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Instructor Tip: Don't be a show off

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by Corpral_Agarn, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    OP opinion Cliff Notes:
    As an instructor, your personal level of shooting skill has nothing to do with making the students better. Check the ego and don't be a show off. Stay focused on making the students.


    Story Time:
    Last night I ran into another instructor and we started talking.

    Turns out he is a CHP instructor and has been to the FBI training school on training. Good credentials, IMO.

    We start comparing notes on stuff (like you do) and he mentions that he often requests his students to perform some very difficult shooting. I agree. That's what classes are for. redefining the limits of the shooters ability.

    He also mentions that many students balk at the task shooting he asking of them. Claiming that it is "not possible".

    I agree that a lot of seemingly impossible shots are more possible than many people think.

    He then tells me that he has gotten "so many free dinners over the years."

    I kinda have a confused look on my face. "Free dinners?"

    "Yep. I bet them dinner that I can make the shot. Usually I bet them that I can cut a playing card in half at 7 yards and just like that: free dinner!"

    At this point I have a course starting in just a few minutes, so I make a parting comment:

    "I have to get going, but I make it a point to not shoot during my classes. I will do dry fire demos, but in my mind, my personal shooting ability has nothing at all to do with making the students better shooters. If they want to see me shoot, they have to come to a match or be in the same class (where I am a student as well). Anyway good talking to you and have a great night."

    He shrugs. We shake hands and exchange names. I get going to my class.


    So what's your take?

    Do you see value in an instructor showing students how good they are?

    Am I missing something?

    Have you been in a class where a the instructor demonstrated his prowess with firearms and did it add to the value of the course?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  2. <*(((><
    • Contributing Member

    <*(((>< Luke

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    I think there is value in an instructor demonstrating poor form versus good form on a target by shooting. There is a decent amount of ignorance by the general population of shooters who don’t realize how much form can play a role in shooting ability.

    Now your instance where the “instructor” is betting his clients and taking their money while stroking his ego, yeah not for me.

    But to categorically state instructors shouldn’t shoot during a session, I don’t agree. I appreciate an instructor who can show me on the target how different actions effect the outcome, with a humble attitude about it.
     
  3. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    Good post and a good point.

    I had stopped demonstrating poor form a while ago and maybe I should revisit that. IDK.

    You've given me something to think about.
     
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  4. George Dickel

    George Dickel Member

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    If the instructor's intention is to show someone that it can be done, that its not impossible, it would help in building a novice shooter's confidence. If a person thinks something only an expert with natural ability can do, they may not even try. In the case of the instruction you speak of my impression of him is that he is stroking his ego, not trying to inspire the novice. Demonstrating good form will help most people with performing a difficult task.
     
  5. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    @George Dickel hit it. If the point of your shooting is, "here, you (student) can do like this" then that's good. If the point is, "I can do it, ain't I just too cool" that's bad.
     
  6. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    I don't have any issues with an instructor shooting a demo, particularly if it's complicated or difficult. Let the students see that it can be done, and how it's supposed to be done. Shooting for lunch with a student, yeah that's gonna be a problem most of the time.
     
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  7. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    Good comments on intent.
     
  8. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I look at it as showing them how to do it.

    I don’t feel like I am showing off walking around or talking to infants, how things are learned. Teaching them once they get older to cook, drive or wash dishes by “showing them how it’s done”.

    I have had folks at matches talk to me about shooting a stage in different manners. Many have thought some ways were not plausible, so I have gone before them in shooting order so they could see “real time” what I was trying to describe with words.
     
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  9. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I think there is value in demonstration of a proper approach/technique/execution for a whole lot of pedagogical/psychological reasons. There's a reason that most instructor-certifying organizations in a wide range of professions and sports require a demonstration of capability by would-be instructors. (Ask any golf teaching pro about the trials of their PAT - Playing Aptitude Test.)

    Often instructors are asking students to do things that do not feel natural. They are "selling" an approach that the student has not adopted on their own for some reason. There is often some resistance - frequently at the subconscious level - to doing something different that feels uncomfortable or counterintuitive. A demonstration of the technique in action can really help convince a student's mind to try to really do the technique, as opposed to finding ways to resist or half-measure it. So that's one important reason.

    Another important reason is establishing what is possible with a technique. Many people, for instance, have lousy recoil control with handguns. They let the gun bounce around a lot because they aren't gripping the gun in an efficient manner or aren't applying enough force. Being able to show what at least a moderately-effective grip looks like in recoil can be eye-opening. "Oh, jeez, now I see... that left hand is not coming off his grip even a tiny bit!" Once they know what success looks like, they have a better chance of emulating it.

    Similarly, particularly when it comes to speed-related stuff, learning to have a sense of how quickly to move or how briskly paced shooting or other actions should be is easier if you see someone doing it pretty fast. I have observed that many shooters who are new to timed shooting games or drills begin their draw with a slow and deliberate move of the hands to the gun. You can tell them to move faster, and they may speed up by 10 or 20% when you want them to speed up by 100 to 200%. Sometimes, in order to get someone's internal sense of time up to speed, they need to see and hear someone doing things at that pace. "Oh, jeez, now I see... when he said move the hands fast to the gun, he meant like as fast as I can move my hands in a hand slap game."

    I took a class from Ben Stoeger last year. He did a demonstration of each drill he asked us to perform... sometimes several, each time calling our attention to particular things ("just watch the gun.... now watch my feet and listen for the shot... look at the target and the kind of group I'm talking about"). Was it "showing off"? I mean, maybe there was a tiny element of that, though we didn't mind because watching someone that good work is a joy... but there were important reasons for it.
     
