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Thread: Video Review vs In-person classes

  1. #1

    Video Review vs In-person classes

    I am coming up on 4 months of PSTG membership and getting video reviewed on a weekly basis, and I recently attended my first 2-day shooting class, taught by a well-respected competition instructor. I'll leave their name out of it because they did a good job with the class, they capped the enrollment at a very reasonable number, and they worked hard to get people their money's worth, so I really don't want anyone stumbling onto this post and thinking it reflects negatively on the instructor. In fact, we had multiple students who have been to all the big name instructors like Steve Fisher, Scott Jedlinski, Jared Reston, etc, who expressed that this class was run well. However, the class experience got me thinking about some of the limitations of a 2 day class format (regardless of who's teaching), as well as some of the strengths of video review.

    Pros of in person teaching:
    1. Can actually do a demo. Some of the demos we got regarding grip pressure are tactile and can't really be done online.
    2. Longer blocks of time let you build from the ground up. Easier to explain the basics of grip, trigger control, proper transitions, etc. in lecture format for multiple people.
    3. Easier to see what the student is doing (sometimes). For stand-and-shoot marksmanship stuff it is easier to diagnose what the student is doing and correlate it with hits on the target in person. If it's not immediately obvious what the issue is, it is easier for the instructor to provide a suggestion to the student, see the result, and iterate on it in person vs doing the review online where there's a turnaround time.


    Cons:
    1. Turnaround time from deciding you need instruction to receiving the actual training. I felt like I was starting to plateau in April-May of this year, registered for the class in May, and took the class in October. About 4 months passed between deciding I needed some outside instruction to actually receiving it and being able to apply it to my training. My understanding is that a lot of instructors have substantially longer lead times than that, if you want to get into a class with them.
    2. Individual time. This was my first class, but from what I understand from the other students' feedback, the instructor did an above average job in giving each student individual attention. I would estimate that over the course of 2 days, the instructor spent roughly 20-30 minutes working with each individual student. That is a decent amount of time and requires some class planning to make sure other students have something productive to work on during that time. For a video review, that isn't really a consideration at all, the whole review is individual time.
    3. Student fatigue. By the latter half of day 2 it was obvious that people were quite tired and that the rate of learning was slowing despite everyone's best efforts.


    After this class experience, I am increasingly convinced that online video reviews are not inferior to in-person instruction. Between the cost of PSTG membership and this class, I am convinced that it would take some serious work to find a class that provides more bang for my buck than the PSTG membership. The caveat to that is that I have a decent understanding of marksmanship fundamentals as well as basic concepts in competitive shooting, and I train frequently. The PSTG video review format more or less involves Ben or Hwansik identifying the lowest hanging fruit to improve your shooting, and giving you ways to work on it in your training, but you ought to be doing a decent amount of training for it to work. If I were starting from the ground up I think in-person instruction might be more helpful. Curious to hear people's thoughts on this.

  2. #2
    I can't help to provide a comparison as I have never had video analysis of my shooting done. I am on / off bronze member at PSTG and I have looked at other people's reviews. Somehow I do have a healthy dose of skepticism about that process so perhaps you can comment how accurate / helpful / influential that format has been for you.

    I think that some of your cons of in-person teaching can be mitigated. I don't necessarily plan my classes when I start plateauing. Some of them are opportunistic but many are simply seeking out a specific instructor. If there's someone who I'd like to train recurrently with, I do try to set a specific intervals that make sense to me.
    Personal attention is big for me. Except for Ben's fundamentals, the most productive stuff for me has been either small format (6-7 students), private - semi-private, and high instructor / student ration (read TPC) classes.
    Student fatigue is a real thing and it slows the flow. Some classes have a format where your personal intensity and focus will continue be rewarded, but in other classes it won't help.
    “Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by YVK View Post
    I can't help to provide a comparison as I have never had video analysis of my shooting done. I am on / off bronze member at PSTG and I have looked at other people's reviews. Somehow I do have a healthy dose of skepticism about that process so perhaps you can comment how accurate / helpful / influential that format has been for you.

