Getting to “Fight Speed”

I bet you think this post is about fighting, right?  Wrong!  Actually, to an extent it is, but my goal is to translate that term to shooting, specifically competitive matches.  The term “fight speed” is often referred to in the MMA/Boxing circles and means the speed that the actual fight occurs, which is often time different from the speed techniques are trained at during light sparring or drilling.  So how does this relate to shooting competitively?

Well, let me ask those of you that compete a question (for you non-competitive shooters, read on as there is a bunch to learn here for you as well):  Have you ever gone to a match and shot a stage but fell behind the pace of your peers (similarly skilled shooter), and or felt sluggish and unable to “flow” during the process?  If so, that is because your skills and mental processing speed was not up to the job.

You see, to be successful on a complex stage with multiple tasks required while under mental pressure, your technical skills must be executed at the subconscious level while processing things at “speed” in order to adjust as necessary.  The only way to train this level of information processing is to actually do it.   While setting up a stage and running against a training partner is one way to do this, it is not the best because it is very hard to simulate the mental pressure we are operating under in the real match.  This is one reason why the six modules of success section in my book, Your Competition Handgun Training Program contains “Game Day” as one of the key modules.  In order to learn to process and learn that “fight speed,” one must place themselves in the environment (match) and actually perform at that speed.

Fighters tend to work up to a fight and spend the last 3-6 weeks of their preparation on full contact sparring, with like skilled opponents.  This practice is specifically designed to allow them to get their body and mind ready for the “fight speed” they will experience in the actual fight.  Shooters should be doing the same thing, using club, small section, or state level matches to hone their skill and execute at speed under stress, and essentially learning how to process and flow through stages better. This process simply can not be skipped in the overall preparation for the big match of the year (nationals, etc.).

In closing, I want to challenge you to get out there and train, and then schedule your “game day” matches to test your ability to execute your shooting skills at speed.  There is simply no other way to work this part of your game!

In a future article, I will break down the chronological timeline each of the six modules of success should be focused on, as they should not all be focused on at the same time.  This will help you prioritize your training program in order of where each module can be best focused on.

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Until Then – Train Hard! 

Mike S. 

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