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Define "Better"

When we look to improve our skills we need to understand both where we are and where we want to go. Becoming better is all about having a road map to what you wish to accomplish. Some goals are easy to define, some are more difficult, but the goal needs to be clear.

Let's start by defining what you would like to be better. Are you working on a hard skill, such as draw time, accuracy or movement? Or are you looking to increase your mental flexibility and processing speed? The first can be clearly defined in terms of seconds and scoring rings. Mental ability is harder to define, but can be worked on if you know what you need to work on.

Get a baseline. Where are you now in seconds and score? Use a timer and a scorable target. What problems cause you to be unsure of your proper response in a defensive context? Immerse yourself in videos that cause this stress response.

Then define your goal. "Better" means quite a few things, but if we define our goal more specifically, we have a road map to where we wish to be. Do you want to shave half a second off your draw time? Video yourself and see where you are inefficient. Want to improve split times? Work on pressing the trigger as fast as you can without penalizing yourself for accuracy. Need to hit the target with a greater degree of accuracy? Focus on the tiny individual pieces that make your trigger press and grip consistent.

If you want to improve mental agility, watch videos of defensive encounters and work to identify when the defender had an opportunity to escape, or gain the upper hand in the fight, or deescalate the situation. Build your language and verbally engage with the video. Treat it as if it were real, and react appropriately.

When you reach your specific goal, not only will you be better, you will know how much better you actually are.

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