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Failure psychology

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impalanut
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Post by bruce martindale 7/23/2023, 3:31 pm

The psychology of of the uncoachable

I wrote my book in order to reach well beyond my physical sphere of influence and it is working there, but here, where I live? For the most part, not so much.

I am willing to help anyone and have brought various last place leaguers to Most Improved, and even one friend to his League Win. I am really happy for these folks. They get noticed. Questions abound “ How did you do that” but the answer given bounces right off their heads, No, can’t be. 

At the local club level, I see so many who resist any coaching or instruction whatsoever, even for free, and have been at a loss to explain it. I thought, Perhaps there’s never a prophet from your own village but no, I don’t think so. Part of it is the guy who thinks he knows everything, knows nothing. It’s just occurred to me that it’s because they have seen me fail. Failure is a step either upwards towards success or to a state of “Loser” in someone else's mind. Hopefully not in yours. Failure is a requirement for future winners. If you don’t think, if you don’t try, if you don’t fail, you are unlikely to ever win. Rejoice in others failures doesn’t help you to feel better, it holds you back. 

I see so many mid level Experts who are decent shooters but can never improve due to their self delusion and resistance . I see what they do, listen to their lament and comment “I can fix that”….Nope, Nope, Nope, I shoot good Slow, if I can just improve Sustained, I’ll win. Sorry guy, you will never get it. 

Who are you in this picture?


Last edited by bruce martindale on 7/30/2023, 12:26 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Jon Eulette 7/23/2023, 4:23 pm

Ignorance is Bliss!!!
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Post by r_zerr 7/23/2023, 5:27 pm

Bruce.
There are so many factors to discuss.
One is the will or desire to do it "my own way." Its cousin is "not doing that, not invented here."
Another is the work that is prescribed, like drugs firing at a blank wall.
Another is the willingness to settle/be happy with the level of shooting that one is at. Again it is a work/benefit tradeoff.
The biggest hurdle that I see (both rifle and pistol, especially iron sights) is learning to comprehend and process what one sees, or thinks that they see....go back to the dry firing conversation.
And patience. I did what he said (once) and it didnt work, and abandon the effort.
-Ron

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Post by r_zerr 7/23/2023, 5:28 pm

Bruce.
There are so many factors to discuss.
One is the will or desire to do it "my own way." Its cousin is "not doing that, not invented here."
Another is the work that is prescribed, like dry firing at a blank wall.
Another is the willingness to settle/be happy with the level of shooting that one is at. Again it is a work/benefit tradeoff.
The biggest hurdle that I see (both rifle and pistol, especially iron sights) is learning to comprehend and process what one sees, or thinks that they see....go back to the dry firing conversation.
And patience. I did what he said (once) and it didnt work, and abandon the effort.
-Ron

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Post by Soupy44 7/23/2023, 8:39 pm

I would put this under some version of ends vs means or journey vs destination.

Working one's way through the Marine Corp Handbook is probably the fastest way to master scores. I'd imagine the 20 straight 10s SF is the first major hurdle. I'd also imagine most folks don't put their nose to the grind stone when they hit it. So they go to something else, reinforce poor fundamentals, and leave themselves more work to fix down the line.

There is also the timing of information and when it clicks. Even if they listen to your fix, they may not have the experience to implement it. I experienced this at Atterbury just now with my 45 grip. I've had a feeling I didn't grip hard enough, but I've never had consistent success gripping harder, so it never stuck, and my grip continued to be inconsistent. I have an issue now of shots recoiling to the right (had a string of 95-4x with a 7 and 8 at 3oc as a good example). I'm not worried because what's happening in the middle of the target is pretty!

My last though is enjoyment. I did the be good at shooting thing in smallbore. It was a lot of work. Most folks do that day in day out with their job (hopefully) and with their families. I've chosen to shoot revolvers in most matches. I shoot a revolver for 22 EICs since I got my 22 badge. I do it just because!

I personally stopped the workbook after getting the 20 straight 10s, probably because my smallbore background makes slowfire the most comfortable phase of BE for me and I didn't like the focus on sustained fire after that. I'm going to resume it with 22 now and do my best to follow the workbook. Pretty sure practicing sustained fire will make me more comfortable with it! Eureka!

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Post by Soupy44 7/23/2023, 8:52 pm

I glanced over the word "uncoachable" in my reading of your post and want to touch on that.

