How to quickly regain focus while training

It’s great to be back at the keyboard- that holiday respite was badly needed. Count on resuming new posts on a regular basis now as 2014 gets rolling. Over the break I spent some serious time on improving my pistol groups to get closer to my goal of qualifying for NRA Instructor training.

To reach a training goal as efficiently as possible requires maximizing the quality of your training reps. One important piece of maximizing your quality reps is to be able to recognize bad reps (ex. Checking your target is one method but even better if you observe something wrong like the front sight jerking downward). Once you can do that, how do you refocus your mind and body on good reps? Here are some techniques that help me regain focus when I shoot a bad split:

  • Stop your reps. Be deliberate about the stop and relax. Take a deep breath. Walk off the firing line if you have to. The goal here is to clear your mind
  • Slow it down – so many problems happen when we rush. Perform the next set of reps at 1/10 normal speed and see if you can pinpoint the breakdown in your technique. If the bad shots don’t persist simply increase your speed slowly as you continue
  • Consider a few dry fire reps- if my trigger press is awry I can tell really quickly with a dry fire rep
  • Use training rounds on a regular basis – mixing training rounds in as you load practice mags has really helped identify areas for improvement. Seeing what happens to the front sight as you break on a training round (particularly an unexpected one) is excellent feedback on your live fire technique
  • Focus your frustration –  if you’re a competitive person like me you know that you can’t simply ‘de-frustrate’ yourself. A good way to focus that energy is into slow, deliberate execution of each fundamental. For me it goes like this: Grip, sight picture, trigger finger position, breathe in, trigger press, breathe out, follow through, repeat. Take a deep breath at each step and relax your mind (not your grip)
Marksmanship is not an easy skill to attain and even then it must be maintained to be useful. Stay positive and keep working at it- remember the FUN in fundamentals.




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