Human beings learn physical skills in three ways and to fully learn a skill all three ways must be used. Participating in organized shooting events is the best way to learn high skill levels.

The first is visual, that is, watching an action being performed. You should watch others perform to learning ways of improving your own skills. The important aspect here is to watch someone who is known to be skilled and, ideally, better than you so you’re receiving good input. This is sometimes called modeling, where we learn to imitate via observation.

 

How do know if the shooter is at a high level and where do find them? By participating in organized events! A host organization makes these events known to members and the general public. Events are objectively measured to determine the best performers and the skills of participants are compiled nationally so everyone knows where they stack up across the board.

The second learning method is kinesthesia, or actually performing the action. Correct, consistent repetitions, performing the same sequence of actions repeatedly is a requirement for learning any new skill and for maintaining existing abilities. The more you perform an action sequence correctly the better the results. The goal is to reach the point where you are combining basic skills in multiples, such as moving, gun handling and shooting accurately simultaneously and at a subconscious level.

Notice I keep saying CORRECT repetitions. How do you know if your practice is good? By participating in organized events you’ll periodically measure your skills against your past performance and against others. Seeing incremental improvements proves that your practice is good. If not, something needs to be changed.

The last method is visualization, or thinking about a skill. This includes reading and intelligent discussion. Visualization exercises have been proven to improve skills and are used by the athletes at the highest levels. Writing down your experiences helps cement what you learn and organizes your thoughts. Having other shooters of known skill levels to talk with helps and the best place to find them is through organized shooting events.

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