Training Time: The value of individual private lessons.
Admittedly this article is going to seem self-serving. After all I own a firearms training company and have grown revenue through private training. That being said I intend to emphasize a few key points regarding your firearms training path. To put it bluntly I think every serious practitioner of defensive firearm shooting should invest in private coaching or training. This of course does not mean that private coaching should replace competition, dry fire, group classes, reading, or any other form of research or education.
The benefits would seem obvious however if you ask your average trainer you will find a gap in folks taking advantage of private training. I have had the privilege of offering this service to plenty of clients and the overwhelming majority of them simply don’t seem to know that firearms training is available in this format. They are used to the weekend warrior 16 hour format. Don’t get me wrong I have a great respect for that format, I teach that format, and most importantly I have logged a good number of hours as a student in that format.
People are exceedingly busy these days. There are only 52 weekends on a calendar in a given year. Many of those are taken up with children’s activities, family events, weddings, and other requirements. Asking folks to take multiple weekends a year to devote to firearms training is a difficult proposition at best. As trainers we have to realize that the average student may be able to devote at best one or two weekends to this proposition.
From the student prospective individual private training presents a unique opportunity. In a private lesson format a trainer is devoting his or her full attention to you. The trainer is also able to present curriculum that is tailored to your individual needs. A good trainer will then help you implement a practice regiment and be there to support you down the road in your continued training needs. In this way the experience can be individualized and customized to fit exactly what you as a shooter need.
Group classes require a trainer to convey the same curriculum to as many as 16 of you throughout the weekend. Every individual student is just that…..an individual. This means that all 16 students in a class will come with their own individual needs and difficulties. There are no two ways about it. Good instructors split up the classes into relays of like students, use the Socratic method to spark discussion that helps convey points, and are adept at teaching to multiple types of adult learners in one lesson. All that being said there is nothing quite like individual attention.
The other benefits become more apparent the further we dig. Private training costs considerably more per hour but can be chunked into smaller more digestible segments. Also the cost benefit analysis should really take into account the direct attention that the instructor is able to pay you as a student. Most of my private students get way more than their moneys worth when they are able to take me up ion this format. Logistical costs are also worth considering. Private students don’t need to consider travel, meals, or lodging assuming they find a local coach to work with.
Private students also tend to progress faster. This means they spend less time, money, and ammunition on skill development as compared to other traditional weekend students. One sad reality of firearms training is that many folks can basically only afford to take weekend classes. I have worked with folks who have taken training from some excellent instructors but haven’t been able to afford to sustain their skills. After all the human animal learns through immersion. Someone who has taken 6 weekend classes every year and done nothing else to sharpen their skills would probably benefit from 2 weekend classes and 4 hours of private training weekend a month.
This is not to diminish the value of group classes at all. After all we sell those as well. For many of you devoting time to a private training program simply will not be possible. That is why we have broken up our group classes into essential chunks. Even in that format we still give you the homework to do and the rescourses to do it well. We simply have to rely on you as the student to be dilligant in that homework in order to improve your skillset.