Friday, June 22, 2012

When does practice become more important than training?

When I first started my blog I wrote a post about getting quality training before dedicating too many resources to practice on the front end of your skill development journey. The point of the post was that you cannot practice what you do not know. This post is about the reverse side of the coin. At what point are resources better spent on practice instead of additional training? It was inspired by a conversation at concerning "advanced" training.

I think that there comes a point where more training is actually not the most efficient use of resources in the context of skill development. A period of training needs to be followed by a period of practice where the shooter skill level can mature (Todd Green touched on this in one of his posts. If you haven't read it, you should) As the level of performance increases, this period of practice will become longer and longer because the improvement in skill will take longer to accomplish. It may take a shooter a few months to master the skills taught in a one day basic defensive handgun course if they shoot frequently enough, it may take a couple years to master the material in a technique focused 2 day course with a much higher performance demand. It all really just depends...but you get the idea.

Shooting courses generally are not cheap. The cheapest I have seen run about $100 per day and have round counts around 400-500. As the course material becomes more advanced, generally the price goes up too. Top tier shooting courses will cost around $200 a day and have round counts in the 1,000-2,000 range for a two day course. Depending on what caliber you are shooting and what kind of deal you can find on ammo, we are talking about nearly $1,000 for a two day course. It is generally always going to beneficial shooting with a skilled and knowledgeable instructor (read - teacher), it is just whether or not it would be more beneficial to spend those resources on mastering skills already learned.

I cannot answer the question for you, but if you find yourself searching for that next greatest thing in training, maybe it is time to take a step back and really buckle down on the skill development and get some solid practice in working the skills you already know. There is only so much development that can take place in a 2 or 3 day shooting course, real skill development is on the shoulders of the shooter after the course is long over. People don't become great shooters by taking "advanced" classes, they become great shooters by mastering the skills they have been taught.


  1. Often I meet shooters with very impressive resumes that can't shoot very well. I think that proves your point.

  2. That is a really good point that I actually had not thought about. Thanks.