Sometimes, you get out to the range and find yourself with a very excited student. All he wants to do is fill up the magazine and rapid fire like he has seen in the movies. I write "he" because, frankly, women don’t usually have this issue. It is up to you, the instructor, to re-focus your student and get him to focus on the fundamentals. As a new shooter, rapid firing 9mm rounds, he will be lucky to get shots on paper, let alone a respectable grouping. If allowed to continue, he will escalate, getting more hyper and shooting worse. In the end, he will be frustrated, and tired, from all the adrenaline. It will not have been a positive experience. That is not the goal.
You need to “interrupt the behavior cycle”. Yes, there is a term for it. As he is spinning up, you need to gently, but firmly, bring him back down. There are always different ways to do that, it depends on your personality and your student. When it happened with me, I had him clear and lay the gun on the table, step back out of the booth and take a couple deep breaths. Then, I circled my hands wide and brought them together in front of me while telling him he needed to center, like The Karate Kid. Once he quit laughing, he did, and the cycle was interrupted. We went back into the booth, I had him load 3 rounds in the magazine and fire them one at a time. He went from all over the cardboard to drilling the 3 inch sticker I had put on the paper. He was able to do this consistently, and after a couple reloads, I was comfortable letting him fill the magazine to capacity, and he calmly shot the sticker off the paper.
What could have been a miserable experience turned into a happy, high-fiving student who was smiling as he left the range with his completion certificate and his souvenir target with a nice tight grouping.
Although I must automatically take umbrage at the man-bashing, I found it very well written and classy.ReplyDelete
No bashing intended. I have not yet had a woman behave that way, at least with New shooter. Timid or intent is more common. Thanks for reading and commenting!Delete
I don't think it was man-bashing. Many times, men and women behave completely differently at the range, as do people of different ages. My guess is that this was a young person, maybe one who plays military video games a lot. This type of person has incredible eye-hand coordination and quick response times (thanks to the games), and generally becomes an excellent shot once they slow down and realize this is real life and that in the target-shooting scenario, excellence is achieved by deliberate focus. It sounds like it worked for him and he showed what a great shooter he could be - when focused. Great job and great post, Lynne!Delete
Great call Cathi, he was early 20s and once he slowed down and focused was a great shot. The trick is finding a way to interupt the spiraling behavior without offending your student, and everyone is differnt. I would use a completely different technique for a person who was scared and nervous, versus excited and nervous...and you can tell the difference. The HUGE grin was a giveaway! LOLDelete
That's what makes you a great instructor :0)Delete
Thank you! I've been very lucky to work with such a great team at IDS, and to have an awesome instructor.Delete