November 2018 | Joshua Shaw
Tim Herron has been on my short list of instructors to train with for awhile and i was excited to attend his class this November in Northern Virginia. It was a testament to his shooting and teaching abilities that the class filled up within the first 24 hours of being announced, and the roster ended up being entirely filled with capable and dedicated competition shooters which made for a very high performing and interesting class curriculum.
Tim has a great teaching style, structuring the class with USPSA skills in mind, and paying a lot of attention to the specific deficiencies and needs of each individual shooter. He even managed to come to class with pre-existing knowledge of shooters abilities gleaned from watching online videos and his own methods of intel collection, which says a lot about his dedication to effective instruction. There was a lot of time spent discussing methods and various approaches to attacking shooting problems, and it resulted in a lot of live fire testing on a timer, which for competitive shooters is a damn fun and effective way to train their skill sets.
His class structure was particularly effective in producing tangible results, as it started with shooting a complex USPSA stage right off the bat on day one, which we then broke down into micro drills and skill building clinics, before shooting the stage again at the end of day 1. This allowed everyone to reevaluate their stage plans and apply what they learned on day 1 to see how it effected their performance. We also worked a few fundamental drills such as Bill Drills and Dot drills, which helped us diagnose deficiencies and gave Tim and his assistant instructor Scott Jedlinski (Modern Samurai Project) a chance to coach us on grip or body mechanics issues for instance.
Day 2 was dedicated to working more challenging drills involving movement, timing sequences and specific portions of the USPSA stage, which allowed us to apply what we got on day 1, and test various approaches to each part of the stage to see what worked the best on the clock. This was a very good way for each of us to get empirical data on efficient stage plans and see what works the best for each shooter. At the end, Tim of course demonstrated what is possible with efficient shooting, movement and gun handling, but didn’t show off or influence our own stage plans up front, which allowed us to build our own confidence.
At the end of Day 2 everyone shot the stage again for the final time, giving everyone a chance to really apply everything they learned during the class and letting their scores on the clock really speak for themselves. Without fail, everyone not only beat their day 1 scores but several people executed some very impressive improvements.
One of the best aspects of Tim’s teaching is his ability to help us master our own mental games. Not by showing us the best way to do something, but by coaching us into finding it ourselves. The main point he wanted to drill into us was that PROCESS, not RESULTS is how you get better. You cannot worry about what anyone else is doing, you have to focus on the process of shooting your match, and not focus on the results you expect or want. This was a game changing mindset shift for me and will stay with me for a long time in this sport, and in life.
As a final note, I shot a match at NRA HQ two days after the class ended and took top pistol shooter (scores are here). Tim lessons fresh in my mind made a solid improvement in my mental approach to the match, and my stage planning especially with respect to planning entries and exits from shooting positions. I look forward to continuing my journey and applying these lessons to future matches.