In response to a video posted of a vaunted Point Shooting instructor I asked the following:

I’d be curious what sort of hits he’s obtaining like this. Is there any sort of standard these guys adhere to? What is a trained student expected to do? Instructor? Master?

Warning: Mute the sound to avoid the lame, over-played, fake metal song in the background.

Here’s the response to my question, which is an example of how badly messed up shooting training is.

I can tell you his hits are good. At the end of two days everyone’s hits were good. I don’t know about other PS trainers but Roger Phillips does not have “standards” or any scoring system. The “scoring” is the students and instructor evaluating whether or not the desired result is achieved. Good hits on target. No scoring rings or other artificial stuff. Was that an effective shot or not? Did you accomplish the desired result of holes where you wanted them?

What is “good”? So the students and instructor get to decide what constitutes a “good” hit after shooting? Sort of like putting a golf ball and then deciding where the hole should be.

Admittedly, a point scoring process can become arbitrary if you let it but reducing the effort into a number adds much needed objectivity. Is the shooter improving? Does a technique work better or worse? How much? Rather than a feel-good assessment, we need a way to put a hard number on it. Failing to measure, or devising a means to do so, is much worse than any potential problems scoring might create.

On silhouette targets we can create one zone to represent the thoracic cavity. Scoring is now center hit, edge hit and miss. How bad is a complete miss? How much better is a center vs. an edge hit? Assign a number to this that encourages what you believe is an optimum balance. An individual instructor can change this to meet his class needs as he sees fit.

If that’s too much, scoring can be a simple hit or miss. Again, how terrible is a complete miss? If it will open your student up to incredible liability or failure it needs to be heavily penalized.

Putting some thought into this is the mark of a good instructor. What are the goals and how will you measure them?