Sunday, December 28, 2014

John Farnam: "Little Mistakes"

This from my friend John Farnam, who is indeed one of the most thoughtful, and most articulate, trainers in the world:
What loses football games are turnovers, poor communication, and penalties. What loses golf tournaments is misjudging distances and wind, selecting the wrong club, lack of concentration. What loses cases in court is lack of preparation, misjudging your opponent, and asking one question too many! 
And, in gun-fighting, it is not the spectacular feat of accuracy that wins the day, not the amazingly difficult shot you’re able to make
Rather, it is the easy shot that you miss. That is what gets you killed!
I would suggest you read the whole thing, and, what the heck, commit it to memory!

I would also like you to read yet another blog post from yet another friend of mine, Caleb Giddings. This one postulates that "Winning is the Only Thing:"
I don’t enjoy competition shooting that much these days. Sure, I still like to shoot matches, but for me the juice isn’t really worth the squeeze. See, the problem is that I like winning more than I like getting better. You’d think those two things would go hand in hand, but they really don’t. Sadly, it’s an easy trap to fall into.
Sadly, true…a trap I've fallen into once or twice myself. Still, it is a trap, and traps are to be avoided. If we're going to be the shooters we want to be, we have to learn to love the process. I refer you to Mastery by the great George Leonard. My few conversations with George were wonderful, like having a few friendly conversations with Yoda. Once a year I tread Mastery, and I learn something new each time.

I am reminded of a bicycle race back in the Back When. It was a "metric century," 62 miles, in the heat in Florida. I was riding as well as I've ever ridden, and I figured it for a nice afternoon. But there was one rider, and he was so damn good…he dogged me for miles, and I finally decided to drop him hard. Except I couldn't…we fought for 30 miles, back and forth, until my legs felt like dead logs. In the end, there was nothing but pain, but 3 miles out he passed me for good. When I finally staggered off the bile with tears in my eyes, I immediately sought him out to shake his hand.

"You are one hell of a rider," I said.

"I am the world record holder at this distance for my age group," he said, shaking my hand. "I thought today was an easy ride in the sun. You brought out the best in me. Thank you."

I didn't win, but I treasure, truly treasure, that "thank you." That afternoon I was as good as I could be, 100% effort. I have shot thousands of guns, hundreds of thousands — maybe a million — rounds of ammunition. Hell, I've enjoyed them all. And I've learned something about me every single time I've pulled the trigger.

More than that, I've stood on the line hundreds of times, waiting for the start buzzer. I hope there are a lot more of those times! LOL! Competition makes us better people; it helps us understand things about the gun, about the stage and about ourselves. If winning is indeed the only thing, we lose so much more than we gain.

But again, we all choose our own paths.

And speaking of paths, I'm thinking of campaigning a Glock 34 in 3-Gun next year…on the local matches where I can use it, I'll be shooting the JP Rifles 9mm rifle as well…same magazines…same ammo…slightly less of a pain in the ass. Maybe an Edge trigger from Jeff at Glock Triggers; some kind of green fiber optic sights…that should do it. Get a Blade-Tech or Comp-Tac holster and some mag pouches. Maybe get Dave Sevigny to shoot all the pistol stages for me…that ought to work.


Jkwas said...

It's true about the process. When you place lower in the match it's sometimes due to the competition you shoot against and not how poorly you performed. You need to look beyond and see how YOU performed.

kmitch200 said...

There is so much more to be learned from a loss than a win if you are willing to look objectively at your performance and truly want to improve.
(and that's a BIG if)

Unless you are willing to put in the time on *proper* practice, you're just spinning your wheels.
love the process indeed.

Wanna be humbled? Pick up a golf club!

ELIMN8U said...

I am no where good enough (nor physically fast enough) to win at the local IDPA matches I've competeted in...that's not what draws me to these events anyway. I'm going to try and make improvements in my own "skill sets" as it were. Everytime I make a smooth draw and get the first hit on target it's a win.
I may not hit Down Zero everytime but if I'm on the target at all that's okay, I've tried to improve my accuracy first and foremost and the times have come down since my first match and that's a bonus.

Anonymous said...

FYI - the link to your book isn't working.

Michael Bane said...



Tom said...

You forgot luck, or bad luck.

Steven said...

The Farnam post is a great read. Thanks for sharing. I agree, do yourself a favor and "commit to memory."