I teach tennis for a living and like to focus on 12u players. Every coach loves the students that do what you say. I find that very average coaches can make ok players out of those good listeners.

I believe many of those uncoachable kids have the highest ceilings. Their learning style is based on their personal experience of trying things for themselves. This could be viewed as learning from failure. They don't just want to know to do or not to do something, they have an inherent, unconscious want or need to know why for themselves.

These kids can go from being incredibly focused learning about a shot one week to bored and indifferent the next. I find asking them questions the best way to get information into their heads. See where their mind is and live there instead of telling them what you would do.

Adults are no different from coaching kids. I believe adults are more like the uncoachable students more often because they shoot for fun. They wander around the sport because they have used much of their purpose and energy at home and on the job.

What do you get for an answer when you ask them what they're thinking about or focusing on?

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Post by bruce martindale 7/23/2023, 9:50 pm

My post could get super deep in psychology and is wildly open to interpretation but my main point was to be open to new ideas and to try things. Your image may be static to some and they have pigeon holed you; that they think they know you and your capabilities when they don't..  The guys that do the things they always did will get what they always got.  Success and growth is always more fun

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Post by L. Boscoe 7/24/2023, 9:48 am

It is difficult to understand why someone would not listen to a Master on
technique. When I was a professional photographer, Ansel Adams was "St.
Ansel" to most of us in the trade, and we memorized his techniques.
I have read most of the texts available here and online and continually TRY
to emulate them. Why try to re invent the wheel?

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Post by bruce martindale 7/24/2023, 9:57 am

“If it has tires and testicles, you’re gonna have trouble with it”? People will take golf lessons but shooting instruction is an affront to their manhood.

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Post by Wobbley 7/24/2023, 10:21 am

Lol….

But I’ve been told on many times that women will learn something from an instructor faster.  Males on the other hand….
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Post by RoyDean 7/24/2023, 10:27 am

Except when that instructor is their husband/partner!

And, in these modern "woke" days we are advised that all genders, etc., are now equal. Ha ha!

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Post by DA/SA 7/24/2023, 11:56 am

bruce martindale wrote: People will take golf lessons but shooting instruction is an affront to their manhood.
So true!

When I joined the local gun club I noticed that the target stand sticks and a lot of other stuff around the range was constantly all shot up. I asked the president why they didn't offer any basic marksmanship/fundamentals training courses so people could possibly learn to hit what it was they were shooting at. He just smiled and said that they gave up on that years ago, as everyone thinks that they are good shooters and they don't need any instruction...

Personally, I am in a very dry area for Bullseye and would welcome a good Bullseye instructor.
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Post by Merick 7/24/2023, 12:17 pm

If someone wants it bad enough no one can stop them.
If they are not interested no one can make them.

If a fellow is happy with his average, be it high or low, their presence still contributes to the sport.  A bad shot that brings good potato salad is a friend to all.

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Post by bruce martindale 7/24/2023, 2:26 pm

I suspect some folks are happy learning to crawl when they don't realize they could learn to fly.

The topic of Comfort Zones comes up a lot. Many seek their averages; Performance good or bad outside that number has complications

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Post by Jon Eulette 7/24/2023, 2:55 pm

Most common errors I see in shooters not advancing/maturing as shooter.

1. Score oriented. Always trains shooting for scores. Not learning anything new or mastering any process. Completely relying on range time to become better shooter.
2. Dry firing just going through the motions. Again not working on anything.
3. Getting advice from same Classification. Not going to the best shooters for advice  or help.
4. Arguing with coach/mentor. Good coaches know! If they tell you you’re doing something wrong you need to believe it.
5. Being an Askhole. Asking for advice but not applying it.

I’ve been at matches training and other shooters have an opportunity to ask questions or get help and never ask. I’ve had many of my HM friends tell me the same thing. 
There are many opportunities to get help that people don’t take advantage of.

If you are a lower classified shooter, you have lots more room for growth than a higher classified shooter. If you’re not growing you need to do something differently.
Break the chains and do something different.
Practice/training isn’t always about shooting good groups or scores. It’s about mastering a process. Save the scores for the match.

Every time you pick up your pistol, something psychological is taking place. Positive thinking and focusing on positive results is crucial. No one cares about the 7 you shot, you shouldn’t either. Focus on and remember the good shots. Work on a process to repeat those good shots.

Get a coach and get out of current plateau and learn how to get past it.

Training isn’t always fun. If you’re happy with your current results more power to you. But if you’re going to train, really train.

