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Coaching Hour – Fundamentals and Getting Punches – Sept 2017

Coaching Hour – Sept 2017 – EXCERPT

It’s a great joy to hear our students talk to us about their successes on the sporting clays range and hunting fields. But first they need to make the commitment themselves! In this excerpt from the September 2017 Coaching Hour, Gil and several OSP members talk about how big it pays off to push themselves out of their comfort zones.


Gil: I want to talk to Deano. You’ve gotten 10 punches in the last 30 days?


Dean: Yeah I punched the hell out of it. I punched into A-class in the middle of July, and since the beginning of August, I’m at ten punches. Four more and I’m AA.


Gil: And I think your coach predicted this, didn’t he?


Dean: Oh yeah. “You’re fittin’ to break loose” I think is what you said. Move up quick. And in the back of my head I said, “It sure is slow getting punches. I don’t know. But man, they just keep coming.” Enjoy it while it lasts. Slow down a little bit.


Gil: You’re going to be in master class, and it’ll take you about six to eight months to figure out how to compete in master class.

You and I talked about this. One of the reasons you’re marching through the classes right now is because you have worked overtime on your fundamentals. We talked about a book that we’ve been reviewing. Jeff got it. The book talks about how the brain does all this. It sure has answered a lot of questions for us.

But the work you have done on your fundamentals- doing your gun mount drills every single night, and going out and being willing to get out of your comfort zone and go do things- it’s all allowing you now to access those fundamentals from your long-term memory. And when you access them from your long-term memory, the brain already knows what it’s supposed to do because of all the circuits that you’ve built, and all the circuits that you’ve fired correctly over and over and over again.

The brain sees those as patterns. And when I say patterns, I simply mean that you’ve fired that left-to-right crosser circuit so many times correctly, and seen that picture stabilize so many times correctly, when you see a left-to-right crosser, you automatically see that picture. You automatically see the movie.

I think it was Jeff who called me not long and said “It came together for me. When I saw the bird, I saw the movie. And I said “that’s what I see.”

In fact, an aside here from Dean, the work that you’ve been doing will carry you through times when you don’t have the time to practice.

Now, I’m going to switch to Jeff about this and let him tell you about the Pennsylvania State Shoot and his lead up to the Pennsylvania State Shoot. You mind sharing that with us?


Jeff: I had a whole four-day shooting plan: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And I found out about three weeks before the shoot that, due to work, I was going to have to be in Chicago until Friday afternoon. So I had to cancel basically everything except the main event, and FITASC as my travel schedule was arranged such that I flew into the closest local airport on Friday afternoon after working six to six in a trade show all week. So I was kind of tired, almost exhausted.

I landed, went over to the club, did my registration on Friday and on the way in, flew through a tremendous thunderstorm. The flight path for our flight went right over the club and they were under a massive thunderstorm. When I drove to the club I was wondering if I was going to have any paint left on my truck. And after registering, went to the hotel, had dinner and plopped in the bed and fell asleep. I had the main event the next morning at 8 A.M. I got up, went back to the club, and shot the main event. Shot a 91. And the second day, I shot the second half of the main event and shot a 94. I ended up maybe fifth or sixth in the state in the state and I literally hadn’t picked up a gun in two weeks because of all the work travel I had to do.


Gil: And this is not the only story like this that we’re hearing. Anders Ericsson talks about the difference between knowledge and skill. Knowledge is knowing how to do it. But knowledge does not create skill. What creates skill is how many times you’ve done it. And we’ve seen this pattern and have for the last 35 years. We see people who are aggressive with training their gun mount, with training their fundamentals, who won’t accept just hitting the target. They want to hit the target the right way.

I had a lesson with a couple guys today, and a little later I’m going to share something I talked to them about. But when you put in your gun time and your target time, and you’re stubborn with what you do… If you walk up to the station, call “pull” and fix it at the end, and you smoke the target, you haven’t done anything for yourself. You haven’t improved your ability, your skill. In the beginning, just doing things more will get you to a certain level.

But in the end, you have to get out of your comfort zone. Get out there and push yourself to try and fail and try and fail and try and fail.

I think Jeff and several of you on the Coaching Hour tonight would substantiate this: when you train, you need to be more aware of how the shot comes together. Because how the shot comes together determines the correct lead. If you get jammed and you push out and try to hit it, even if you hit it you can’t replicate that. Because when you did that shot, when you’ve got jammed and you had to think about fixing it, you switch from long-term memory to short-term memory. And the people who put their time in working on their fundamentals over and over and over and again with a purpose, (not just going out and shooting, but deliberate practice) can have great performances when they are away from the gun for a while.

I know Doss Bourgeois had the same thing happen to him, and this isn’t the first time it’s happened to Jeff. And there are others of you out there. It’s just amazing.

The people we’ve coached who made the commitment to really go for it and be willing to be outside their comfort zone when they’re training, and always trying to get better. “I wonder what would happen if I did it this way” and “I wonder what would happen if I did this” and “I wonder what would happen if I did that.”

Those kinds of people are the ones who always train correctly with a purpose, and they always have a goal. And those are the people who have an honest look at their game. They figure out what their strengths are, figure out what their weaknesses are and then make a plan of attack to strengthen their weaknesses. They’re constantly looking for a weakness.

Most people are constantly running from their weaknesses. They don’t want to practice their weaknesses. They want to practice things that are easy for them. They’re staying within their comfort zone. And as John Wayne said, they’re deader than a beaver hat. They’re never going to get better doing that.

In the beginning it amazed us. But now we’ve seen it so much, it’s just something that happens.


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