The Goldilocks Principle

24-Jul-08 – 01:54 by ToddG

Plenty of instructors fall into the trap of pushing students too fast, switching to a new drill long before the student has mastered — or even begun to grasp — the purpose of the first one. All too often, this is borne out of sense that students want to do lots of different things rather than actually learn a few key things.

Less common but just as bad, instructors sometimes get so wrapped up in one aspect of shooting that they hold students back. A shooter doesn’t need to hit the x-ring on a bullseye at 50 yards before you start working on gun manipulations, speed, and applications. 

The trick is to find the best balance you can. Stick with a drill or concept long enough for the student to understand what he’s supposed to be doing and know how to practice it. But when his attention starts to wane or his eyeballs are starting to cross because he can’t focus on the front sight anymore, switch to something else. There’s no law that says you can’t come back to marksmanship again in a little while.

One important responsibility for instructors is to keep our students motivated, focused, and enthusiastic. Set a pace of instruction that achieves those goals and everyone will improve.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 2 Responses to “The Goldilocks Principle”

  2. Todd, I agree completely.
    As a new shooter (3 years) I’ve taken several courses which were good.
    However, too many things covered for me to get a few subjects down really well.
    Probably one of the problems is that many courses are not set up for very specific skill levels so the instructor doesn’t want to bore the more advanced people.
    Would also like a course with more “coaching” i.e. don’t just tell me how to do it;tell me what I’m doing wrong.
    I guess for that you’d need individual training or at east a very small class.

    By The Fish on Jul 24, 2008

  3. The Fish — Personal attention isn’t hard to give in a class if the instructor knows what he’s doing, assuming the student:teacher ratio is under control. I’ve done classes with 25 students on the line at a time (due to requirements from the customer agency) and at that point, all the instructor can do is herd cats and watch for safety violations. But with smaller groups, the mistake a lot of instructors make is that they watch the targets and they watch the line but they don’t really watch the shooters. I run drills in a way that allows me to pay attention to one shooter at a time without having to give commands every few seconds. For me, I find that 8 people on the line at a time is a good balance.

    By ToddG on Jul 27, 2008

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