A famous American bard once sang:
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done
This week found me on the range at work assisting with some of our in-service patrol rifle training. There were three different topics being covered and I was tasked with working the “crowded venue” portion of the class. This block of training had the officers run roughly 25 yards and then must deal with approximately twenty no-shoot targets that were placed at various distances from a series of shoot targets that were placed on automated turners. The turning of the targets were manually controlled from the tower located at the back of the range. The officers would perform this drill twice by themselves and then we would start to increase the number of shooters online as the training block progressed.
During one portion of the day I took control of the targets and gave the guy sitting in the control tower a break from the monotony of turning targets. While turning targets for one officer, I noticed that the officer would never fire when I turned any of the hostage targets towards her. Neither of the hostage targets were extremely challenging in how they were set up and all the shots were to be taken at 15 yards so I was wondering why the officer would never fire at them. Once her run was completed, I exited the tower and began to speak with the instructors that had been working with her.
“She doesn’t feel comfortable taking those shots” was what one of the instructors told me. He immediately followed that with “at least she knows what her limits are.” I had to pause before replying because I thought I was going to have an aneurysm but asked “well, what is she doing to get better?” The other instructors just looked at me and shrugged their shoulders. As I returned to the tower I decided to help the officer a bit. When she returned to the line for her next solo run, I promptly presented nothing but the hostage targets and she was forced to engage each one repeatedly.
What does this story have to do with the song “The Gambler” you might ask? For you to know when to hold what you have, when to press the fight, or even when to run; you must have the ability to do all three, or any other option, with confidence. If you aren’t confident enough to do a given task in a controlled environment (the range, the gym, the ring, etc) then there is a 99% chance that you will never ponder, even for one split second, attempting that task when things have gone sideways and you’re playing for the ultimate prize, life.
And how do we gain confidence? Ah my young Padawan; that is an easily answered question. We gain confidence by training. When you are in a training environment you should be pushing yourself to perform better (faster, more precise, etc) not resting on your butt in your comfort zone. “But Chris, people will make fun of me if I screw up” some of you might be thinking. And you know what; people might make fun of you if you make a mistake but who cares? If your fear of people making fun of you overrides your desire to be able to save someone’s life (quite possibly your own) and not end up in “pound me in the ass” prison, then maybe you need to seriously reevaluate if you are serious about self-protection and/or being an armed professional.
Let me end this with a challenge. Each time you practice (at the range, in the ring) make it a point to spend part of your time working on an area that you are weak in, and we ALL have weak areas. You don’t have to spend the entire session working on things you suck at, but a portion of your training time must be devoted to it. This is how we get better, not by always folding or running away.
And for your musical enjoyment; Mr Kenny Rogers
Until next time……………………