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Old April 22, 2016, 09:27 PM   #1
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How do you train this out?

I have a habit that I don't know to break.

I have seen it on video but I don't know how to explain it. I'm on the range, the timer beeps and I freeze for a second then I reach for my gun.

I didn't keep any videos but you can see the freeze.

How do I get past that?
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Old April 22, 2016, 09:53 PM   #2
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Try visualizing yourself reacting immediately when the timer goes off. Think it, see it, then do it.
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Old April 22, 2016, 09:59 PM   #3
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It's called reaction time, and it is quite normal. Responding to a signal, even one you are expecting, takes some time, maybe a second, maybe half a second, but some time. Practice can reduce that time, but can never eliminate it.

That kind of timing is interesting when game playing, but has little meaning in terms of defense or reaction to a threat, in part because the other person (the "bad guy") presumably will be the one to initiate action, so his reaction time is zero and you can't beat that. In the real world, fast draw contests just don't happen; accuracy and target recognition will matter a lot more than how many milliseconds it takes to get off a shot.

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Old April 22, 2016, 10:46 PM   #4
Deaf Smith
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You need to get Gunny Ermey to come and chew you out every time you freeze.

When that buzzer sounds you will IMMEDIATELY slap leather. You will NOT ponder, hesitate, or pontificate. You will equalate the sound of the buzzer to you hand grabbing your weapon. Just your hand and just your weapon. Got that boot?

Now, drop and give me 50!

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Old April 23, 2016, 08:17 AM   #5
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Imagine the target is really out to get you, not just something to shoot at.
Also practice with a competitor on two reactive targets of some kind.
See who can hit theirs first after the buzzer sounds.
It doesn't really matter who actually does, as it's mostly for practicing to overcome the delay.
Lastly, dry fire with the timer, over and over and over......
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Old April 23, 2016, 10:49 PM   #6
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It's called reaction time, and it is quite normal. Responding to a signal, even one you are expecting, takes some time, maybe a second, maybe half a second

I wish I could show you the video. It's not reaction time you can see me go all deer in the headlights and literally freeze
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Old April 24, 2016, 09:32 AM   #7
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Try doing something else when a buzzer rings, like popping the top on a cold beer, clicking the TV remote to NFA, etc. Create a positive feel for the buzzer. This is called desensitization training. It is a well accepted method even for PTSD. That's where I learned about it.

The buzzer is meant to surprise you into action but something about the buzzer is annoying to me. You can also try a different sound. Make the buzzer your friend.
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Old April 24, 2016, 07:28 PM   #8
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"Training it out"

Hello Moonglum,

Do you dry practice at home?

If so, would recommend that you practice a "full dress" training rehearsal. When you do this, you act exactly as if you are going to the range, where everything (minus the live rounds) remain the same...

Start slow. Set your buzzer to random start time with no time limit.

Before you press the shot timer, vividly visualize yourself drawing properly on the "buzzer," in your mind "hear the buzzer" and clearly see yourself moving for your draw stroke instantly, as if an electric current has activated your hands to move for the perfect draw.

Vividly visualize and feel your perfect draw stroke in slow motion - your hands moving before the buzzer sound ends - feel the proper grip, see yourself properly presenting, see the gun coming up to your line of sight... so forth, and so on (see the entire shooting sequence).

Once you have "seen yourself" act correctly tell yourself "That's like me," then look at your target, select the impact area (in the center of your aiming area), and press the "start" button to activate you random timer.

On the buzzer you should focus on moving slowly BUT instantly - without hesitation (exactly as you visualized the draw).

Your initial goals should be to:
Condition your body to positively respond to the buzzer.Complete the entire draw stroke properly (not quickly - because speed will come with proper practice).

Above all, be patient with yourself and work on constant routines and be patient with yourself.

If you haven't yet read the book, I highly recommend Lanny Basshanm's book With Winning in Mind, as it is chalked full of practical training advice.

If you are still having any problems, please don't hesitate to contact me directly on this forum.

If you don't dry practice, I highly recommend that you do. I can help with this as well, simply contact me and I will forward you a .pdf of our dry practice guide.
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Old April 24, 2016, 11:18 PM   #9
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Thanks for the responses guys I'm going to be putting some of this into practice.

