Taking Time Off

9-Jan-12 – 10:13 by ToddG

For many people, the holidays are a time to take a break from shooting. Whether it’s family obligations, weather, or just plain old burn out after a long season of dedicated practice, it can actually be good to step away from the gun for a little bit.

What is often overlooked is the beneficial side to taking a break. Sometimes over the course of a year’s training we build bad habits: training habits, technique habits, performance habits. Walking away from the gun for a few weeks can reset the mind and allow you to come back along a better path. Too often, shooters try to force their way through burn out periods and at best it’s just a waste of time and ammo. At worst, they’re building up a lot of bad reps that will require that much more effort and practice to repair.

How much will your skill degrade? Candidly, that is difficult to answer. Some folks fare better than others. Some folks also get more upset over a few hundredths of a second than others. A fantastic shooter might see his draw go from 1.0 second to 1.2 seconds and think the world is coming to an end, while his neighbor’s draw might go from being measured by sundial to requiring an actual calendar… and he won’t even notice. Let’s face it, if someone only goes to the range four times a year, how much skill does he have to lose to begin with? As a rule, the finer the edge — the more you’ve honed a skill — the faster it will dull. But it tends to sharpen again more quickly, as well, so it doesn’t take much time or effort to get back on track after a vacation.

It’s perfectly ok to take some time off from your shooting. And hopefully when you come back you’ll be more energized and enthusiastic than ever. Don’t worry about whether you’re setting personal records your first day back. If you’re reading pistol-training.com, odds are you put time and energy into your practice. Egos get involved. No one wants to see that he’s worse today than he was last month.

Don’t jump right back into the same bad habits and disrupt your entire shooting year as soon as it begins. Work on the fundamentals. Get reacquainted. It’s not about what you can do today. It’s about setting yourself up to be better tomorrow, and the day after, and all year long.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 9 Responses to “Taking Time Off”

  2. Very true for all sports/activities Todd.

    If a person finds themselves struggling for no reason or dreading another trip to the range that’s a sign to step back and do something else while your brain recuperates.

    By Lomshek on Jan 9, 2012

  3. Cool picture. For some reason I’m getting an image of you wearing loose, white linen clothes doing yoga on top of a rock in a zen garden.

    By Tyler on Jan 9, 2012

  4. Unfortunately my “breaks” this year were primarily broken bones.
    But I used that time to forget bad habits and I’ve come back a better shooter each time.

    By JodyH on Jan 9, 2012

  5. If shooting is anything like every other sport I’ve done, you’ll frequently find yourself performing even better after the break than you did before if you were truly in a burnout stretch.

    By Laughingdog on Jan 9, 2012

  6. Like JodyH I have a break for a bone issue.
    My SIRT arrived after two days after the tibia broke.
    I am concerened that I have been chasing the laser, time will tell.
    Appreciate the site(s).

    By M91196 on Jan 9, 2012

  7. I was looking forward to DotW being “rock kicking 101” but I see that did not work out so well…. looks like I will be changing gears instead.

    By cct125us on Jan 9, 2012

  8. Just when I was starting to enjoy some time off, I read on SSD about the new SIG Adaptive Carbine Platform. OMG, this is exactly what nobod… umm, I mean, EVERYONE has been waiting for. With the ACP, I can take time off AND improve my shooting performance! Another home run for SIG! Can’t wait to put all my SIG 250’s into ACPs.

    By Joe S. on Jan 10, 2012

  9. You know, reading this blog is like listening to Whitney Houston: I know you have millions of fans, but I can’t shake the feeling that you’re talking directly to ME.

    I had a break over the holidays, and my improvement seems to have taken a small leap. It’s like it takes a little faith to believe that dry fire is working, even if you’re not showing it to yourself on the range every week.

    By MDS on Jan 14, 2012

  10. MDS: “You know, reading this blog is like listening to Whitney Houston”

    Does anyone know how I can ban MDS from reading the blog ever again, please?

    By ToddG on Jan 14, 2012

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