I was privileged to be the Guest Speaker at The Mingle 2018, a firearms community networking event this past Saturday. My topic was Myths, Misconceptions, and Solutions in the Firearms Training World. There is such a myriad of examples that I have decided to start writing #mythsandmisconceptionsmonday. I would like to acknowledge the influence John Farnam, Greg Hamilton, and Craig Douglas have had in the development of my fascination with the topic.
The misconception that resonated the most with the audience was Training is not an event, it’s a process. Too often in the training community, we put on a training event and our clients then leave with the impression they are ‘trained.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. Training is only the preparation for practice.
Regardless of how fundamental or how complex the training is, practice afterward is essential. The practice will then prepare the client to apply those skills reflexively. Without subsequent practice, the skills will soon be lost. Practice can also prepare the client for training at a higher level. The NRA Training Department’s progression of Basics Of Pistol Shooting, Personal Protection In The Home, and Personal Protection Outside The Home is a good example of a training process that involves clients over a period of time.
The NRA recognizes the necessity for practice after a course by including in every training course syllabus a follow-up program for the clients to follow. The follow-up Skill Development Exercises consist of a series of repetitive drills that reinforce the skills taught in that class. The Marksmanship Qualification Program is yet another possible means of practicing and furthering a client’s skillset.
We instructors often complain that our clients rarely come back for additional training. Perhaps that’s because we don’t do a good job of educating our clients that they have started on a journey, not reached a destination.