    I think that some of your cons of in-person teaching can be mitigated. I don't necessarily plan my classes when I start plateauing. Some of them are opportunistic but many are simply seeking out a specific instructor. If there's someone who I'd like to train recurrently with, I do try to set a specific intervals that make sense to me.
    Personal attention is big for me. Except for Ben's fundamentals, the most productive stuff for me has been either small format (6-7 students), private - semi-private, and high instructor / student ration (read TPC) classes.
    Student fatigue is a real thing and it slows the flow. Some classes have a format where your personal intensity and focus will continue be rewarded, but in other classes it won't help.
    Looking from the outside in I was initially pretty skeptical of the value of the video reviews, but over time I've been increasingly convinced of their accuracy and the usefulness of the feedback. To provide more context, I've been a Gold member so I'm getting weekly feedback. I think that is a little more helpful than Silver as there's an element of recency involved and the more of your training Ben and Hwansik get to see, the more likely they are to give an accurate assessment as well as useful recommendations to change how you train. I will say that in my view, it's pretty rare that Ben and Hwansik are wrong about their diagnosis of what's going on. Even in instances where they pick a bad example of me making a mistake (eg: it's a trick of the camera angle or something), I have to admit I've actually made that mistake several times in the footage and they just happened to pick an example to show that doesn't quite work. In Gold, Ben and Hwansik will also provide a rough training plan with the drills they think you should focus on, which I think can be helpful to mix things up and keep you from just working the same things all the time. The other thing is that since Ben and Hwansik see your videos on a regular basis, they're giving you updated feedback in video reviews and changing around some of the things to work on with a significantly shorter turnaround than if you waited a year for your next class to get that feedback. Lastly I think Hwansik and Ben do a really good job of narrowing the feedback down to stuff that will give you good return on investment in match performance. The class I took was good, but in my view some of the things we worked on were things that you do 1-2 times on a stage vs stuff that is really high impact, that you do 15 times on a stage. As I write this out I'm increasingly convinced that video reviews can be a better format for training, but there are a lot of things that need to be done properly for it to work well.

    In terms of progress, it's hard for me to pick an appropriate and objective measure, but 4 months ago I was finishing at about 75-85% of the top CO guys local to me, and at my last local match I finished at 92%. I was squadded with the winner so I know there weren't any crazy flukes that ruined his match. He's been training hard too so those percentages are chasing a moving target. At my last major I finished at 78% vs 67% at my first major match earlier this year. Obviously it's quite doable to improve this much on your own in that span of time, but I have to say that most of the stuff I've been working on and seeing big improvements in weren't things I would have identified as weak points on my own.

    I will likely stay a Gold member for the rest of the season, drop down to Bronze over the off-season, and re-up as a Silver member next year up to the point where I don't know what to work on next, at which point I'll probably go back to Gold.

    I do agree that I think I would get a lot more out of a small private class format vs the class I took, which was open enrollment and had a reasonable 13 students.

  4. #4
    Thanks, that's certainly a good endorsement. Glad it is working out for you, and I know other folks who have done that. Some members here have done similar things with other instructors well before the PSTG. I will consider it next year. Until 4 months ago I had no access to a proper range so my practice videos would've been only dry fire and static lane fire. Match videos would've been ok but I saw a ton of mistakes myself and was able to direct a corrective practice without external input. We'll see what next year brings.
    “Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.

  5. #5
    I think video reviews can help a lot with inexperience on executing a stage plan - because you can show someone how they're being inefficient very plainly.

    In person I do think is great for communicating technique - but to your point the second day is rough if you're not pretty fit - even if you are - it starts to wear on everyone.

    Depends what you're trying to get - reviewing match video is great for setting a curriculum for training.

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