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The Fifth Marksmanship Principle

Or “why you need to care about what you’re doing for it to matter”.

The British Army teaches shooting through the application of four “principles”. Learn these and you’ll consistently shoot accurately. They’re not surprising or difficult, and they build on each other:

  • “The position and hold must be firm enough to support the weapon.” In other words, hold the tool properly and you have a greater chance of success when using it. Pretty straightforward.
  • “The weapon must point naturally at the target without undue physical effort.” In other words, don’t force it. Straining into position will introduce errors. You want your resources pointing in the right direction with ease. Again, this is not rocket science.
  • “Sight alignment (aiming) must be correct.” In other words, calibration and application of your equipment need to be accurate and consistently used. It helps if the thing is actually pointing at the target and not just appearing to. You could apply this to your teams.
  • “The shot must be released and followed through without disturbing the position.” In other words, you need to train to physically use the tool properly; it isn’t just a conceptual act, you need to learn to use your body properly as well.

But the real lesson is in the fifth – unofficial – principle, coined by soldiers: “You have to give a shit”. In other words, all of the above goes out the window if you pay only lip service to it, if you don’t actually care about the detail or the ideas behind your actions.

There is literally no point having rules, processes, principles, or other concepts if they gather dust on shelves, lie locked away and unused, or remain poorly communicated and unpracticed.

So, finishing Friday stronger than you started on Monday, and looking ahead to the next week: are you applying the fifth marksmanship principle? If not, why not?

If you liked what you read let me know in the comments or message me to find out how I can help you implement your own fifth marksmanship principle.

Image credit: Myko M on Unsplash

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