How do you encourage someone to train?

A USCCA member reached out to me for some suggestions. Here’s his dilemma.

I have been a member of USCCA for a year now and really appreciate the information and training put forth by USCCA. I truly get involved in your training programs BUT my wife has been a CCW carrier for years and I cannot get her to understand the importance of defense planning and training.

We have the weapons and all this very valuable training aides but she can’t seem to find time to watch videos or do dry fire training.

I know a lot of you have gone through this type of situation - what worked well for you?

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I’ve heard a few suggestions:

  • Bribery - yup, flat out ethical bribery. “Let’s go to the range and we can get dinner after.” Or “Let’s do 15 minutes of dry-fire practice and then I’ll help you with cleaning the house.”
  • We’re in this together attitude/discussions. Express how important it is for you to know that they can defend themselves. Knowing that you’re concerned about their safety and you’re worried may be enough to get them to start training more.
  • Defense of children or grandchildren? Utilize the need to be able to defend children or grandchildren to entice them to train.

What other suggestions do you all have?

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… this could get long… :woman_shrugging: … and not all of it will apply, so read to see what might apply and ignore what doesn’t.

BTW… sometimes what guys think we care about, and what we actually care about, are different. This is often a surprise to the guys. :astonished: Don’t be too quick to decide “that’s not it” or “that won’t help”. :thinking:

Treating it as a “girl thing” may help. Find a women’t shooting group - The Well Armed Woman, A Girl and A Gun, or a local woman’s shooting group and buy her - AND a Female Friend or Daughter or Sister if possible - a class / meeting /event ticket. Women do this better in pairs or packs - we’re social creatures, for the most part. (The NRA’s Women On Target events are useful, but they don’t build community and ongoing relationships, so that’s not what I’m talking about here)

Even though this is a serious topic, we’ll do more of it it if we’re having fun. Since we often choose to spend our time on what’s fun to do rather than what we should do, you want to consider why it’s not getting her willing participation.

If she’s not into it now it may be because there’s some latent fear or anxiety, or it seems like too much work, or it just isn’t fun or rewarding. Hanging with other women to do this, and working with women instructors is the best way I know of to fix that for most women. Granted, some of us like shooting with the guys, but learning and talking with other women can really put us at ease, reduce our anxiety about what we do and don’t know, make it easier to ask questions, expose our lack-of-knowledge, take risks, and open us up to becoming more confident more quickly.

Once she’s having more fun with it, and especially once she connects that fun to the real-life value of those skills, she’ll probably be more willing to play. (Notice I said play… it’s important practice but fun important practice is better, even when it’s a serious subject). Once that’s happening, there’s time to take on the heavier, more difficult topics.

When you’re practicing together, find more ways to make it fun. If she’s competitive, how an you do that as a competitive game? (I like dueling trees - my hubby can kick my butt, but if he shoots left handed… :smiley: ) If she dislikes competing with you, or if it seems she can’t win and that’s discouraging, look for a cooperative way to practice. (maybe… you shoot a spot on the target of your choice, then he tries to shoot your bullet hole.)

A few other stray thoughts:

  • Sometimes it’s because the gun really isn’t working for a person - consider that maybe exploring a different gun might yield a better experience… if it hurts, or it’s scary, or it’s difficult, or it’s hard to see progress, sometimes a different gun can fix or improve those things.
  • Sometimes its an environment thing. If the ladies room at the range stinks, or there’s no place to sit, it may be someplace she doesn’t look forward to going. Consider changing ranges or improving conditions, or figuring out what you can do to improve the things that are irritating.
  • Sometimes it’s a couples thing - learning from and training with someone you’re married to isn’t always successful. Getting an independent teacher, especially a woman, makes a world of difference for many women.
  • Sometimes there’s an emotional underground current - taking this seriously might mean thinking about things that are difficult - like what if your kids were hurt or what if you had to actually shoot someone. Working with a women’s group or female teacher is a good way to help flush some of those issues out into the light. Some of these things are more difficult for women to discuss with men because we bring different emotional responses to those issues. Once that territory is explored it gets easier to discuss it with the guys we are attached to.
  • Sometimes its a listening thing. My hubby wants to take all the guns all the time and shoot everything. I don’t. If I’m done, I don’t want to stay and shoot 6 more guns I’m not interested in shooting right now. If he presses that subject, I don’t leave the range happy, I leave the range annoyed. That doesn’t make me look forward to the next trip. When he remembers that I’m there for my reasons and that may not be the same as his reasons, we have more fun. He can shoot all 900 guns in his lane, and I can practice with the two I’m training with in my lane, and I don’t need to shoot the other 898 guns at all. He leaves the range satisfied and I leave the range happy :blush:

The last thing I’d say is … ask what’s working for her, ask what’s fun, ask what isn’t… and LISTEN to the answers. They might not be at all what you think.

BTW, there’s quite a few knowledgeable women on here, and some of us are teachers - any of us would be more than willing to talk with her to help figure out what’s working and what isn’t, and to help in any way we can.

A lot of times it is just a matter of inviting. If someone shows an interest, invite them to the range. My membership allows me to share a lane with a guest and for free rentals. We may shoot my gun(s) or let them try something new and then another and another.
Alternatively, bribery works well. My favorite restaurant/pub, The Blind Squirrel, is on the way to/from the range. It’s always nice to sit down with a cold draft beer after lobbing a few rounds down range and it’s a great way to talk about what happened on the range in a quieter atmosphere. My brother and I will bring our wives to the range who we both convinced (or connived) to get their permits.
Every now and then, we will plan a range day with the girls so they can at least stay competent with a weapon and won’t be scared of it. We always end at the same pub for drinks and a meal, sans weapons, after the range. If they allowed cigars at the pub we could mimic the ATF, just in reverse order!

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