Saturday, June 7, 2014

Training – “But, but . . . what if I look stupid??”


It’s that time of year again when some type of annual training rolls around for me. This year? Rob Pincus’s “Combat Focus Shooting” is what’s on tap this coming Monday and Tuesday.

I’ve got my gear together, plenty of 9mm ammunition, two Glock17s, a new Blackhawk Sportster OWB holster, my EDC IWB Blackhawk leather holster, sturdy shoes, sturdy belt and rain gear – 80% chance of getting wet Monday. At least it’s not snow!

Reworked the mount on my “ears” for my Contour camera. Not sure Rob allows video but if he does I’ll bring you a “bloopers” reel for your enjoyment!

And, of course, there’s just a touch of nerves. Let’s chat about those for a bit . . . “nerves”.

Both of our kids were in a wide range of activities – they were swimmers, in a school show choir, the boy was in the band, the daughter was/is a dancer . . . and then there were traditional school activities – classes, exams, college, first-second-third jobs . . . and phone calls.

As I type this the daughter and her kids are with us for a few days while her hubby rips their living room and kitchen down to the studs . . . smart guy – get the family the hell outta Dodge! She’s starting yet another course on child learning theory. I read one of her papers for the class and she recounted a panicked 2AM phone call from her college days where her computer crashed, a 5 page paper due the next day, no backup and she was sitting on the very edge of panic. My response was to simply ask “what are you learning from this experience?” I was dumfounded to find out the impact that short conversation had – she finally realized it wasn’t the grade that was important . . . it was what she learned. The fact that she was panicked, nervous simply meant that what she was doing was important to her. Let me say that one more time . . . if you are nervous about something all that means is that it’s important to you! It’s not an indicator of impending failure, that you will freeze mid note, mid dance step or mid shooting drill . . . you just want to do a good job.

Add to this a good old dose of type “A” male testosterone, competitive spirit and a drive to do your absolute best . . . it’s no wonder that when you step on to a square range or competition range or shoot house that you’re a bit “edgy”. That’s a GOOD thing.

The other thought that invariable wanders through is . . . “I don’t want to look stupid!” Well duh! The problem is that if you let this particular “inner dialogue” stop you from taking more advanced training . . . you never advance. That simple.

Perhaps you’re concerned about “failing”. We’ve chatted about this in the past as well – training to the point of failure. It is at that precise point that you begin to grow – where you find your limit, experience a failure and learn how to grow past it. You MUST fail to grow, there are no shortcuts!

Finally, I have always been tremendously resistant to the word “stupid”. I hammered on our kids that neither were stupid . . . but there were many things they were ignorant about. And so am I. THAT is the point of course work – to learn new techniques, to refine everything from our presentation to our trigger press. Ignorance is one more tool to use to your benefit because once you make that particular piece of missing knowledge yours – you can move on to the next piece and the next and the next . . . THAT is the point of ongoing course work and the changes to your training routine that results from your newly found knowledge.

So, for me, am I nervous? Yep, that I am. Am I afraid of looking stupid . . . come on – I’m a guy, of course I am.

But just think how entertaining the bloopers reel will be . . .

Don’t let your nerves or your fears stop you from pushing your development as a defensive shooter. The skill you learn in your next course may well save your life . . .


  1. If you AREN'T nervous, something is wrong... Just sayin... Go enjoy the training!

  2. Easy to say yet hard to do. I was nervous taking a class from you and it showed. I get what you are saying. Just go. Relax. Learn. Everything else comes from there IMHO.

  3. Jim - Yep, I plan to! ! :)

    Kelly -Learn . . . High on my list for the week . . . And fun too! :)

  4. There are two types of people who don't like to get trained in firearms. First are those who are not gun owners and second are those who don't think it is worth getting a training when they already know how to pull a trigger.

    Scott Edvin
    MA Gun License