The Altar of Competency

The ability to perform a skill on command regardless of circumstance is the highest level of that skill

This can be as broad as you like, or as narrow as you like. But it’s really the only thing that matters if you’re training for a skill. Let’s say your goal is to be able to perform a successful Triple Nickel Drill with a revolver. The Nickel is 5 targets, two shots each, at 5 yards, with a mandatory reload somewhere in the sequence. It doesn’t matter how many clean runs you put together on your practice range by yourself, it only matters if you can do it on command when it counts.

That’s an example of a Triple Nickel, but I don’t want people to get too focused on that drill itself. What I’m talking about today is “on command performance.” It’s the goal of every serious athlete, and if you’re serious about shooting it should be your goal as well.

Let’s talk about this concept here, because it’s a key component to the other thing that’s important to us: winning. When I’m talking about on-command performance, it means that whatever the skill set is, you can do it to the level needed for the task at hand without applying extra brain sweat. It’s automatic. It can be just an individual thing, like drawing your gun, or it can be a chain of skills, as illustrated in the Triple Nickel drill. For example, and individual skill would be the ability to draw and hit an A-zone, on command, at any distance up to 50 yards with no time limit. Being able to execute that skill means that you’re prepared to take on more challenging versions of the task, such as hitting an A-zone on command at 25 yards with a par time. Again, this are just examples here. Your goal could be to win an IDPA match, in which case you’d need to identify a number of skills to perform automatically.

The point here is simple: only today’s performance matters. It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday, it doesn’t matter what your best time on the practice range was, because all of that training and practice is supposed to prepare you for today, for the one that counts. The only performance that matters is right now, and if you can’t perform? You need to train more.

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