Practicing Physically & Mentally!
There's a lot to be said about the power of the right mindset - about positive visualization and planning ahead. I came across an article from research done in 1989 investigating the effects of mental imagery on free-throw performance for basketball players.
The investigator in this study used a pretest/post-test design consisting of three treatment groups and a control group. A Total of 120 subjects were randomly assigned to one of these four groups:
- Mental Free-Throw Practice
- Physical Free-Throw Practice
- Combination of Mental & Physical Practice
- No Practice at All
According to the researcher, "results demonstrated that the mental-imagery group did improve their free-throw shooting, although it was not statistically significant. However, the combination of physical and mental practice proved to be statistically significant when compared to the control group. This research (along with countless other studies) shows us that mindset makes a big difference.
This practice should work at shooting bullets as well as baskets, so I am going to start implementing this practice into my firearm training classes. I think it's pretty impressive to know that you can improve a skill by practicing physically - and mentally...until next time!
Raising Kids Around Guns
When it comes to kids and guns, you have two choices: Ignorance or education. But here’s the reality- if you take the ignorance approach, your kids will get their firearms “education” from movies, video games, or from their friends. While we’re not advocating that you take your four-year old out shooting, we are advocating that you answer your children’s questions about your firearms and allow them to interact at a level that’s safe for their age group. Regardless of how old your child is, you’ll need to begin his or her education with an understanding of basic firearms safety. Here are a few safety tips that have been used for kids of various age groups:
2 - 6 Years Old
Mommy I found a gun (horrifying to any parents ears)! Introduce your children to knowing what they should do if they find a firearm left unattended at your home or an other home:
- they should leave it alone
- leave the room and
- find an adult
Quiz them on this every time your handle a firearm in front of your child, or any time the topic of firearms comes up.
Teaching your child to maintain "muzzle control" on his toy dart gun and to "keep his finger outside the trigger guard until he's on target and ready to shoot" may sound silly, however that will build that rule into his neural pathways, which serve him the rest of his or her life. Anything a child learns at this age stand a good chance of becoming hard-wired behavior.
7-12 years old:
This age group is ready to shoot a BB gun or a .22 caliber rifle depending on their:
- his or her ability to grasp all four universal safety rules
- his or her physical ability to handle a firearm safely Regardless of how many times you have to say to them “watch your muzzle” or “take your finger of the trigger,” keep saying it. It is your responsibility for drilling these rules into your child’s brain. They’ll return the favor by doing the same with your grandkids.
At the hint of any fatigue, or enjoyment turning into boredom, end the session for the day. Praise your child’s accuracy, but even more so, praise them for the great job they did adhering to the Universal Safety Rules.
13+ years old:
Teenagers who have demonstrated maturity, ability to grasp all four universal safety rules, the ability to handle a firearm safely when using a BB gun or .22 rifle, may be ready to step up to leaning how to operate a handgun. With their shorter barrels, handguns can sometimes reintroduce muzzle control problems, so watch closely to ensure that all safety rules are being maintained.
Remember, as with all things in life, your children will learn more by watching what you do, rather than listening to what you say. Be a good teacher.
When can I use force to protect myself?
This quote from our first president of the United States sums up nicely the responsibility of those of us who choose to learn the skill of shooting a gun. We not only have the right to protect ourselves and our families, but we also need the ability, intelligence, training, and self-control to understand HOW, WHY, and WHEN it’s proper to use force for protecting ourselves and the ones we love.
There is only one guarantee that you would walk away safely from a deadly encounter and that is to AVOID it in the first place. That may seem like common sense, but sometimes we get caught up with life and responsibilities that we do not pay attention to our surroundings and steer clear of uncomfortable or unsafe environments or situations.
Important things to remember:
- Do not go somewhere alone if you’re unfamiliar with the area or know it to be dangerous
- Do not take shortcuts that lead you down dark pathways or set you apart from the rest of the crowd
- Do not approach strangers or let them get too close to you
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Make smart choices
- Turn around and go back if you have to
There is no shame in being careful or planning ahead. That is what avoiding a situation is all about. Listen to your gut feelings. Your instincts are there for a reason…and they are often right.