Should You Only Hit In Practice?

One question I think most people face when they practicing a lot is: should I always hit? A hit is defined by the sport you shoot- if you are shooting Cowboy Action it is hitting a 12″ target, IDPA 8″ circle, 3Gun anywhere on he target twice etc. I have mixed feelings on always hitting or allowing misses.

Pro Reasons for Allowing Misses:
1) I know I am human and that I will miss sometime in the future. I hate to admit that but it will happen. If I allow misses in my practice I can get used to how that feels and how to let it go and move on.

2) Mental Health- this is a 2nd piece to part 1 but expanded. I have seen so many shooters have a bad stage or a miss and they get so discouraged. Have a strong mental game and being able to move on and focus on good rather than bad will make your shooting better.

3) Missing allows you to push your boundaries. If you let yourself push the boundaries of what you know you can do you will surprise yourself by doing more. Shoot faster and in time you will hit faster.

Pro Reasons For Always Hitting:
1) When it comes to performing under stress I have heard a great saying that you don’t rise you fall to the level of your training. If you always train to hit then your odds are much more likely that you will hit during a competition when you are under stress.

2) While allowing misses and pushing yourself can help you improve your speed, there has to be some discipline and ability to turn that down and find your sights while shooting match. Some people (myself included) struggle to dial back and be patient with the sights.

After years and years of practice here is what I have found works for me. I allow misses in practice- I train hard and push myself so that I can get better. However, I have two rules. First, I always end a practice hitting, if this means I have to dig under the seats of my car to find that elusive dropped bullet, that’s what I do. Second, when it come to important matches a couple of weeks before I transition my practice to perfecting skills. I don’t try to get faster, I work on perfecting. Those last couple of weeks I want to make sure I can execute draws, reloads, movement, swingers, hardcover, no-shoots and accuracy.

Learn to hit, know in you heart that you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you have a non hit that is not like you! 🙂

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