From Jason Crotteau of Wyoming Tactical:
Shooting Performance F.I.D.C.
Las Cruses, NM
Dec. 4-8 
I have been teaching defensive firearms, and running my small company for a couple of years now, being both NRA certified, and a Combat Focus Shooting instructor, I know that I had the background, and in the case of CFS had been put through the grinder to get signed off. In my mind however, passing the test, and simply being “good enough” doesn’t cut it when it come to educating people in life and death skills. So I was looking for something more. This is when I came across Firearms Instructor Development Course (F.I.D.C.) taught by Mike Seeklander of Shooting Performance.
I had met Mike previously through mutual friends, and after talking with him, he was gracious enough to grant me a slot in a very difficult to attend class. Mike also had another instructor with him, Rich Brown, who had some incredible insights on public speaking and presentation. Rich is also an accomplished shooter in his own right. Using his critiques I was able to gain valuable insights into my own teaching style, and how to maximise my impact with students.
When I arrived on day one I understood why this course was so difficult to get into. I was one of fourteen other instructors, eleven of which were high level officers, and instructors for the Las Cruses Police Department and the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department. Half of these guys were SWAT officers, and one was a Grand Master level shooter. To say that I was intimidated would be sugar coating it.
I was absolutely determined to get everything out of this course that I could, so I put all of my focus into absorbing all the knowledge that was being thrown at us. I had heard the “drinking from the firehose” analogy before, and this class was no different. Just the focus was slightly different. This course wasn’t about teaching a specific program or method. It was primarily about HOW we teach. I would say that about sixty percent of the curriculum was about communication, and how to convey information to students. While we worked on our communication skills we were shown different methods for running students on a range, we talked about some of the factors that go into skill development, and learned a few tricks along the way.
A couple of takeaways for me were the structure templates that this course provided. Both in terms of how to develop a curriculum, and how to structure it into a understandable flow. This was of huge importance to me, as I have reached a point in my career where I am beginning to develop my own curriculum. The examples, and structures that we learned made this seemingly gargantuan task seem much more manageable. Secondly, we were shown a few different ways of running the line on the range. One of the best ways was making the line automatic. Giving the student a task and let them do the reps. As an instructor, this style gives you more freedom to watch for safety concerns, as well as more opportunities to coach students.
One of the biggest things that I left with is learning to teach, without a doctrine. Walking out with solutions for the problems that I have encountered as my training courses have grown. I remember doing a survey before Instructor Conference in September, and something that I listed as a weakness as an instructor was not dividing up my curriculum into small bite, or block. Something I could just pull out on demand.
Overall, the lessons on effective communication, especially as it relates to firearms training made a world of difference. It will make a big difference to the students as well.