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The truth about DIY coaching…

Or, things you probably don't want to hear...

Sept 2011

 

…things you probably don’t want to hear about DIY coaching:

 

·         Coaching yourself is in the same category as DIY brain surgery: technically feasible but not advisable!

·         What you think you are seeing and what you are looking at are invariably two different things

·         What you think you are doing and what you are actually doing at are invariably two different things

·         Thinking about what you (think) you are doing is only of any use when ‘training in’ a new or changed skill.

·         Harm, hurt and pain

 

Which all adds up to:

·         You cannot be objective about your own performance

·         You can never ‘coach yourself’ as well as a coach can

·         Do you think you cannot afford a coach

 

AND – about coaching family members

·         Pros and cons


 

Coaching yourself is in the same category as DIY brain surgery: technically feasible but not advisable!

 

While there have been any number of excellent target shooters  who, for whatever reason  have had all their ‘learning’ about the sport from books, chances are that they would have reached their level of excellence sooner and easier if they had had access to and used the serviced of a coach – they might even have reached higher levels.

 

Worse, those shooters invariably reach a plateau for their scores that they find very difficult, or even impossible to break through.

 

While there are many excellent how-to books on target shooting, there is a place for those – being the reference libraries of coaches.

They are invariable written in the context of ‘coaching’:

·         As such they are unlikely to be properly understood and even less likely to be properly applied by someone without the required background in coaching information and techniques,

·         The principles in them need an objective assessment as to their relevance to an individual shooter before they can be interpreted and applied.

 

To be effective, coaching needs assessment of the shooter’s technical and ‘mind set’ existing status, designing an applicable Training Plan and a follow-up series of reassessments and adjustments to the Training Plan as the shooter progresses.

 

What you think you are seeing and what you are looking at are invariably two different things

 

This is not a treatise on the mechanics of seeing and brain imaging, but the reality is that you never see what you think you are seeing!  The best that your brain can do is to create a ‘construct’ of your surroundings based on a fairly minimal amount of data from your eyes.

 

What you ‘see’ is a brain construct: stage magicians make their living based on this simple fact, millions of people around the world are amused and bemused by optical illusions.

 

What you think you are doing and what you are actually doing at are invariably two different things

 

You can (easily) delude yourself that:

·         Your stance is properly balanced – when it’s not

·         Your stance is stable – when it’s not

·         You are looking AT the front sight – when you are not

·         Your trigger pull is smooth and ‘in line’ – when it’s not

·         Etc.

 

Thinking about what you (think) you are doing is only of any use when ‘training in’ a new or changed skill.

 

There is a popular phrase applicable to shooting in a competition –no stinkinthinkin’!

As to its application; you should not have to think through each step of firing a ‘good’ shot to achieve one – each of those steps should have become ingrained through practice and training: LOTS and LOTS of training in, and practice of the desired techniques until they become automatic and ingrained.

 

It is worth mentioning that ‘visualisation of the shot process’ is a different matter – that visualisation is BEFORE you start the shot process, not as you fire the shot.

Visualisation is a two-edged sword: it is possible that you could ‘visualise’ the shot process as you are releasing a shot.  If you visualisation process is strong enough it can override reality: in particular, you can visualise a great sight picture when in reality the sights are way ‘off’.

 

Harm, hurt and pain

 

I come from a generation that for many young men and some women (women are generally much smarter) the mantra was ‘no pain – no gain’.  This nonsense continued for a decade or two after I grew up with it and my body is now reaping the outcomes; i.e. my skeletal structure, its interconnecting sinews and cartilages are crap – worn out joints, osteoarthritis, lots of rebuilds by some excellent surgeons…

The point of mentioning this…

is that pain is mother nature’s signal that the body is under stress AND the pain should be heeded to avoid future problems.

 

BALANCING PAIN AGAINST GAINS IS AN MATTER THAT REALLY SHOULD BE LEFT TO PROFESSIONALS!

 

If you are trying to coach yourself, chances are that you will either a) ‘push’ yourself too far past the pain signals with long term affects (and this is quite likely), or b) give up at the first twinge: either way you will not achieve a balanced and proper outcome.


 

WHICH ALL ADDS UP TO…

 

You cannot be objective about your own performance

 

…and to assess what is needed to improve a shooter’s technique, procedures, equipment needs, etc. needs an objective observer/mentor!

 

You can never ‘coach yourself’ as well as a coach can

 

There are many reasons for this but the two major ones are:

·         A coach can make an objective assessment of your strengths and weaknesses in relation to technique/s and mental approach and boost the strengths and start to eliminate and overcome the weaknesses

·         It is all to easy (and probable) that you will use your coaching knowledge to make excuses to yourself.

 

In addition, a coach can independently assess your (real?) needs and advise and arrange ‘specialist’ advice where needed:

·         Optical (so that you can focus on and at the front sight with you eye muscles relaxed)

·         Clothing and footwear

·         Balance

·         Nutrition

·         Conditioning

·         Training Programme

·         Equipment selection (and adjustment as needed)

 

Do you think you cannot afford a coach

 

In the Australian context (and we are a country of vast distances), a weekend of coaching is going to cost you transport, accommodation some meals and a couple of hundred rounds of ammunition – you would have to live in a isolated location for that weekend (including airfares) to cost you more than a case of medium priced .22LR ammunition – you would have to live in a REALLY isolated location for that weekend (including airfares) to cost you more than a couple of cases of medium priced .22LR ammunition.

 

The alternative is to expend that ammunition reinforcing your bad techniques – the choice is yours.


 

ABOUT COACHING FAMILY MEMBERS

 

Pros and cons

 

There are some ‘pro’s, but there are some major ‘con’s

 

Coaching a family member can be a hazard to your relationships!

There have been some great parent/offspring, sibling and husband/wife shooter/coach combinations, but:

o   At least with a coach who is outside the family group the kid concerned can get a break away from the coach – it can be very difficult for many parent/coaches to leave the coaching at the range plus specified (and time limited) home sessions.

o   If your kid/s do not perform to their expectations, they will blame the coach (you)

o   If your kid/s do not perform to your expectations, it is all to easy to become a martinet

All these are potential relationship pitfalls to add to the normal problems between adolescents and their parents.

 

There are ‘Tennis mums’ (and dads), ‘Football mums’ (and dads), etc. and equally, ‘Shooting mums’ (and dads) – being supportive is one thing; it is a short step to being over the top!

I have yet to meet one of these obsessive parents who considers other than they are ‘only trying to do the best for my kid’ and being supportive; when in reality they are obsessive, rude, unsportsmanlike, disruptive and setting a bad example for their kid/s.  Any coach can be ‘over the top’, but it is usually a parent that displays this characteristic and usually at its worst with the parent coach.

 

Look at Harm, hurt and pain and consider the financial consequences to you as a ‘coach’ of your coaching your kids  – if you think that in some part of the future, your kids will not take legal redress against you or your estate, take a deep breath and come out into the real world.

 

You are unlikely to be as objective with your own kids.

 

 

 

Unless otherwise attributed © 2013, Spencer Tweedie

*Permission to reproduce Nygord’s Noteson this website kindly given by Donna Nygord.