OCTOBER 20, 2016

Skill Set: Book Review -- "Building Shooters"

Normally I read a book completely through before reviewing it. I've only read part of Building Shooters: Applying Neuroscience Research to Tactical Training System Design and Training Delivery. But just those eighty pages have been enough for me to say this is a good book, and I'm sure the rest is going to be as educational as the first part. I had received several emails from friends that I respect about this book so I ordered it immediately from Amazon. Although its primary audience is instructors the material applies to everyone. As the title says, this book is about the mental aspects of training and practice. It will improve your ability to teach – and learn - and therefore you'll perform better and more efficiently. "Building Shooters" gets into the details of how our brain learns. You might think this is a simple process, but anyone who spends just a little time studying the psychology of learning finds out real quickly that learning, and the ability to apply your skills is a complicated process – especially if you want to get the most return from your investment and resources. As Dustin Salomon says in the preface, this book represents "nearly fifteen years of ongoing research into training methods for firearms and other tactical sill sets" in order to "develop a wholly different approach than the standard training model …" For example a lot of instructors will induce stress during a class. Salomon explains the different types of stress, and how it can improve the learning and application of skills. Or, stress can be detrimental, retarding the learning curve. Too much stress is a bad thing - "… high levels of stress should not be done in a training environment where learning skills or information is the training objective." Stress also affects men and women differently during the learning process. I've always believed that in the beginning your teaching approach should vary for men and women. Salomon confirms this. Because of how men and women react to low levels of stress he states that it may be a good idea "… to separate genders during some specific periods of instruction and to design separate learning modules for each gender if the instructional method for the topic involves the use of low-level stress to enhance learning results." Basically what Salomon has done is apply work from a lot of different research, including his own experiences as a military and law enforcement trainer, to tactical instruction. There is some of the material presented that I knew but didn't understand exactly how it worked. For example which part of the brain was involved or how that particular part of the brain functioned. Some of the ideas and approaches are new to me; I'm sure the rest of the book is going to introduce even more new concepts. Whether you're teaching basic classes to beginners or mid-level and advanced training for armed professionals you'll benefit from reading this work. For those trying to improve their skills understanding how the mind works, learns and applies skills will be a big help. This is one of those books you read, reread and then once or twice a year you go through it again. With every reading you'll be growing and improving, which is what a good book should do. Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - http://shootrite.org/book/book.html writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html Website: www.shootrite.org http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shootrite-Firearms-Academy/156608611038230?ref=ts