To get better at shooting, we need to keep pushing our capabilities. I don’t think that anyone would argue with this. If this is so widely acknowledged, then why do shooters tend to be so complacent in their skill development?
The first impediment to pushing our boundaries is that it is difficult. It’s going to involve a four letter word called W-O-R-K. Right now as I’m writing this it’s about 30° outside (don’t even consider that it’s 1:54 am and I really couldn’t shoot right now even if I was super pumped to get out there). The nearest range is about 15 minutes away, but chances are good that something (someone) at that public range will impede me from accomplishing my goals for the day. If I do go shoot, I will then have to maintain my equipment, creating further work. If I don’t go to the range, I can make a nice, hot, chocolaty, coffee drink and work my way up the blacklist of gun blogs.
Not only is it difficult to improve our skill, it can be expensive. Ammunition, fuel to get us to the range, cleaning and maintenance materials are all significant expenses if you keep track of that sort of thing. If you really want to improve and get some training, WOW!!!, it can cost a lot before you even factor in travel, lodging, and 500 rounds of ammo.
Improving takes time. Often, this is time that we need for other things, like work and family. At another level, our lives involve a finite amount of time. Combine those two things, and sometimes mediocre is the best we can hope for.
As to some of the things we could do, but usually don’t do to improve, consider that it takes planning to get good. How often do you sit down and consider your strengths and weaknesses, and devise a plan to correct your deficiencies? How many of your trips to the range involve working on something specific you planned to do way ahead of time?
This brings us to something very important to realize: It’s more fun to do what we’re already good at. It feels good. It reaffirms to us that “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone-it, people like me.” The musician would see this as the difference between practice and playing. Practice involves planning and executing a specific exercise devised to address a particular deficiency. Playing is just playing.
A more significant impediment to our improvement is to know what we’re not good at. It’s hard to push the boundaries if you can’t find them. Our context of shooting is incomplete, so often our conception of relevant skills is unrealistic. Furthermore, there are aspects of ourselves that we are blind to, but are easily observed by others. This makes self-directed practice particularly challenging.
Hopefully, highlighting some of the impediments to success will help you to
1.) Get up off your rear end.
2.) Budget your time and money with shooting as at least somewhat of a priority.
3.) Plan your range time (and dry fire practice) to address specific deficiencies.
4.) Spend time doing things you are not good at and don’t currently enjoy,
5.) Seek out advice and evaluate yourself as objectively as possible in order to
expose weaknesses that you are not currently aware of.
Get to it!!!