If you ask any great marksman, they will tell you that to become a proficient marksman requires many hours of practice. The question we have to ask ourselves as instructors is "how can we facilitate our students to start on this path of becoming a safe and proficient marksman and have fun at the same time?"
Let’s break the answer into three phases.
Phase one: Range safety and fundamentals of shooting.
1. The instructor speaks about range safety and the firearms they will be using while on the range.
2. The instructor, using training aids, discusses the importance of sight alignment, sight picture, breath control, proper trigger pressure and follow through.
Phase two: The use of shooting benches and rests.
The use of shooting benches and rests will give the students confidence that they can hit a paper target. Make sure that there is a safe backstop. Place the targets at a distance of 25 yards from the firing line. Have the students secure their firearms in the rest and have them shoot at the targets. The targets can be black dots on a white background or targets that have game animals on them. The instructors can coach each student and correct any problems. When the students are comfortable, move on to phase three.
Phase three: Shooting positions.
Shoot at targets utilizing the 4 shooting positions: standing, kneeling, sitting and prone; use shooting sticks or a wooden post to steady the rifle if needed. Instructing the students in this phase should portray actual hunting scenarios. Be creative. The students will be shooting at 25 yards using small game targets.
Be safe and have fun. Your students will be a part of a great learning experience while having fun with these hands-on activities.
Please feel free to share your ideas for the hands-on activities you use to teach marksmanship. We learn from each other and our students benefit!