Thread: Teaching
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Old November 30, 2012, 09:17 PM   #5
Jammer Six
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Join Date: April 3, 2005
Location: Seattle
Posts: 827
Speaking of curriculum, the one thing that all branches of shooting have in common is the beginning. The one thing they all need is the ability to go to a range and train safely.

That range may be out back, that range may be downtown. Different kinds of ranges (pistol, rifle, skeet, trap, shoot-house, bottles, Hogan's Ally style ranges, the fantail of a destroyer, military fixed ranges, civilian fixed ranges, indoor ranges, low light houses) have different rules.

England drives on the left. The United States drives on the right. It really doesn't matter which side of the road you drive on, as long as everyone else at that location is obeying the same set of rules.

So the first thing I teach (and the first thing most instructors I know teach) is range safety, and how to go to a range and practice whatever it is you want to practice safely. If you can do that, you can set any shooting goal you wish, and start working towards it.

There are few common denominators between the disciplines, but there are some. The need to train safely is one. The fact that the round will go where the muzzle is pointed when the weapon is fired is another.

In my experience, it's fairly easy to put the cart before the horse, or at least throw the cart and the horse at the student at the same time, and, again in my experience, it's usually a mistake.

One of the things I've seen many, many students do is try to hold everything in their brain at once. It's hard to safely pick up a weapon for the first time when you're trying to keep the differences between internal, external and terminal ballistics in the front of your mind at the same time, and how the twist of a barrel affects the accuracy of the round.

(When I was still working as an assistant, I actually took a weapon from a student on the firing line when he looked down the barrel. When I asked him what the hell he was doing, he told me he was trying to figure out what the twist of the barrel was. He had too much information for what he was doing, and not enough information about what he thought he needed to do.)

So as the curriculum(s) I teach progressed, they became shorter, and there became more of them. I like to teach short, bite size classes rather than the two day marathons that the NRA prefers, and that some ranges prefer. I like to teach one thing at a time, and if I had my way, when it came time, I'd teach a student to draw and holster, and then the student would go do that until he or she was good at it, and then come back, and we'd add something else.

In my experience, one of the worst things an instructor can do is throw everything from the NRA Three and The Cooper Four at a student, along with multiple calibers and styles, revolvers and semis, and multiple techniques at a student in one four hour lecture, and then take them out on the firing line, put revolvers in one bay, Glocks in another, 1911s in a third, and H&Ks in a fourth.

Add a few things like flashlights, reloads and jam drills, and even if you leave the lights on, someone's going to get shot.

Twenty years ago, I taught my wife how to shoot, and started her off with my 1911. That was a mistake. My ways have changed, in no small part as a result of watching what works and what doesn't.
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