect dry fire drawstrokes.  Start slow and speed up to as fast as you can go without compromising technique.
  8. End the cycle with another set of reps where you stand normal and keep both eyes open. Even though it’s just been a couple of minutes, you should see a marked improvement in your performance.

Repeat the cycle as time allows, focusing on manipulating the trigger without disturbing sight alignment with each rep…even if you start losing balance.

These drills seem very simple, but some of them can be ridiculously difficult at first and don’t be surprised if you lose your balance.  (I still do sometimes)

You can make these drills harder or easier by adjusting how high you lift your foot and how big of a target you use.

There’s no map in the brain for most people for maintaining balance and executing the fundamentals of marksmanship.  So anything you do to create that map will make you more comfortable and more effective in a real-life chaotic situation.

There’s also no map in the brain for most people for what the non-dominant eye does while you’re shooting.  This can become a problem if the dominant eye becomes injured.

What’s amazing is that these drills can create an IMMEDIATE improvement in your drawstroke, but more importantly, it recruits more areas of the brain into the shooting process, it increases the density of your brain, and it will make your base skill more resilient to awkward situations.

It will help you make quicker improvements in less time and…most importantly…the skill will carry over to competition and stress shooting.

And, when this is no longer new and novel, change it up.  One of the drills that I’ll do is stand on my right leg, kick my left leg out to the left and tilt my body as far to the right as I can and still keep my balance.  Doing this drill has increased my ability to lean out from cover quicker and with more stability than before I did these drills.

If you’re a newer shooter or a shooter who’s trying to re-build or refine their fundamental skills and you want training that uses this accelerated learning technique, you’re going to want to check out 21 Day Alpha Shooter by clicking >HERE<.

If you’ve already gone through 21 Day Alpha Shooter, then you’re going to want to get Dry Fire Fit.  Dry Fire Fit is more than 50 drills that challenge the visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems and are specifically designed to take you from being a great flat-footed shooter on paper to being a great shooter regardless of how fast you’re moving, how off balance or awkward your stance is, or how challenging the situation.  Learn more about Dry Fire Fit by clicking >HERE<

Questions?  Comments?  Fire for effect below and we’ll answer your questions.



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  • Christian Gains

    Reply Reply May 4, 2017

    THANKS! This is a REALLY ENCOURAGING Article, as it gives me an idea of HOW TO balance, AND draw, AND fire, & HIT, w/o live ammo! I TOTALLY “get” the brain grooving, as I learned a bit from a Mt. Ranger friend, and he put me thru some similar tests…AND…He taught me to ALWAYS try different positions of firing & different situations for firing…Basically what your showing us! GREAT! THANKS!

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