The weather cooperated and was dry and a bit cold, but it was a great weekend. Once again a wide range of shooter skill levels was present, and everyone showed measureable progress within 1/2 day of instruction. Shoot Boss Earl assigned me Line Boss duties for 2 1/2 segments, so that made my weekend even more memorable as I journey down the Appleseed Trail. I am proud to say that Julie finally made her break through and earned her Rifleman patch!
Julie and I talked about it later that evening, and I was glad to hear her say that it was a mental block that she erected (not trusting her NPOA) that was finally broken down by constant positive Instructor feedback, and some detailed instruction from Wheeler on what it means to be dragging wood and how to fix it. I remember seeing how well Julie did at a previous Appleseed (I let her use my rifle and would like to believe it possesses magic powers), so I kept reminding her how well I and the other instructors had seen her shoot, and that she just needs more time to digest the info and believe in her abilities. I mean, come on, a Redcoat target with 3 in the 100, 3 in the 200, 3 in the 300, 3 in the 400, and 1 in the head shot, and all very tight groups? I seriously want her on my team! Positive reinforcement is crucial for all shooters to break their personal walls, and all require different "information marination" periods before understanding the concepts get turned into automatic action.
The beginner tutorial at the beginning of Saturday was very beneficial to new shooters to help them overcome their intimidation of a shooting event and firearms. When a shooter comes to an Appleseed, you never know what pre-conceived notions they have about a shooting event, run mostly by men. After talking to several females, their notions align with my guess: dominated by males, some macho/testosterone in the air, some high fiving and horseplay. Wheeler's private tutorial on the names for the parts of a firearm, how it operates, how the shoot will go, etc. really put them all at ease and erased whatever ideas they had about what this Appleseed thing is all about.
Great Appleseed, great people, great weather. I hope to see everyone again soon!