I get asked, often, to take a look at videotape from various combat athletes. For one reason or another I might not be able to go to them or they to me, or it’s just easier for both parties to look at video and then confer via phone or e-mail.
I thought it might be interesting to look at the short video of the phenomenal Jerry Miculek demoing his V-drill at speed and see what lessons we might pluck from an informal analysis of his demonstration.
I’m going to keep this short, as the technical detail of elicitation and evoking high performance attributes in real-time takes *way* longer to write than to do. So I’ll just point out the process I might use (one of many) to study Master Miculek’s performance and pluck out some points that can be utilized to enhance a shooter’s performance.
One of my first considerations in selection of a model to demonstrate superior performance is to make sure that the superior performance demonstrated applies to the end-user audience. For instance, in my opinion (and I’m not interested in arguing my opinion, it’s offered freely to dismiss or consider) for shooters you need to context the demonstration of the skill *and* the context of the potential end-user. Is the shooter a 3-gun competitor? A military special operator? A police SWAT member? A citizen exercising his right to be well armed and highly proficient? The specifics of the desired end-use help shape the selection criteria for the best model.
I like this particular demonstration, as the skill-set demonstrated applies in competition as well as in tactical application, and so pertinent parts can be plucked out to suit the needs of the end-user.
Snapshot: What do we see? Watch it with the sound turned off. What’s more important now is what we SEE. Why? Shooting is a Visual-Kinesthetic (VK) skill; many things happen simultaneously that FEEL right to the user…unlike a conversation or a lecture or a blog post which requires you to make sense of words one after another and then generate a gestalt.
VK skills take place first in the realm of visual processing, where an enormous amount of data is processed simultaneously by the visual cortex and the eyes, and the body sorts that date pre-consciously by FEELING it’s way to the most useful APPLICATION.
So for you hard-core shooters out there, how would you rather learn about a new firearm handed to you:
A. Sit in a chair in a stuffy classroom and listen to a 2-hour lecture on how cool your new firearm is, read the manual front to back, watch a demonstration by someone else on how to handle the weapon…
B. Get handed your shiny new shooting iron with a basic visual demonstration of safety procedures and get to fingering it?
Your choice of A or B defines your VK learning style (or not).
So what do we see?
The shooter is relaxed, poised, confident in bearing. Notice the kinesthetic markings of his hands and body as he moves through his explanation (keep the sound off if you haven’t already turned it off — watch, don’t listen). His explanation is readily understandable without any words, yes? Why? Because he marks out exactly what he’s going to do with his body before he does it.
So what does that tell us about the internal mental processing?
He’s walking his talk, i.e. he’s walking through his internal visualization of the drill to come. Pay attention — he defines the initial start distance, walks up close and marks out his target zone specifically, touches it, marks it out with his body language, goes through the sequence, looking at each target and touching or pointing at it.
So he’s gone through the whole sequence in the much slower sequential process of verbally explaining the drill.
What do we see, then?
Relaxed and poised = confidence.
Confidence comes from what? Previous experience of success, a success he’s replicating in his real-time visualization, and a rehearsal that ends in his successful completion of his drill.
How does he know? He feels it. It’s body knowledge. He walks it through, watch his carriage, the direction of his gaze, the marking of his hands. If he were wearing a device to track his neurology (soon, maybe…) you could track the sequence of warm-up to activation of the shooting sequence, first visually in rehearsal and then in real-time.
What kind of presuppositions can we imagine?
Training and critique (which he shares in his discussion about the need to stay focused; watch his body language there).
Control of internal time sense (ability to walk through in talking slow time and then execute in dramatically faster VK processing time)
Check out what happens to his face and body set when he sets his weapon up. This is something he’s done countless millions of time, notice the sequence that starts with his muscle tension shifting as he rotates the weapon up and acquires the offset red-dot and starts his engagement…watch it a couple of times and then watch what happens when he drops that state when he safes his weapon —
That’s a man who has just completed a visual-kinesthetic cognitive track that he’s run through several times while we’ve watched *before* he does it in real time to an extraordinary level.
Lessons for the shooter seeking improvement:
Confidence doesn’t come just from burning ammo. Comes from perfect visualization coupled to perfect performance and using that as a foundation.
Processing information the way you need to *use* it — visually first and feeling your way to the “rightness” of it.
Practicing 75% to 90% visually and dry (especially in days of ammo shortages) and reinforcing that mental rehearsal with a validating run…and running it till you have validation.
Making mistakes and embracing the mistakes. And then run your visualization around that particular mistake, focusing on three to five solutions that work through that problem in real time and conclude in a successful run.
More points as I think of them later, but that’s a snapshot of a process that’s much easier to do in real time than by writing it through…