Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Practicing Missing!

I was working with my 6 year old shooter getting him ready for a local shoot (finished 13th out of 40.)  After we finished he said, "Watch Grandpa, I can go fast".  He then dry fires 10 rounds in about 5 seconds.  He was quick, but every shot was about 10 feet high.  He was flailing the gun. What did he learn? Nothing, but a bad habit.

Rodeo Romeo would say you got to learn to go fast before you learn to be accurate.  He says that because that is how he learned and was told that by his mentor.  I don't think it is true.  I think this fallacy comes from the flailers, those that get their speed from swinging the gun upward rapidly.  If you flail, it is a matter of chance  whether you will hit.  The faster you flail, the faster your times will be and the less accurate you will be.  Most of the top guns do not flail. Rodeo does not flail. There are some that flail, but it is extremely hard to be accurate doing that.

Another fallacy is that you have to slow down to be accurate.  This also comes for those that learned by flailing.  It makes sense for the flailer.  If you flail, the slower you flail the longer the muzzle will be in the hit zone, hence the better chance you will have to hit. For those that do not flail, those that shoot from a solid stable shooting position, their fastest and quickest shot is also their most accurate.  This fallacy, that you have to slow down to be accurate, is why slower shooters give us so much trouble.  We come against a slower shooter and we change our draw trying to slow down, hence we miss.

It is frustrating to see new shooters in our club, routinely shoot into the 3s and 4s, and then go to competitions and hit 30% or less.  If you are practicing enough to shoot into the 3s or 4s, you are practicing enough to be shooting 80%.  If not, you are either a flailer or you have been practicing missing.

If you are practicing and hitting 30% and not paying attention to that 70% that miss, then you are wasting that 70%.  YOU ARE PRACTICING MISSING.  Why do it?  Takes no more effort to learn from that 70%.

What you need is a target medium that allows you to see every shot.  And I don't mean in a general way but a very specific way, 2 inches high, 3 inches high, 4 inches low and so forth.  If you see every miss and exactly how far off, your body and mind will automatic adjust to hit the target.  You don't even have to think or try. With the proper target medium, you may start out hitting 30% but by the time you have shot a 50 shot practice round you will be hitting more consistently.  The body and mind will move the hits into the target zone.  The last 15 or 20 rounds of a 50 round practice session are what are important.  That is where you progress into being a gunfighter, not just someone that happens to hit the target every once and awhile.

It is also beneficial to get off of the clock.  If you are always chasing the clock you will never finalize your draw.  Your draw needs to be automatic, instinctive, done without thought or effort when you compete.  If you are always changing your draw trying to get that last millisecond, you will never be done with your draw and will be always in the draw developer stage.  Those developing their draw are slowed by the process.  To reach your potential, the draw must be like breathing.  That is why our fastest times come not when we are trying to go fast, but come as a complete surprise, when we are relaxed and just letting our body do what it done a thousand times before.

Fair warning to those who compete in the Valley of the Sun.  There are a few youths that shoot with me in Jack's Canyon and,

"We don't practice missing in Jack's Canyon!"

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Recovery Shot

That purveyor of videos has been ranting about sportsmanship again. He has just about ridden that horse into the ground.  We are proud to have him as a life member and take him with that one flaw.  In a few short years he has become one of the top guns of the sport.

I just don't understand the obsession.  In the old west I doubt anyone worried about sportsmanship, they were too busy looking for an advantage.

When someone on the line asks me if I take recovery shots, I belly laugh and respond "Every chance I get."  I am reserving another comment for that one cowboy who thinks he epitomizes cowboy fast draw but really is a tad short on sportsmanship to meet the norm.  The comment is "If you will tell me when you are going to miss, I will intentionally slip cock."  When asked, I always think "this ought to be easy, he is already worried about missing."

We have to take every competitor as they are when they come to the line.  If one is thinking about whether I might take a recovery shot, that is fine, it is just an advantage I will have.  I ain't missing, so it does not matter to me and I always enjoy a good laugh before I shoot.  Loosens me up.

The top guns don't worry about recovery shots, that why we have championships determined by .98, .34 and a .331 to a .36 and .36.  For my obsession, I note that the winner shot 75% while the loser shot 50%.

John, I don't know why you always flee this crispy weather we are having for that cool, breezy place.  Now I hear you are fleeing to an island.  You need to get back here, I can't handle Shady any more. I might have to break down and buy one of your videos.  "But it is hard to fill a cup that is already full!"

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Belly Shot

I have been training a young lad, age 6, who for anonymity I will call the Jack' s Canyon Kid since that is where he first drew from a holster.  He has been shooting off the table for about a year and at his last competition hit 24 out of 25 shots finishing 25th out of 50 shooters. He is ready to move on. We moved him to the holster with the requirement that he shoot from the hip.  We intentionally were going to skip "the point and shoot stage,"  so that he never would learn the "point and shoot" since so many struggle unlearning that technique.

He did well drawing from the holster. After 150 rounds he was hitting about 60% from the holster, although slow.  Hitting has always been important to him.  Unfortunately, the powers that be have read the rule book which says that a competitor under the age of 8 can not shoot out of the holster.  So now it is back to the table.

So as not to lose what we have accomplished he is now shooting the "belly shot" from the table.  He starts with the gun on the table or at low ready position. Upon the light he draws the gun back to the locked elbow position while cocking the hammer.  When the off hand wrist reaches the belly he pulls the trigger.  Therefore the gun is fired from a stable position with no forward or upward movement.  THERE IS NO POINT AND SHOOT involved.  Why learn something you have to unlearn later on. This method mimics the draw out of the holster.  When he turns 8, the draw will be already firmly established.

His first seventy rounds were good but he was consistently high.  It will not take long to fix that because in Jack's Canyon we don't practice missing and to the Jack's Canyon Kid the most important thing is to be able to brag he beat Grandpa. He is the only novice I have ever seen who adjusts his stance naturally upon a miss.  He broke into the six s today and I foresee he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Others that help new shooters age 6 to 86 may want to consider the belly shot for their new shooters.  Start them from the low ready position and have them draw back to a hip fire position,  I have good friends that can consistently shoot into the low fours until they get into competition and the target draws them back to their "point and shoot" roots.  Why learn something that you have to unlearn later on.

"We don't practice missing on the mountain or in Jack's Canyon"