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  10. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    Good post, Dave.

    I think that it does come down to intent.

    This specific example felt more about "look how cool I am", but I think that the posters have made a good case for running demonstrations in certain instances.
     
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  11. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I agree that hustling one's own students with prop bets is kind of poor form... unless the student has some kind of ego issue, in which case everyone can enjoy watching him pay out.
     
  12. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    There IS value to be had, when the focus is on TRAINING and not showing off.

    HOWEVER...I look at the role of instructor much like the role of a supervisor, and by that I mean when you step out of the role of supervisor and into the role of the worker needing supervised ("doing the work", "getting your hands dirty", whatever you choose to call it), then you lose your supervisory oversight.

    Now, when the job is training, obviously demonstrations may be a part of the training experience and how you choose to conduct such sessions is heavily based on the type of training being given.

    With respect to live fire on the range, the instructor who incorporates his own live fire demonstrations (without an assistant) necessarily divides his attention away from his students while he's handling and firing the weapon. He's potentially doing things like handling a loaded weapon while conversing with students, drawing and holding a load weapon while conversing with students, etc.

    All the while, as the sole instructor, he's SUPPOSED to be 100% in tune with the students in his class.

    NOTICE:

    I said the instructor is POTENTIALLY doing these kinds of things. It's all in the deliberate setup of the training.

    A clear distinction should always be established between what's appropriate professionally and safety-wise.

    THAT SAID:

    It's a firearms training environment, NOT a contest. Maintain the professional focus during training and save the bets and competitions for another environment.
     
  13. shafter

    shafter Member

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    I wouldn't take free dinners from my students. My buddies, sure, but betting against students is bad form in my opinion. But I do think there can be some value in demonstrating certain techniques, form, or even what is possible. As long as you aren't trying to impress or amaze your students with your prowess then go for it.
     
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  14. Jack Ryan

    Jack Ryan Member

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    Here is a tip good for students, buddies, and casino gamblers... Don't bet another man at his game in his own back yard.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  15. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    I've run into different examples of that scenario. The situations included a martial arts instructor, a sports coach, a law firm senior partner, and other instances of instruction.

    Breaking down the intent is sometimes difficult because it's subjective, but when the instructor demonstrates skill, it can accomplish at least three things.

    First is credibility, which sets that stage for everything else.

    Second, it demonstrates technique in live action.

    Third, if the skill is at a high level, it can show what is possible and create a new mindset in the student that can lead to higher goals.

    Hustling dinners, too me, is ok if the dinners are not expensive and if the instructor uses the interaction to impart additional knowledge. I'm sure we've all learned a lot in informal social settings.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I try to look for knowledge that I can use, even if the person is just showing off for an ego boost. And usually if the person is showing off, they will gladly repeat the demonstration if asked.

    As the person teaching, I can give knowledge, but I just don't have any skills that are at a high level, so I've never been in the reverse role.
     
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  16. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Member

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    I do shoot in front of my students but it is not for an ego stroke. After verbally explaining the drill I break it down into steps for them to follow, finally ending with me shooting. For my students it builds confidence to see its possible to do. I never just shoot and say lookey there, another bullseye. That doesn’t build students up. Sounds like the guy you were talking to was that type. Always stay humble.
     
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  17. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Making bets with students for dinner is a ****** move regardless of whether the class is on firearms, crocheting or underwater basket-weaving.

    Sorry, but the OP's guy is simply looking to get his ego stroked. I am a certified LE firearms instructor, and I've never thought of wagering on my abilities with students/trainees, ever (with other instructors, sure). It's unethical. Demo'ing a technique is one thing, but I'd get hung out to dry real quick if I took money from academy trainees or any officers.
     
  18. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    The adult learning model, is: Explanation. Demonstration. Repetition. Put downs, grand standing, and sucker bets don't accomplish the teaching goal.
     
  19. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    I've taken quite a few defensive shooting classes and I expect an instructor to demo what he's instructing.

    Not looking for an "olympic" level of accuracy, but IF we're running drill X and the accuracy/time standard is "Y" I expect the instructor to be able to accomplish it. The betting aspect..meh, but I do expect an instructor to be able to walk the talk.
     
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  20. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
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  21. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    Don't misunderstand: I demo techniques and movements.

    Just without putting rounds down range.

    I guess I separate the two concepts
     
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  22. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    As a student, I want to see the technique demonstrated for real. It lends credibility to what is being taught. Take a look at that article I posted if you get a chance. It explains what I mean well.
     
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  23. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    I quick read the article. It agree with it.

    I absolutely see value in demo. I am beginning to see the value in shooting too.

    I typically demo with a blue gun. I didn't so much care about holes in targets but am reading posts about that and i see the case for sprinkling it in.

    I guess perhaps I am a little too concerned with not wanting to become the instructor in the OP(?).
     
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  24. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    You certainly don't want to be an egotistical jackass like the instructor in the OP, but, IMO, you should definitely be demonstrating competence, live fire. There are a fair number of "instructors" out there who have had zero training other than a CCW class and an NRA Instructor course, neither of which mean much of anything when it comes to competence with weapon manipulation and especially tactics. Obviously, a student should do their research ahead of time to determine the instructor's credentials but an unwillingness to demonstrate TTP's live fire is a major red flag and an automatic DQ as far as I'm concerned.
     
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  25. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    I've met those instructors lol

    Alright. Love fire in class.

    More fun for me anyway
     
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