Going slow to go smoother

One of the posts lost to the hackers was a 2012 post called “Smooth isn’t fast” that talked about how the old gun guy saying of “slow is smooth and smooth is fast” is completely wrong. It’s still wrong, because going slow won’t make you any faster. To go faster…you have to go faster.

Photo courtesy Yamil Sued
Photo courtesy Yamil Sued

However, that’s not to say that there isn’t a time to go slow, and that going slow to go smooth doesn’t have benefits for training. Let’s look at reloads; because it’s one of the things I’ve been spending a considerable amount of training time on. I’m definitely trying to go faster, and I use the timer as a part of that training. Reducing par times force me to move quicker and quicker as I train, which is a good thing because it decreases my average reload time.

But what “going faster” doesn’t do is help me diagnose any issues with my form, which is where the slow is smooth comes in to play. Looking at my single stack reload, when I get going up to speed my reload movement includes the “fat guy dodge”, where I lean my torso away from my mag pouch to get extra clearance for my hand heading to the pouch. This movement is necessary for shooters of a certain distinguished sized, but not for me. I have all the clearance I need to grab my mags without wasting the movement of dodging my torso to the right.

I can’t fix that at high speed though; because I’ve been doing the FGD move for as long as I can remember. I probably started doing it back when I had crappy mag pouches that hugged my body, but now that I’ve got quality gear, it’s not necessary. Fixing it requires reps. Lots and lots of reps, and unfortunately it’s lots and lots of slow, boring reps. Because if I don’t start slow, the minute the clock turns on I’ll immediately go back to doing my reloads the less efficient way.

Slow reps have a place – I’ve already seen their success with my reload and draw. I used to do the really high up in your face “workspace” reloads that are the cool thing to do, since I decided to focus solely on building skills for USPSA, my reload is lower and closer to my body now. The same thing with my draw – I’ve retrained my support hand to stay lower on my body so it meets the gun sooner, which gets my gun on target quicker. I had to do low-speed reps to get used to moving my body differently, but now that those skills are grooved in a little bit, I can work on them at high speed. Looks like this afternoon I’ll be doing some low speed reload training as well.