Jon
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Post by r_zerr 7/24/2023, 4:08 pm

Comments about John's 1-5 list from me who is a High Master/ national level rifle shooter who is relearning how to learn with a pistol.
1. It is about performance, and score is only a part of it. Hang around really good shooters long enough and you will hear them talk about how they performed when conditions and score stunk. Or not having a higher x-count/ wandering groups but a good score. Its performance based.
2. Dry firing is boring. It's also where I am seeing gains in focusing specifically on centered sights and trigger execution. Getting to the point of understanding what one sees is the point that has to be transitioned to. Or, learning to dress and understand what good is vs. What you think good is. Scatt system is helpful in making that correlation, at least for me.
3. Getting advice from same classification shooter: excellence in mediocrity.
4. And 5. Usually the same guy. My reaction ranges from frustration to anger when a shooter asks me for tips on how to get better rifle shooting and then tells me that he is going to do it his own way. Dont bother me.
As far as asking during a match. Hmm. I am always willing to help as a rifle shooter, but generally suggest that drastic changes not be made during the course of a match., When asking for advice on the pistol range, I'm looking for that high Master but during the down-times. I dont want to be the guy that gets them out of their zone.
I wish I had more time ( genuine training time) with the likes of John Zurek and Tony Silva who are at least in the same state as me.
-Ron

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Post by Wobbley 7/24/2023, 4:37 pm

As an ex-High Master in HP rifle  can concur with Jon’s comments somewhat.  There were times I’d be asked “How can I improve” kinda question.  But that question is hard to answer…. A lot of times the poor MarkSharpEx doesn’t even know what to ask.  I’m in that boat now with pistol.  I know my recoil control/management with the 45 is my millstone. Particularly rapid fire.  I have no one here in San Diego to ask.  Nearest one is Jon and he’s 2 hours away.  So I get books and they’re not insightful at all.
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Post by DA/SA 7/24/2023, 4:57 pm

Wobbley wrote: Nearest one is Jon and he’s 2 hours away.  
You're fortunate. Jon and I couldn't be much farther apart and still be in the same Country!

I'd make that two hour trip without a second thought if I could get some coaching from him, as the biggest improvements I have made so far were from advice offered by Jon on here.
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Post by bruce martindale 7/25/2023, 7:44 am

I believe there’s a book you haven’t read yet…

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Post by bruce martindale 7/25/2023, 7:53 am

I’d venture that DF, as good as it is for you, has it’s limits. Getting spanked in recoil, even with an air pistol, makes me twitchy. I need to disassociate the trigger action from firing and score results and not know exactly when it’s going off. A good continuous trigger build is so important. When I do that right, I can’t react to the coming recoil ( flinch) and I get a good shot.

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Post by javaduke 7/25/2023, 9:31 am

I suppose I'm one of those mid-level Experts Sad 
I used to shoot master scores with .22 but then my scores went down about 30 points in average. Never mastered .45, I always struggle with that 4lb trigger during sustained fire. Oh well, it's all about priorities, I accepted the fact that I will never win Nationals and I just enjoy hanging out with you guys and if I occasionally hit the X, it makes me happy Smile
I do take my air pistol shooting a bit more seriously, maybe because I can control it better. Still my scores bounce between 540s and 560s, so I know when I'm sloppy.

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Post by Jon Eulette 7/25/2023, 9:53 am

