Staff Tip: Visualize the Process
Note: This is the first in a series of shooting and competition tips from the SSSF staff.
While working with an ammunition company several years ago, I joined members of our sales and marketing team at a police pistol range for some training on a bitterly cold January morning to gain a better understanding of officers’ needs in ammunition and the dangers they face in the field.
A tactical course was set up, with the officer required to shoot accurately, correctly distinguish the good guys from the bad guys that were popping up and moving into the course of fire, rescue a partner who had been “shot” without also getting shot, move to a safer area, and more — and do it all FAST.
I was seriously out of my element. Although I was a shooter, I had no law enforcement or tactical expertise, nor did the rest of our team. The range officer brought in an expert to demonstrate the course. But not just any expert — it was the officer who held the record for shooting the course. He dazzled us with his speed and accuracy as he performed every challenge perfectly. Then it was our turn.
Several members of our staff went through the course before Randell’s name was called. Underdressed in his warm-weather clothes and loafers, Randell approached the starting box. Tap, tap, move. Tap, tap, move. Minutes later, Randell had not only stunned all the spectators, but he had broken the course record the first time he shot it!
His secret, he explained, was that it wasn’t the first time he shot the course; he had spent the previous half hour visualizing the course and mentally shooting it. In his mind, he placed every shot, moved to the next challenge, took every step, rescued the downed partner, took cover, and developed the rhythm he needed to do it quickly and smoothly.
We all learned something important from Randell’s performance. It was too late to help me that day — I was the next shooter — but I’ve practiced it many times since then, not just in pistol shooting, but in shotgunning and other active pursuits. I haven’t broken any records, but I’ve benefited every time I have visualized the process.
— Sherry Kerr, SSSF Media & Communications