Competition training for the tactically minded…
I believe that old dogs CAN learn new ways. As a shooter you have two choices, accept the need to improve, or make rationalizations or excuses. I have always had a great desire to explore the edge of human performance, to know what is possible, and how to get there.
I recently journeyed to Biloxi, Mississippi to receive training from Steve Anderson, USPSA Grand master, author, and coach. I have been using his material for the last 6 months, also listening to his podcast, which helped me to win my first IDPA match overall, and in addition to place consistently in the top 5 pistol shooters at our local match. The material works, so time to get it directly from the source.
One of my coaches had the unique ability to pick up information very quickly. When I asked him how he did it, his reply was “I look for the commonalities in the movement, instead of the differences.” This insight has allowed me to develop skills rapidly in many diverse areas, and with this mindset I jumped into a competition class.
Competitive shooting and personal protection have many things in common. Gun handling, marksmanship, efficiency of movement, and performance under pressure. True, there are some differences in equipment, intent, and measured success,but overall shooting is shooting. I compete to improve my own abilities, however my primary focus is personal protection.
Matches provide the opportunity to compete with some exceptional shooters, and I would like to be able to perform at their level. One of the great things about competitive shooters is they measure and track everything they do during a match. Draw, transitions, reloads, movement, and classifiers are known times for the greatest in the world all the way down to beginners.
Steve Anderson uses this information to know exactly how much performance he can get from each shooter using this data driven approach. He is exceptionally good at pushing the last bit of speed, accuracy, and/or performance out of each person according to their current level of skill. Sometimes during class, individual shooters performed a drill a dozen times, until their true level of skill manifest itself. We trained in three modes of training, accuracy, speed, and match mode to develop a deep understanding of what was required in each mode in isolation.
Dry fire drills from his book Repetition and Refinement (1-12) were explained, practiced, and coached eliminating excess movement and enhancing reaction and execution speed. Twice a day I have been dry practicing these drills, and I noticed a difference in my ability to perform these drills compared the group. The technique taught during the (accuracy) shooting groups was a fundamentally different approach that yielded extraordinary results for all the shooters present.
Speed mode is my weakest area, but with Steve’s coaching approach I was able to shoot times that I would have thought unattainable for me. During one drill, we drew to steel at 10 yards and transitioned to another steel target at roughly 10 yards to the right. Steve’s methods allowed me to perform this in 1.1 seconds with solid hits. I was struggling before this to get a 1 second draw on a single target.
The years of competition and fighting have left me with a fairly solid match (performance) mode, however Steve develops a methodology to enter this state which useful for matches, classifiers, qualifications, or self-defense. He is one of those coaches that can see what is possible for you, and will push, cajole, or drive you until you get it, if you let his system work.
If you are tactical shooter that is intermediate level and above, (IDPA Sharpshooter, USPSA C class, 80% on the FBI or Rangemaster qualification, etc) this class will help you explore the edges of human performance, furthermore developing a systematic practice and process to improve your shooting.
Having a fast and efficient draw allows more time to decide and aim, being able to shoot on the move makes your fundamentals rock solid. Learning how to train in all 3 modes allows you to achieve a higher level skill. Buy the books, listen to the podcast (That Shooting Show) or most importantly, take a class from Steve Anderson.