Of course dry firing has its limits. Dry firing teaches you and live fire reinforces the teaching. IF YOU DO THE SAME TRAINING IN BOTH DRY AND LIVE PRACTICE. Just dry firing and going to the range shooting doesn't develop any skills. Yeah you can get to a certain level, but you will plateau and most likely not rise above the current skill level.
In dry firing you can see things that you will never see in live fire. Recoil is a good thing, but it mask minor things that are crucial to making it past master. In dry firing you can learn to recognize gripping errors and gripping corrections. You can see affects of the minor changes that you will not see at the range. Thus the importance of the blank wall for 80-85% of dry fire training.
99.9% of shooters never or rarely train on the back of a target. They always see a sight picture. Sight picture is distracting and shows movement that you wont see on a blank wall. You will constantly have interference from the target that can/does take you away from other fundamentals you might be working on. If your going to work on a fundamental, its best not to have another fundamental come into play. 
If I haven't been shooting much, I will dry fire for a week or two. When I go to the range I will only shoot 25 yds the first two times I hoot live fire. It will allow me to shoot well and get used to proper grip pressure. Then on third trip to range I'll shoot 50 yds because I'm now ready for it. My goal is positive reinforcement. 25 yds is easy to shoot well and 50 is a beast in itself. Why would I shoot 50 yds before I'm ready for it? I would be reinforcing bad and wasting time and ammunition. 25 yds psychologically prepares me for 50 yds. I won't shoot it until I'm ready for it. 
So say I trained dry firing; lift, lower, settle, break shot in 2-3 seconds. Next time I go to the range and live fire, I'm going to do the same exact thing I did in dry practice. Dry practice I was working on an exact process. How do I know if it works or not unless I replicate at the range during live fire? Dry fire trains/teaches and live fire reinforces.
You mention a flinch. A flinch at 50 yds is ugly. At 25 yds not so bad. Shoot 25 yds and get used to the mental/physical part of feeling recoil and when used to it move targets out to 50 yds. And at either distance, remember it has to "look like a 10" and "feel like a 10". It can look like a 10 but not feel like a 10. The feel in this case is how did pistol/body feel during recoil?  So we have to learn what a 10 looks like! We have to learn what a 10 feels like! 
Flinching is a mental block for some and others rarely experience it. I rarely flinch, but fortunately I can usually back off the trigger and reapply pressure quickly during sustained fire. I never flinch on the long line, my shooting process doesn't allow it to happen. 

So dry firing is powerful and having a plan when you shoot live fire is powerful. Master a skill and execute it.
Jon
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Post by JHHolliday 7/25/2023, 10:38 am

Slightly off topic, but why (and how) is 50yd harder than 25yd?*  It looks like the scoring rings for 50yd target are twice the diameter of the 25yd target.  So for a shot with a given angular deviation from dead center, it should score the same at 50 as at 25, right?


[th]Target[/th][th]Range[/th][th]X[/th][th]10[/th][th]9[/th][th]8[/th][th]7[/th][th]6[/th][th]5[/th][th]4[/th]
B-250ft 0.901.542.233.074.165.567.33
B-420yds1.121.882.723.735.046.728.84
B-1625yds0.671.512.603.825.327.229.66 
B-650yds1.6953.365.548.0011.0014.8019.68 
https://www.indecorous.com/bullseye/rings.html



[size=13][i][size=10][i]Table 4: Sustained fire targets (diameters in MOA)[/i][/size][/i][/size]


[th]Target[/th][th]X[/th][th]10[/th][th]9[/th][th]8[/th][th]7[/th][th]6[/th][th]5[/th][th]4[/th]
B-2 6.4210.0814.0418.8525.1033.1243.26
B-4 6.4010.0314.0418.8625.1133.1443.26
B-163.406.6110.7715.4321.1628.4237.74 
B-63.666.8411.0015.7021.4328.6938.01 
This relates to Chase's post recently evaluating groups on two cards at 25y and 50y shot at the same time 

*caveat I am a noob at BE, and the local range only goes to 25yd
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Post by Jon Eulette 7/25/2023, 11:03 am

The scoring rings are exactly the same for both 25 and 50 yds. At 50 yards the targets 8 ring has been blackened to provide larger target bull to aim at.
The amount of wobble/hold for 50 yds is magnified compared to 25 yds. Without sufficient training 50 yds is much more difficult to shoot.
Jon
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Post by JHHolliday 7/25/2023, 11:39 am

Sorry I'm still not understanding.  According to the measurements in the link, scoring rings for 50yd are twice the diameter of the corresponding rings at 25yd - and the corresponding angular deviations from dead center (MOA, etc) are the same.

Say we put a laser pointer on a tripod and aim it at overlapping targets - one at 25yd and the other at 50 yd.  When the beam is aligned with the exact centers of both targets centers, and perpendicular, it would "shoot" the centers of both targets.  Then if we angle the beam slightly - say to the border of the 9 and 8 ring - the beam should touch this border at the same spot on both targets.  And if you repeat the experiment with several "shots" at different angles, the group created on the 50yd target should be the same pattern and twice the size as the group on the 25yd.  Right?

Obviously bullets on a ballistic trajectory do not trace a perfect line like a laser does (neglecting relativistic effects of gravity on space, haha), so the 50yd ballistic groups will be slightly lower than the 25 yd.  However besides ballistic drop their radial deviation should be very close to the lines made by a laser.  So angular deviations wobble in a pistol should create the same pattern - twice the size - it seems to me.
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