Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Training - Focus!


The work world intrudes on my evening . . . it’s Christian on the phone . . . payroll is coming . . . data has been lost . . . and folks are more than a little frustrated . . .

Christian: Bill, it happened again. Everything is gone for the 5th and 6th. I need to know what’s going on!!

Yep, I get it. Last time, after a new install, some settings on the operating system had been messed up causing intermittent data loss. We found them, fixed them . . . the world was good. Until tonight . . .

Me: Everything?? No data at all??

Christian: Well, at least for department 12 – nothing, zero, zip!

When things go off the rails the primary need at that instant is to FOCUS on what is really wrong and not what someone thinks/believes/”sees” as wrong. I use the “rule of 3” (yep, there’s one for trouble shooting software too!) I have them pick just 3 employees that aren’t coming out the way they should, drill down, find the issues and . . . the rest usually fall in line. Unfortunately Christian doesn’t know the employee number of 3 folks . . . but he does know the department number that has nothing showing . . . 12. So, I punch into his server, fire up the management software and bring up an edit function. I punch in the department number and pull up . . . a full screen of data . . . that’s supposed to be missing. I bracket the date going one day earlier and later . . . full days. I pull up the entire pay period for department 12 . . . all days are full . . . with a consistent pattern of attendance . . . there is no problem . . . no missing data . . .

Christian: Well, it all looks OK, nothing is missing. They must have been frustrated and just put in some wrong data . . .

Which brings me to the primary point of this post . . . fixing problems is about FOCUS! You simply must set aside the temptation to think EVERYTHING IS SCREWED UP, narrow your “vision” and focus on the little things. That is how you fix bigger issues, by resolving small ones first - be it resolving a software issue . . . or a shooting issue.

Today was Dot Torture day. I’d promised myself I would do this the first week of every month so after receiving a load of rock for the range I headed to the pistol range to shoot the drill. You’d think by now I’d just throw up the target, shoot 50/50 and walk away hardly being able to wait to post my “perfect” target. Yep, you’d think that. But there always seems to be things to work on as my latest efforts will point out.

20150513_143858 (Large)

Circle 1 is 5 rounds, slow fire. I gotta tell ya, it’s still difficult for me not to “prairie dog” my shots just to see how I did. And, since there is no holstering between rounds this is the “dot” that shows if you rush through your follow through. Obvious things to work on here. It’s a reasonable group, all within/touching the circle so I’m not down any – but it could certainly be better.

Circle 2 is what you want to see. One round per draw, some over lapping holes and all well within the circle. From the holster I had this solid.

Circles 3 & 4 were the same. One round on each from the draw. Again, very happy here with the exception of a “squeeker” on 3 – I will take this one.

Circle 5 shows no improvement. Heavy Sigh. 5 rounds dominant hand only. Same as last time. Honestly I think the culprit here is simply overall arm strength which I am working on.

Circles 6 & 7 also are a pretty good showing. From the draw – 2 rounds on 6 then 2 rounds on 7, repeat 4 times. 16 rounds total. Solid groups with the exception of a flyer on 7. This reinforces last month’s focus on DELIBERATE shooting.

Circle 8 is 5 rounds slow fire support hand only. My performance was worse this time. Again I believe this can be resolved by better arm strength which I am working on.

Circle 9 and 10 is two magazines with 1 round each. Shoot 9, go to slide lock, emergency reload, shoot 10, repeat 3 times. I am also happy with this part of the drill. Good groups – I’ll take it

So, how does FOCUS fit into this run at the drill? Well first I could bang on myself for the down 4. And I do growl at myself quite a bit, I admit that. But where I need to place my focus is on Circle 1, Circle 5 and Circle 8. These show I need to focus on my sight picture, work on my follow through and slow my shots a fraction. They also so my weakness as of today is single handed shooting. I will be interested to see how my shooting improves as my arm strength increases. Monthly target sets should show that. We’ll see how that goes.

As for the rest of the target it shows that much of my foundation is solid. Those requiring a draw from a holster between each engagement are solid. You can always work to tighten groups, but with the “hit” parameter being inside or touching the outline the performance is solid.

So taking all of this into account – I can FOCUS on my weaknesses and then maintain the foundation of my overall shooting. It lets me know what to work on and what I simply need to maintain. It takes some “heat off” from personalities like mine. As for exactly what kind that is, does ENTJ mean anything to anyone? Yep, that would be me!

For the new shooter – focus allows you identify and work on a single piece of your foundation, get it solid, then move on to the next piece. You DO NOT and CAN NOT fix everything at once! There is NO magic course, NO magic drill and NO magic instructor. Only long hours of learning and work . . . so do the work.

As for other instructors that read my thoughts here – none of us can slack off on polishing and maintain the solid components of our foundation, because they do diminish with lack of use. And we simply must identify and work on those parts of our foundation that “need work”. Again, there are no shortcuts and no magic instructor’s instructor - simply hard work.

Shoot your Dot Torture Drill this month. Analyze the outcome, the “dots”. Determine where you need work, do the work, and polish the rest.

It’s as “simple” and placing the focus where it needs to be.


  1. I need to get back to the range and do a couple of those... and then more... sigh

  2. I need to get back to the range and do a couple of those... and then more... sigh