The Shot Process
I introduced the Shot Process in my last post. There are some distinct advantages to applying it to your training and the way you shoot, regardless of what or how you are shooting. For this article I am going to focus on it and those advantages.
To achieve success at most anything you have to be consistent. From weight loss to professional sports doing the same exact thing each time allows you to see actual results and make minor changes to improve performance. For shooting, this process can be applied to target shooting, combat, self-defense, practice, competition shooting like 3 gun and other disciplines or hunting.
In its simplest form it flows from like this
– Follow though
I am going to lay out a more complicated process for a single prone shot from a rifle at 100 meters using an AR pattern rifle
– Lay down in line with the rifle.
– Establish firing hand grip
– Place stock into pocket of shoulder
– Establish solid cheek to stock
– Attain sight alignment
– Place non firing hand alongside of the rail with thumb resting on the top rail
– Use hips and toes to adjust Aim
– Check Natural Point of Aim
– Remove slack from trigger
– Focus on sight while increasing trigger pressure
– Track sights through recoil while resetting trigger
– Call shot
The shot process can be as complicated or as simple as YOU need it to be. When one of the greats says “sights and Trigger” They have perfected all the aspects of the process and only have to devote energy to those two things. For other shooters they may always need a detailed process.
As you practice or receive training and begin pushing for higher performance, you or your coach may find small adjustments that need to be evaluated. The consistency allows you to know if the change improved or degraded performance. You will also be able to detect the changes in comfort, speed, what the sights did under recoil etc. As the trainer, your shooter will be able to describe the differences based off the previous groups and let you know what they noticed.
If you look at performance based training vs outcome based you will see that the shot process allows the shooter to think about individual shots vs shooting a good group. Now they are putting the focus on delivering the best shot possible five or more time. Each shot becomes a rep in a set.
The US Army has the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) program which is most closely associated with resiliency. That program also has a section for Performance Enhancement. Most of the staff of the program hold a PhD or Master’s degree in psychiatry and a great many focus on sports psychology. How many jobs have dedicated sports psychologists?
In the training, available to units and Soldiers, CSF2 breaks down focus control and energy management. The short story is that you can truly only focus on one task at a time. The shot process allows for sequential movement through the process during the learning and perfection stages. This in turn builds the mental program for shooting that eventually leads to less focus needed to be successful. This in turn, reduces the mental energy consumed for the shot. Think of it as a smart phone. The more apps I have open the shorter my battery life and slower the function of the phone. We operate the same way.
On the flat range we have nothing else we need to focus on but the shot. During a combat situation, we will be trying to maintain awareness of where our team is, the enemy, where I am moving, effectiveness, cover, radios, the mission, the short term plan, our sights, ammo status and a plethora of other things. This only leaves so much computing power for each task and having a streamlined, well trained shot process will allow minimal focus with outstanding results.
Adult learning Principles
I won’t go deep into the adult learning principles (a primer at https://elearningindustry.com/6-top-facts-about-adult-learning-theory-every-educator-should-know ) but will focus on two.
Teaching adults is different than teaching children. Generally, adults have experiences that can be related to the thing you are trying to teach them. For the purposes of this article I will look at a few that most have seen or done in their lives that I have applied to shooting.
The first step in the shot process is getting stable. My first question is if they do sports. They will let you know quickly if and what sports they have done. If they have done baseball, golf, or basketball then you already have a spot to talk about setting up a position. You can use whatever sport they have done. If you haven’t heard of or done it, then have them describe how they set up for a penalty or how the event starts.
By doing this, you are syncing what you know, shooting, to what they know. They already know the importance of this step and where it falls in the routine. Another benefit is you have begun to establish a rapport and set the student at ease and put them into a growth mindset. This will help with the more complicated aspects and help you establish a baseline to refer back to.
Next is aiming. You can even relate aiming to NASCAR and that means you can relate it to almost every sport. You can get them to tell you where they focus and why for their sport. You can then move this knowledge to focus on the sight, the where and why will flow directly from that.
The next phase is control. More specifically trigger control. You can relate this to swinging a bat, putting on a golf course or even horse shoes. Those who play music generally know about metronomes and a strong yet controlled touch. If you have more than one student, you can have them discuss the different sports and have them collaborate and bring those skills back to shooting.
Last is follow thorough. You can relate this to most every sport and they can tell you what happens if you don’t do it. Have them apply it.
As you can see, we were able to get our message about shooting out and understood very quickly and with minimal fuss. Most importantly, no knife hands. This reduces stress in your students, makes the training more effective and we just taught the shot process without forcing them to learn a new vocabulary.
I will close this part on the shot process by applying the same logic to you. I am making the assumption if you are reading this that you have learned to shoot under the old fundamentals from the Army or something to that effect. You learned breathing, steady position, sight picture and trigger squeeze (THOSE were the Army’s fundamentals) that being said,
I want you to build a good position
Now, take up a good sight picture
Don’t stress the breathing as your body will naturally pause when you focus on the sight
Squeeze the trigger.
Tell me where your sights were when recoil stopped and reset the trigger.
You just applied the shot process to what you already knew, focusing on every aspect as it came up, and now you can do it again.
Read TC 3-22.9 for more