A couple of months ago I stumbled upon Steve Anderson’s excellent podcast and have been obsessively listening to all of them as time permits (almost done). I knew of Steve Anderson from his quintessential book on dry fire, Repetition and Refinement which I bought several years ago and didn’t do too much with at the time for some reason, but saw significant improvement with the little time I spent with it. As I’ve gotten serious about competing and started dry firing again on a regular schedule, I’ve found Steve Anderson’s podcast a goldmine of great information and have started using his book again. After a while I stated to plateau a bit and couldn’t seem to get some of my times down to where they should be which has been frustrating to say the least. During one of his podcasts he mentioned a YouTube video of a Dry Fire Tune Up he had done which I found after a little google’ing around. In it he takes a student from some of his standard times to some blazing fast times in just a few minutes. Once I watched the dry fire tuneup video I decided that I had to get one scheduled for myself to get some help diagnosing why I’m not getting to the times that I think I should be achieving.
After a little back and forth with Steve, I discovered that he offers a Dry Fire Tune Up via FaceTime which allowed me to get started immediately and not have to wait for him to be on this side of the country. With my laptop sitting on top of an old highchair in the garage and a few technical hiccups with my wifi, we were up and running. I wasn’t sure how well this was going to work but I was pleasantly surprised with just how well we were able to communicate and after a few minutes I kind of forgot he wasn’t right there in front of me.
I told Steve that I was having trouble with my draw times and he had me perform some draws at a couple of angles to try to figure out my issues. He instantly noticed some things I needed to do from my stance on up. I had already discovered that my NPA required me to get my left foot a little forward of my right, but Steve had me move it a little bit more forward than I’m used to. My stance was a little wide and I narrowed it a bit and got my weight forward on my left foot. I got my shoulders a little bit more forward and was ready to start ripping the draws. He picked up on some hitches I had with getting my grip on the gun and pausing with my support hand. I really had a series of little index points I was following that introduced lots of little “pauses” in the draw. The goal was to just get the gun to the target in one movement and just get to the gun sooner. It wasn’t long until I was getting to a .8 draw to an acceptable sight picture.
Next we moved on to the surrender draw building off the gains we made already. He had some very insightful suggestions on where to start, how to stand, and where to position my hands. Again, screaming fast results.
We then parlayed that into the turn and draw which he completely changed the way I have been doing it. And naturally we continued onto the El Prez after some work on reloads. Until today my El Prez par time on a good day was 4.5 seconds. After working with Steve on it for a few minutes we had it down to 3.8 seconds. Booya!
To the casual reader these gains may not seem all that significant, but considering that I spend an hour or more every day trying to improve them and haven’t gotten them any lower by myself, it’s pretty amazing that a few minutes with Steve and I’m shattering my best times by a huge amount. Steve is damn good at identifying technical errors and fixing them. He also quickly figured out a lot of the mental aspects of how I train and how I over think and analyze things when I just need to get the gun on target. Very impressive. You can tell that he loves teaching and gets a lot of personal satisfaction from watching you improve. Even over FaceTime I could see him getting excited when we’d hit some new par time. When we really go rolling he wasn’t even able to stay in his seat anymore and was up and moving around, visibly excited that he was getting me to perform at all new levels. Being a son of two music teachers he knows how to convey an idea in a realm where practice is the culture.
I’ve heard Steve say on several occasions that all of his students get sub-second draws, El Prez’s down to 4 seconds, etc, and it happens every time, I can honestly say that I’m a believer. Anyone who is really training for this sport is by it’s very nature, is goal oriented, and hearing that statement almost sounds too good to be true. But bottom line, if you’re looking to get results quickly for the cost of a few boxes of ammo, this is the ticket.