What Would You Say You Do Here?

Speaking of getting serious about training, Greg Ellifritz has a great article on focusing on the process of learning versus the outcome of getting hits on paper.

It’s common that instructors will occasionally have frustrated students who “aren’t getting it.”  The students may actually even be proceeding at a normal rate, but feel bad because other students are performing better.  Most instructors find it’s hard to help a student in this situation.  The student’s frustration creates a continuing downward spiral that leads to increasingly poor performance.

Here’s what I do to break the cycle with my students.  Get them to focus on the process rather than the product.  What that means is that rather than focusing on the end results (getting hits where you want them on a target), have the student focus on a single process that will eventually lead to a quality outcome.

This works. I’ve seen it work in my shooting, where an instructor has me focus on just one part of my shooting with the goal of getting me to get better hits. Most recently, it was Ernest Langdon showing me how one simple thing (increasing the angle of my support-side wrist) can make a BIG difference in my shooting (and it did).

However, this idea of putting the process first isn’t just limited to what happens on the range, it can affect how you see yourself as an instructor.  I’m thinking of all the amateurs I know who are proud of the fact that they’re NRA instructors and teach concealed carry classes. That’s nice. What improvements do you make in your students? Can you tell me? Do you recognize improvement when you see it? What do you do to make that improvement repeatable? Instruction is about making better shooters, not handing out certificates.

The good instructors I’ve had all have one thing in common: They focus on making better shooters. The bad ones? They focus on their own achievements.  If your pitch to me is “I’m an NRA Senior Master Chief Training Counselor”  or a similar list of credentials, that’s nice and all, but what does that have to do with me learning to shoot better?

However, if your pitch revolves around helping me understand where I need to improve and how you can help me accomplish that task, now I’m interested, because I care more your accomplishments as a teacher than your credentials as an instructor.