Monday, December 19, 2011

Mike Seeklander's "Competition Handgun Training Program"



I had the pleasure of taking a 4-day class with Phil Strader and Mike Seeklander last May and while there, Mike had his new book, "Your Competition Handgun Training Program" available for purchase. I managed to get an autographed copy and have spent several months working through the content to the point where I feel like I can give it an honest review.

Just giving props here: Mike also runs Shooting-Performance.com, which has some great info! Check it out?

Overview

Most competitive shooters get to a point where they've read Enos, Kirsch, Burkett, and Bassham, looking for the insights that will help push them over the hump performance-wise. Those books are invaluable and are filled with awesome wisdom, but, being separate, it takes much time and investment to obtain and learn from all of them. If only there was one book out there that stated the core insights found in each of those in an easy to understand manner... Look no further: Seeklander's book is it.

Organization

Seeklander's book focuses distinctively on the "competitive" shooter - which largely means USPSA or IDPA competition, by far the most popular competitive endeavors out there - but the book does not dwell at all on the particulars of each sport. In fact, it is fairly neutral in its approach and should serve a competitor of each persuasion fairly well.

The sections are organized comprehensively according to Seeklander's training method: Introduction to the Program, Goal Setting, Dry Fire, Live Fire, Mental Toughness, Fitness, Visual Training, Cross Training, Documentation, Game-day Performance.

Just scanning the topics, one sees that the book is quite comprehensive in scope. Realistically, superfluous insights, philosophies, etc are left out while a very strong focus remains on the core concepts. This can be a good thing or a bad thing: For example, while Seeklander's book cuts to the chase, I really think that Enos' insights have helped me gain a stronger appreciation for wanting to shoot.

Almost all competitive handgun books contain collections of drills to perform either in live fire or dry fire. Seeklander's book is no different in this regard and his drills are well organized to support his training approach. We've picked through many of the drills and feel that they've helped.

While Seeklander has clearly made this a book for hard-core enthusiasts - for example, his recommendation is roughly 3 live-fire sessions a week, not counting matches - his drills and focus on having a plan, any plan, make it invaluable for the folks without the complete time commitment expected. This is the real gold in the book: A lot of shooting programs or sites advocate drills, but few of them challenge you, the competitor, to actually figure out where you want to go.

Endorsement

While preparing for the Illinois IDPA State Match, I followed a lot of Seeklander's advice and constructed a routine that really paid out well:

My routine consisted of Monday night and Saturday morning live fire (~200 rds), copious dryfire, intense mental preparation, and hardcore physical training. I'll be honest, I hardly documented since I was so busy with work and reloading! I used drills that focused on my weaknesses (weak hand and movement), while maintaining my strengths (accuracy, raw manipulations). This material really helped bring me to the next level.