Thursday, September 20, 2012

Training – Slow Down . . . . Take Your Time . . . .


I have periods of time in my life when time simply screams by. Honestly, it is considerably slower now-a-days, kids are out of the house, my business is on my laptop, Susie and I have more time together than ever before so I do my best to throttle the hectic side of my personality and promote the more peaceful side. OOOOOOmmmmmmm . . . . oooooommmmmmm . . . . yeah, right.

While life spins by quickly, all of us take time out for range work. Time specifically set aside to hone/refine/polish skills that we all hope we never need, never use to protect ourselves, or family or our friends. Why rush?

Have you watched new shooters during their first range trips – seen their excitement – looked into their eyes with dilated pupils – and know that they really needed to slow down first before they can ever do anything productive on the range? Honestly, there are many times I feel a lot of the excitement prior to a range trip that I felt years and years ago.  So let’s talk about this a bit.

This is a great time for a new shooter to learn to “calm their mind”. This has come up in other discussions when I posted about calming you mind in times of danger, when you need to keep your head in the game. It develops a habit of slowing things down and being proactive in that process instead of reactive to the events of the moment.

Prepare your plan for the range the night before – “practice with purpose”. Load your bag, make sure you have the right weapons and ammunition for your trip, the targets you are going to use, eyes and ears – all the usual gear you take. This will help with a smooth start to your range trip.

I know many ranges book lane times, but prepping prior to your trip will help make the start of your time in your lane begin more smoothly. Don’t hurry though the prep – gear up (eyes, ears, cap), holster, mag pouches or perhaps your standard carry configuration. Load your mags and then do a good weapons check. Look for damage, problems, cracks, anything that feels “off”.

Take a couple of deep breaths, review the first set of drills you are getting set to do, clear your mind, focus on the drill . . . . . and then do it, full speed. When you’ve finished – evaluate you’re your performance, make some notes, use your camera phone and, again, slow yourself down. Prepare for your second round of drills using the same techniques we just went through. You have all the time you need to prepare and all the time you need to evaluate . . . . but run your drills at full speed. Honestly, that is the way of the world, of actual conflict – you have all the time in the world to prepare and train – followed by an actual firefight or encounter with a threat – and then you can complete your AAR, decompress, evaluate.

Make sure you work your plan – stay focused – “keep your head in the game”. You can make adjustments on round count, drills – whatever – on your next trip, but work your plan as closely as you can – make your adjustments on your next trip.

There is no real way to train to “calm your mind” – you will react the way you react. But, if you make full use of your range time, your drills, your draws, your movements – not rush through your range trip just making holes – you will be able to take full advantage of your range trip.

And, if you follow the same procedure when you gear up each morning – check your magazines, your holster, you weapon – should you be called upon to defend yourself, your family or your friends – you’ll be ready.

Slow down – don’t rush – keep your head in the game – pay attention . . . . you have all the time in the world right now . . . . . . use it.


  1. Excellent point! But sometimes you just gotta go to have 'fun' too! Pins, tic-tac-toe, something different!

    1. Good point - going to work on different games over the winter to give our members something different next year. They have really enjoyed the change this year, hopefully we can find new goodies for them.