Originally Posted by rhodieusmc
I've been asked many times, "Does 'practical shooting' under the stress of competition offer training benefit to those who want to use these skills for 'combative' purposes?"
I believe the only training that isn't benificial is wrong training. The more appropriate question isn't "if", but rather, "how much?"
There are many techniques to create stress for the shooter/trainee. The importance of creating such stressors is often overlooked. Most often, the mechanics of shooting under stress improve, and most people are happy with leaving it at that. I wanted to know why.
The fact is, individuals respond to various stressors uniquely. A shooter starts off by learning the mechanics of shooting: proper sight picture, breathing control, grip, trigger squeeze, etc. The shooter who wishes to become profficient in combat shooting must undergo stressors to help the shooter evaluate his/her performance under stress.
Timed events, shooting on the move, competing, and shooting under adverse conditions all help the shooter refine the mechanical aspects of shooting while simultaneously dealing with the inherent physiological changes the body goes through during stressful periods.
So why the question, "how much?" The most often overlooked factor in measuring the benefits of any added stressor is the psychological capacity for the individual to handle each specific stressor. It's different for everybody. Consider the following example:
I, personally, do not care if someone is yelling at me. It does not bother me when people call me names or even insult my mother. It also does not bother me if I lose a competition. However, I don't handle being "timed" very well. It's not a matter of timing how long I take to do something, but giving me a time limit stresses me out greatly. To further clarify, If you want to time how long it takes me to fire three rounds, I'm quite sure I could make three well-placed shots in under three seconds. On the other hand, if you give me three seconds to make three well-placed shots, my performance decreases slightly due to the added stress.
As you can see, specific stressors that don't bother me too terribly much may drastically affect the next guy. The physiological response directly correlates to the psychological response.
It's quite easy to recognize the training value in shooting in competitions. To evaluate "how much" training value competitions hold is to evaluate how competing affects the shooter/trainee. How important is winning to the shooter?
The ideology behind adding stressors to shooting is to prepare the shooter for combat. Unfortunately, there's no realistic way to replicate the stress of real live combat nor the psychological effects of killing a real live person. Therefore, causing stress during combat training aids the shooter in the mechanical response when it really counts.
When it comes down to it, combat is a competition. The winner doesn't get a cool trophy to put on a shelf, the winner gets to go home.
...in my opinion