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Changing Shooters’ Perspectives in Florida

Successes in Training Hunter Ed Specialists

We just got back from Florida, teaching Florida, Georgia, and Iowa DNR hunter ed specialists for two and a half days, then at OK Corral with 10 students a day for three days. What a week, and man, we are tired.

Now we’re on the way to our bay house to drain it for hopefully the last time. I’m tired of the cold weather. The long-range forecast is for moderating temps and rain for the next few weeks. Hope so!

What a success we had with the DNRs, and what a testimony to the OSP system. They got it fast. While they all had that “what about the lead?” mentality, the animations and our presentations changed their perspectives and they all shot amazingly well – except for one person. I didn’t understand why until Friday.

A Learning Mindset

When I was talking with a student who was a neurologist in our Friday group, he commented that learning something new takes about 500 reps and to change the way you do something takes about 3000-5000 reps. Now, I gotta tell you, that stopped me in my tracks. I put two and two together, and the one person who struggled kept commenting that it was hard for him to change what he had always done, which kept him in the judgmental evaluating mindset, not the beginning mindset. The rest of the class looked at it as learning something new. They got it, but he struggled.

I did not realize that I had mentioned to the group in the four-hour morning session that we were learning something new. And just because they were learning something new didn’t mean they would forget how to do what they had always done. When you learned to ride a bike you did not forget how to walk.

After talking to the neurologist about his comments, I asked him if just changing a person’s attitude from “what I have always done” to “learning something new” would decrease the number of reps it took to learn something. He said he would send me the study. Well, you know me. We really emphasized learning something new on Saturday and Sunday. And I’m here to tell you, it was miraculous what happened. All the participants got it so much quicker and their fear of all targets left them by lunch both days. It was amazing.

I even had a shooter who was 71 and a swing-through shooter his whole life – a hunter not a clay shooter. I kept watching him and his comments. Whenever he would say anything about changing, I would say “not changing what you have done; we’re learning something new.” He was so glad he took two days. On the second day, man, did he come alive. Even he was amazed at how quickly he got it and was hitting long tough targets. Now he will have to keep shooting once or twice a week – but because of his attitude, he will.

Also got to shoot with Carol after an eight-month ordeal with her macula or something. On the first day, she was a little apprehensive, but on Sunday she let it go, and man did she shoot well and come alive. I know after about six or eight flats she will be right back in the middle of the targets. What a pleasure to see.

Stay warm. More later.