St. George, Utah November 2014
On day one of Pistol Boot Camp we started inside the building for classroom time. With fake orange pistols we were going over stance and grips. Sounds harmless right? Well do you remember the Karate Kid movie when Mr. Miyagi has Daniel wash and wax his cars for days? “Wax on! Wax off!”. Do you also remember the feeling when you over do it at the gym lifting weights and you can’t even lift your arms to shampoo your hair later? That was me by the end of day one. Trying to hold the pistol with a strong forearm grip, yet relaxing the rest of the body. The tension is only in the forearms and wrist. Concentrating on balance and feet and relaxing shoulders, head/chin forward and keeping control of the pistol all at the same time. Many of us complained of flinching. The drills were meant to make us comfortable with “the fear” of shooting handguns. Let’s face it, with a rifle you have a solid structure, as in stock, to take the recoil. With a pistol we have our hands and arms. The bang and recoil startle most people. I understood it when they mentioned we need to get used to the stress. Going over and over hand grip and proper tension I realized I was thinking too hard. Almost 500 rounds were fired that day on the range. By the end of the day your body finally gave in. Your body learned to relax the necessary parts and have the strength only where it needed to be. You stopped being afraid of the noise and stress of the pistol. That was the point. All of the waxing on and off set my brain up to do things in the subconscious. Although a bit achy, I slept like a rock that night. Nothing a couple of Aleve couldn’t cure.
Day two we used our new grips, sight picture and trigger control to new heights. We had many different forms of drills on paper targets from 3 feet to 15 feet and with tiny 1” dots to full A zone rectangles. Drills for drawing deliberately not panicky from holsters and adding the stress from the timer were done over and over. We ended the afternoon with a steel plate challenge. After class out on the range I noticed a large steel target up on the hill about 200 yards away. We had a fun challenge trying to hit it with our pistols. Of course Donovan hit it on his first attempt. His pistol went back in to his holster and he walked away. He does that all of the time right?
Day three we started with a motivational talk by Ron. As he was talking I noticed he is a fan of the teachings of Lanny Basham who wrote the book With Winning In Mind. I have read this book over a dozen times. It is very popular in the competitive shooting community. Lanny is an Olympic Gold Medalist in small bore and talks about methods of performance through the subconscious at various levels. Ron also had influences from The New Mental Toughness Training for Sport – Dr. James Loehr and In Search of Excellence and Psyching for Sport – Terry Orlick. With the pep talk under our belts we made our way back out to the range and worked again on watching the tip of the front sight from beginning to end of trigger pull. We worked on increased speed of rapid fire. I thought the process of calling my shots would be natural since I do that in rifle shooting. But with the recoil of pistols it is easy to wince and take your eyes away from the sight picture. I really needed to master watching the sights and bringing it back on target after the recoil. What a difference it makes. After lunch we covered some basic self-defense moves to introduce us to some of TPC’s intensive courses they offer.
Earlier that morning Ron told us we would have a competition at the end of the day incorporating a little of everything from the weekend. About 8 different stages which were all scored on time and hit factor. He told Kimber and I that he was expecting the two women in the class to crush everyone. Yep, we did. Kimber was first and myself second overall. Yes I am bragging. I was pleasantly surprised that all of the training had ingrained itself in to my head and my performance showed it. Even at the 25 yard distance I hit the A zone and with speed. Three days prior I would have flinched and missed the targets. To me the class was priceless. I just need to keep practicing at home with dry and live fire drills. I want to see my speed increase and time decrease at my next match.
Ron’s Rules of Peak Performance
1. See everything clearly. – means reading and comprehending (processing) that what you see is an acceptable sight picture for the shot you are about to take and that you can call your shots to the best of your ability and skill.
2. Do everything correctly – means do not allow yourself to feel rushed. The key is to make it feel effortless and then you can make it both fast and precise.
3. Stay mentally calm and physically relaxed. – Cultivate an inner core of flexible, adaptable, emotionally resilient mental and emotional strength that is finely tempered with humor. Nothing gets to you that you cannot successfully deal with. NOTHING.
4. Challenge yourself – To perform at the upper end of your comfort zone. When you feel butterflies you should welcome a new opportunity to break down another fear barrier. Winners turn threat into challenge.
5. Have fun and feel deep satisfaction – The most powerful rule of all. Learn to love it all and enjoy the entire experience. It’s a package deal. Rain, cold, heat, wind, tired, frustrated , love, joy, fun, and triumph – Enjoy the journey. 🙂
“The true reward comes with letting go and allowing yourself to be free to perform with incredible awareness and amazing calm. When you truly love what you do then your chances of doing just that go up exponentially.” Ron Avery
Some Admin for the school –They have two buildings, one as an office and one as an indoor shelter with tables and garage doors. In bad or hot weather you can shoot from inside to some shorter bays. All of the outdoor shooting bays have moveable canopies that are much appreciated in the heat of the summer. The school supplies water and lunches each day. Snacks and specialty beverages are up to you. TPC has a discounted rate at the nearest Holiday Inn Express in Washington only a 5 minute drive away. The only issue I had was that there is nothing near the hotel. It is by itself. St. George is only 10 minutes away but I think I would have rather stayed in St George for the amenities and then driven 15 minutes to the range instead. At night when you are tired it is a chore to get in the car again and drive to town. There are plenty of choices of hotels and I loved the Cliffside Inn up on the hill with amazing views and an amazing restaurant. Next time!
The 3 Day pistol boot camp was $795. They are still putting together the schedule of all camps for 2015 so you may not see it yet on the web site. Give them a call or email for information. Not only do you get to take these awesome courses but get to hang with shooting celebrities, Ken and Brian Nelson, Donovan Montross and of course Ron Avery. How cool is that?
Tell them 30calgal sent you and get 15% off a pistol boot camp for 2015! If registering on line you can use 30CALGAL as the discount code. But you must do it before January 30 2015! The best Christmas gift ever!
Jay Dunlap at (844) 438-8228,x101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org