I do dry practice at home with a target time laser trainer but it operates off of a visual cue instead of an auditory one
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Old April 27, 2016, 04:48 PM   #10
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I believe that some people just have slow reaction times. You might be able to improve it some with practice, but you might not. You may just have to live with it and compensate for having a slow reaction time. At least you are aware of this.
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Old April 27, 2016, 06:53 PM   #11
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I like to start my practice sessions with 5-6 reps of beep-draw-shoot working on cutting that draw time down. fun and cheap drill.
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Old April 30, 2016, 11:10 AM   #12
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Have a friend take a yardstick and whack you on the head when you freeze....seriously it will work.
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Old April 30, 2016, 01:16 PM   #13
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There are some reaction time tests online. You might want to try one:

This may tell you if you have a consistently slow reaction time.
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Old May 3, 2016, 12:57 PM   #14
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Hard to explain, but I think that you are waiting too hard. Too uptight. Try some reaction drills at home.

What I see in my mind is you standing at the gate. You hear the buzzer, and precious time is lost while you say to yourself, mentally, "there it is! It's time to go! Better draw!"

Have you ever wondered whether you could read faster? Most people"speak" the words that they read in their minds. It's u believable how much time this wAstes, and how badly it interferes with rapid sorting of data.
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Old May 4, 2016, 08:56 AM   #15
Don P
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It's not reaction time you can see me go all deer in the headlights and literally freeze
That buzzer is the greatest mind eraser of all time. Or you could simply be having a brain fart when the buzzer goes off
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Old May 5, 2016, 08:57 AM   #16
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The buzzer does not exist. Look at the target and see your bullet hole in it.
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Old May 5, 2016, 11:00 AM   #17
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The problem is perhaps a combination of startle response and that you are thinking about what to do in response to the buzzer. Some folks have a strong startle response that puts their brain on high alert to locate and identify a threat when they are startled, but at the range there isn't a threat to find, so the processing step is futile and it's very futility makes it take extra time to reassure yourself that it's OK to go ahead with the action you planned to take in the first place.

The classic solution is to develop so-called muscle memory so that you start your firing stroke automatically in response to the buzzer sound. Your muscles don't really memorize anything in doing this. The term "muscle memory" is an as-if description rather than a literal one. Developing muscle memory is actually growing neural pathways that allow you to react by association directly, producing the correct sequence of muscle operating signals without first going through the mental process of deciding what to do and which muscles to operate.

When you are running, you don't have to think about which motions to make with each leg for each step; you just think "run", and other than using your eyes for guidance over unfamiliar terrain, you don't think about it. That's exactly what your firing stroke needs to become: an automatic sequence of motions guided through any unfamiliar situation by what your eyes are seeing. That the sequence of motions be automatic is why Jeff Cooper's mindset system emphasizes the decision to fire triggering the whole firing stroke, and not getting caught up in the game of deciding whether or not to shoot while you are in the process of taking the gun out. That slows everything down and will cost you at least half a second, and often more.

The way to establish muscle memory is dry fire practice. Get a recording of the buzzer and loop it or get an actual timer buzzer of your own. Ideally you would randomize the time between buzzes. Some timers have a random delay function you can set the upper and lower limit on. There are Android phone apps for timing, but I don't know if any has that random feature.

With the buzzer, practice just the first step in your firing stroke, getting your hand to the gun. Just do that much over and over, associating the sound with your reach for the gun. Make a game of it, trying to get your hand on the gun before the buzzer has finished making noise. I know that seems impossible, and, depending on the buzzer dwell it might be. That doesn't matter. It's still the thing you want to work toward. If we can at least get your hand to start moving before the buzzer stops making its noise, that's a big victory. You want to build the association between the sound and the hand motion.

When that starts to working, add in the second step of grasping the weapon completely. Then add unholstering the weapon. When that becomes smooth, go through the whole firing stroke to the fall of the hammer.

In martial arts training we used the rule of thumb that it took about six to eight thousand repetitions of something over a period of a few weeks to get that neural pathway growth to happen. This can cut reaction times dramatically.
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Old May 5, 2016, 05:15 PM   #18
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Nick nailed it. I was looking at this as the moment n tare confusion that is common with people who engage in speed related sports. A swimmer or runner have to give up voluntary thought. When the shot is fired, they are already straining at the blocks an just reflexively release. First base runs the second that he hears the bat.

You can't be great until you train yourself to act in response, because otherwise, you will always have to stop and think about the process. This is simply the difference between reflex response, and relying on conscious thought processes to get you through those actions.

Think about the western. The good guy always allowed the bad guy to draw first. The bad guy has one thing to do, raise the gun and fire the good guy has to do that too, but the good guy is also burdened with a half second wasted as he sees the draw and reacts, yet he still has to go through that same series of actions, an do it in less time than it takes for the bad guy takes to fire. A really good man can draw and fire in about a second, right? The good guy must be able to react instantaneously, and also be much faster, or hope that the bad guy misses.

As Nick said, you must work on making that conscious process become a subconscious reflexive one piece process of getting gun on target and firing. Only months or even years of of practice can make something like this an automatic response.
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