One of my students recently said it best: “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know” This particular student, and avid shooter and concealed carry holder had no idea how unprepared he actually was to defend himself in a deadly force encounter.
IT SEEMS EVERYWHERE I LOOK I FIND ADS SELLING “ZERO TO HERO” TRAINING PROGRAMS or PRODUCTS AND CLAIMING RIDICULOUS RESULTS.
Initially I thought about quoting a few of the shooting ads I have seen on Instagram an Facebook lately, because honestly they irritate me. Truthfully, some of the ads sell products that might actually be really good….it’s just the way they say it that sounds so fake. But rather than talking trash about fake, crap advertising, I decided to write this post to give you the real scoop on any training programs on the market, and how you might products you find.
Some ads read like this: “How to Shoot like an Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, or Pro Shooter in 6 weeks!” or this “Find out the little known secret that will boost your confidence and turn you into a master in little to no time at all!” Blah, blah, blah. Aren’t you sick of those types of ads?
They are all written with the intent of getting you to make a buying decision with marketing psychology. The truth is that I use a very talented marketing staff to help me advertise my programs as well. What I DON’T do is promise some secret or overnight successes if you spend the $$. Actually quite the opposite…I offer programs that are very good, but require one to spend a bunch of time and truly WORK to develop skill.
In this article, my goal is to dispel some myths (maybe my pet peeves) and help you select good training products, regardless of who sells them. One that will truly allow you to reach any shooting goal you set…if you put in the work. And that is truth #1
Truth #1: SOLID SKILLS TAKE TIME AND EFFORT TO BUILD!
If you see an add that promises something that makes you think “can this be for real?” it probably isn’t. The truth is that if you are not motivated to work, my program is probably not for you. No program will work for you. Honestly, I get questions almost daily asking about things that are already answered in even my free Youtube videos, if people simply took the time to watch them. People just don’t seem to want to put the effort in and watch a video longer than two minutes, or read an entire book or long article.
So, how much time does a good program take? The answer is a good program NEVER really ends. And your desire to get better should never end. My training systems (each one designed for a different purpose), all vary in length. The longest one initially is around sixteen weeks in length, but can be longer or shorter depending on how much time you have. The one thing I want to remind you of, is that there is no end to a good program. After you complete XX assigned training days or drills or weeks, the program should guide you to analyze your results and modify the program to then take you to the next level. I call that training measurement and modification. Think of it like a cycle that never ends, always re-evaluates, and is modified to drive to a higher goal.
Additionally, if you are using any system to get better at any skill, the length it takes to do so is completely dependent on YOU! We all have unique situations and learning paces, and something you could practice and learn quickly, might take me several tries to learn. I always tell my members and students to repeat a practice drill (or session) as many times as they need to in order to get it right. Do not move on until you have accomplished the learning goal for that drill (or session)!
Another thing that always seems to be a key on most ads is the SECRET concept or technique they have. That is truth #2. There are no secret techniques or methods. Shooting techniques have evolved greatly, but you will find most material is cyclic and repeats over the years.
Truth #2: YOU NEED TIME TESTED TECHNIQUE AND PROPER TRAINING METHODS TO BUILD SKILL, NOT SECRETS.
The greatest shooters in the world develop skill pretty much the same way, and non of this is earth shattering or new. I hate to say it, but it is kinda boring. A great fitness coach once told me that the biggest reason they offered different exercise selections in their programs was to prevent boredom! He told me that a really good program would be systematic practice of movements that stimulated a response from the body, then simply more of that. Not a continually changing program designed to simply “entertain” the athletes and keep them from getting board. Shooting is much the same. If you take all of the skills needed to master a specific shooting goal, there are only so many things you need to work on. Professional shooters do not practice new stuff each time they hit the range, instead they work on improving the same skills they already have.
In a good firearms training program you might find:
- Practice several times a week using dry fire (unloaded practice) to develop and ingrain skill in their manipulation techniques (stuff like the draw, reloads, malfunction clearing, rifle mounts, stepping and pivoting movements, etc.)
- Practice using simple, fundamental live fire shooting drills that mimic the dry fire drills to an extent. These drills would be practiced until one masters the fundamentals, and then would progress on to more complex skills.
- Tests of skills in high level competitions, real world events, or simulated events, or even standard skills tests.
- A systematic method to reflect on what was improved on (or sucked at) and a system to modify the training from there.
Not to say mine are the best…but my training systems all have each of these components. If the program you are following does not, then ask yourself why?
Truth #3: ANY TRAINING AT ALL WILL EFFECT THOSE THINGS, AND REAL TRAINING NEEDS TO HAVE CONTEXT DRIVEN GOALS.
Any program should be specific to the goals you set. Maybe that trying to hoot super tight groups to impress your friends, but that is not necessarily as specific as you should be. Shoot tight groups at what distance? Shoot them at what speed? And more importantly, for what purpose. Honestly, in all of my training classes I have never had a student ask me to simply help them shoot tighter groups. Instead, they want to hone several skills that might make them a competent defensive shooter. Or maybe work on some things that will help them up there game at their local match. Of even improve skills they need to become a better instructor for their students. So while shooting tight groups is necessarily a bad goal, it is but a small part of a larger, more context driven goal. What is your shooting goal? If you don’t know it, figure it out! If not, you simply throwing darts at a yet to be located dart board.
So what is the key to my programs or any other program on the market? DEDICATION AND WORK! I can’t say that enough, and if you are not willing to dedicate and work, then don’t wast your money on any program anyone sells! We are a distracted nation of people that have a hard time paying attention to anything for more than thirty seconds. This does not do well for those of us that want to get better at something. So start there, decide to dedicate and work. And figure out what you want to work on, and where you want to go. Then do the work!
Until Then – Train Hard!
P.S. I purposely did not include sales links on this article, as I assume since you are reading it you know the programs I offer. If not, you can learn more here: Training Programs
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