The Great Trainer Debate: How to choose?

Posted: January 24, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have gone over in my head how I choose a trainer and my mind-set when looking for a class. As I have stated in earlier posts my year goal is to become certified to teach through the NRA. It’s my feeling that a teacher is always a student. I never stop learning. I love learning, taking classes, reading other blogs, and generally just looking for new ideas to try to help improve my skills. I have always said, “I will learn from anyone” but I have been thinking about that quite a bit lately and now I think that idea is starting to change. In this post I want to talk about what I think needs to be looked at when choosing a trainer. Does a fat or fit trainer make a difference?

There are two sides of the fence on this issue for me; one side says a trainer doesn’t need to be able to run 5 miles, do 100 push ups, and still be able to qualify “expert” in an IDPA qualifier. The other side says the person teaching must be able to perform what they are teaching at the level they expect their students to perform. But what do we really go to professional trainers for? Knowledge. Both types of trainers should be able to relay information in an efficient manner, if a trainer is unable to pass that information in an appropriate way there is no reason for them to be teaching. Next, we look at ability. The fit trainer is going to be in the dirt demonstrating to you what to do and helping you correct what issues you might have. The fat trainer or even an older trainer might not be able to get to the dirt and if they do it might take the rest of the class to get them back up.  Now, we are starting to see a balance here with knowledge and ability. It doesn’t matter if you have an iron man competitor for a trainer if he doesn’t have any knowledge you will get nothing out of the class. Some of the best trainers I have had were older guys with tons of knowledge.

So who should we take classes from? I believe it depends on the course of fire for the class. For example, if I was going to take a “run and gun” carbine class where there is lots of movement and shooting from different positions I would prefer a trainer who is going to be able to demonstrate what he is teaching. Another example from the other end of the spectrum is if I’m going to a class for fundamental shooting with a revolver and it’s the old man Jerry Miculek teaching, he isn’t going to need to do anything but stand there and show his vast array of knowledge. I believe it always comes back to the scale of ability vs. knowledge along with credentials.  What qualifies this person to teach me? Where have they learned and do they have the paperwork to back it up? I’m in the process of getting all my certificates of classes I have taken scanned so I can have those on the blog and up for anyone even wondering if I should be taken seriously.

Who wont I take classes from? As we covered before, no credentials, no ability, no knowledge, I no care. Another deal breaking factor for me is if you start pegging my bullshit meter. We all have the ability to a certain extent to sift through information and discern whether it’s legit or not. The mall ninja is another deal breaker for me. Dont get me wrong I love my 5.11 pants, they are probably the most comfortable things I wrap around my butt. We have all seen this guy before, decked out like he just walked home from the streets of Fallujah with all the gear from the cover of the latest Recoil magazine. I can’t take him seriously unless he actually did just walk off the boat or plane from an operation. The best example I can give to coincide with this is what happened to me while shooting once. I’m at the range with a few friends and in walks this guy carrying his 5″ m&p 9mm in an Uncle Mike’s holster on his belt while sporting an empty Blackhawk thigh rig. At first, I’m gracious and give him a chance but after talking with him for a few minutes my BS meter was flashing “WARNING!” I am told he is starting a training company with a few military buddies and he is giving hints to their super secret training techniques all while trying to put a Sig brand laser on his m&p. He gets his new toy all fixed up and at this point my friends were more than willing to let this guy take over and show us some “skillz” now. First thing he does is walk out to the firing line and dump and entire an mag into a paper plate he put up as a target and hit it about 10 times. Then, he drops to his knee and pulls another mag out of one of the six mag holsters around his belt and proceeds to fumble through a mag change. After that, he tries three times to rack the slide off his pant leg…. I don’t know why? Then, he proceeded to blast this mag into another plate to the right of the first with the same mediocre results. Standing up, he reholsters into his Uncle Mike’s soft holster and comes back to the staging area where we are all in awe of this display of future teaching abilities. At that moment we all started throwing money at him and scheduling our classes…….. not. We immediately packed our stuff and left before anyone else thought we were with him.

So in conclusion, I guess I still stand in the same place I did before. As long as the trainer has the knowledge, the ability to successfully complete their course of fire, and the credentials to back it up I will consider learning from that person. There you have it, over 1000 words to get us back at the same place we started. Only at Absolute BS will you get this kind of great material! Have any other thoughts or opinions in choosing a trainer? Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. Robert Kyle says:

    don’t get hung up on credentials when choosing a trainer some off the best instructors I’ve known don’t have a lot of papers to show but their abilities and skills put many of the supposedly top inst to shame. also learning a set of drills and mastering them don’t always serve in the real world. study your everyday surroundings and conceder where you are likley going to be threatened or forced to defend youself then set up simular situations during range time if allowed some of the best shooters are self taught by practice and finding out what methods work best for them

    • absolutebs says:

      Great point Bob. Mastering one particular drill is not doing yourself any favors either. You need to push yourself to shoot from odd uncomfortable positions and take yourself out of that comfort zone. Any trainer unwilling to do that cannot successfully train others.

  2. Ryan says:

    I refuse to take advice or any type of training from left handed shooters…

  3. Cleave says:

    Your bias against fat people is unacceptable

  4. Cleave says:

    No comment

  5. […] me, hands down this class fit every bit of criteria that I hope to fill when attending a class and choosing an instructor. Another aspect that was agreed upon by the four of us at dinner was the cost. In the world of […]

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