Money Can Buy You Skill!
For years, I fell into the same trap many of us fall into and I decided to attempt to do this competition shooting thing all on my own, relying solely on information I found online and watching YouTube videos of other people’s matches, picking and choosing what to use based off of my own feel, perceived performance improvement and current trending theories. There is nothing wrong with going about the sport in this way and I actually encourage finding your own path and rhythm through your sources of choice, but personally, I was missing an element needed to get to my next level. I discovered the missing piece was the individual attention and critiques needed to develop or fix my own individual short comings. I needed to take a class!
Like most, taking a class was never a priority. I focused all my efforts and finances at attending big matches, taking the “learning as I go” approach and doing things because it felt normal or natural. This has seemed to work to a point but it has also come at the cost of my time and frustrations of trying to figure things out.
This past weekend I attended a 2 day class presented by Charlie Perez. For those who are unfamiliar with him, Charlie, based out of the Denver area, is a top level United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) Limited Division Grand Master. Winner of numerous matches and a 10th place overall finish at last years USPSA Iron Sights Nationals Championship.
Wow! What an eye opening experience! Charlie, like all of us, has experienced the ups and downs of shooting. He is so passionate about the sport he has literally spent hundreds of hours searching for answers, trying techniques, testing their validity and integrating them into his own shooting.
You can tell Charlie has an eye for seeing the good and bad in our sport. He identified areas needing improvement and gave me ways to try and improve them. Another thing that really stood out was how he delivered the information; a single word or catch phrase could clarify my hazy understanding of a technique or theory. Let’s be honest, intricate details of the “how’s” and “why’s” of technique and theory can be a very difficult thing to explain or relay to someone, but he was able to where everyone in the class could understand and absorb that knowledge.
Let me throw out a disclaimer. Everyone is different. We all need various levels of attention and direction to see improvement. Not every instructor will yield you the same performance gains you hope to see. Seek out as many different instructors as you can and take a class. Learn from their own experiences and implement the things that will improve your shooting.
After this weekend, I have placed taking classes at the top of my list. Whatever is needed to attend more classes is the goal. Even if it means skipping a couple of big matches next year to offset the cost, so be it. I will be better off for it and it will save me the time and frustration I have already experienced.
*Money Can Buy You Skill, sort of. Classes are a great resource for improving your skills. The knowledge that is given is based on the instructors own trials and experiences. It is still our responsibility to integrate those things into our own shooting. The real work begins now!
Libertas Vel Mors
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