The road to GM is riddled with many twists and turns.
Life was different during my first years in the sport – I had just finished grad school, was not married, no kids, no house… no nothing. Just me, my apartment, and my trusty Sig P226. Spending hours dry-firing was no big deal – neither was shooting 4 matches per week.
Fast forward – life happened – now I am married (quite happily I might add) and the proud father of an 8 month old boy. The days of hanging out at my ‘home’ range on a lazy Friday or Sunday afternoon are seemingly out of reach at the moment. I still love the sport, though, and am determined to train.
You may be reading just to read… or because you’re a friend and want to read my blog. Thanks btw 🙂 However, if you’re reading because you are in the same situation, you probably want to know what I’m doing. Before getting into it, let me frame the rest of this document with the following: My focus is to find ways to practice that do not require a lot of TIME – specifically 30mins-1hr TOPS.
Yes, yes – I know, I know. Everyone says ‘focused’ dry-fire. Here’s what I mean: spend 5-10 minutes each day on 1 topic per week. If you can, practice more… obviously. I’ll tell you, though, that between work and trying to give my wife a short reprieve when I get home – 5-10 minutes of quiet can sometimes be hard to find.
One suggestion I’d have is to buy a dry-fire book (I’m using Ben Stoeger’s books) and track which drill you do week-to-week.
Also, be humble enough to honestly track your times. My wife went to full term with her pregnancy, so we were on birth alert for a number of weeks before the actual birth. For me, this meant no matches (all matches are at least 1hr drive away from home). 3 months went by before I was able to even *touch* my gear… so my first dry-fire session back was baaaaad. Bad draw, bad grip, bad times, fumbled reloads – you name it. It was so bad that my pride did not want me to record draw times that were consistently .2-.3 seconds slower than my last practice session (Hey, it took a long time to shave off that time). Record it. It’ll help you focus on what you need to do.
How long did it take you to be able to see your front blade/dot bounce without blinking? It took a long time for me. This is a perishable skill! Don’t let this skill go away if at all possible.
So, I have committed to going to an indoor shooting range once a week during my lunch hour. These sessions can’t be very long either, so I came up with a ‘lesson plan’ of sorts. Many drills come from Ben Stoeger’s live fire drills book. I know that it is not stages, or run-and-gun, but it is something.
I’ve also littered my walls with targets – both lifesize, dry-fire size, and micro targets. You never know when you’re going to get a free 5 minutes, so having all of the targets up is handy.
Obviously, you’ll want to shoot as many matches as possible. Be realistic when determining how many local matches and majors you can attend. Baby came in February, and I’ve shot exactly 2 local matches to date. I’ll get back into shooting majors in 2016. Until then, I’ll be primarily dry firing and doing standing drills.
One thing that helps me stay focused on practice is to have a goal. The goal for my next major is to win my class. That means that I need to be really focused with regard to dry-fire, plan *focused* live-fire sessions, and plan to shoot at least 1 local match per month (stretch goal). Local match performance will be my indicator as to how my practice is going.
Set goals! It will help you focus. Be sure that your goals are both realistic and achievable… then go get it!