Peer coaching is using two soldiers of equal firing proficiency and experience to assist (coach) each other during marksmanship training. Some problems exist with peer coaching. If the new soldier does not have adequate guidance, a "blind-leading-the-blind" situation results, which can lead to negative training and safety violations. However, when adequate instruction is provided, peer coaching can be helpful even in the IET environment. Since all soldiers in units have complete BRM, peer coaching should yield better results.
Benefits. The pairing of soldiers can enhance learning for both of them. The coach learns what to look for and what to check as he provides guidance to the firer Communication between peers is different than communication between a firer and drill sergeant or senior NCO. Peers have the chance to ask simple questions and to discuss areas that are not understood. Pairing soldiers who have demonstrated good firing proficiency with those who have firing problems can improve the performance of problem firers
Duties. The peer coach assists the firer in obtaining a good position and in adjusting sandbags. He watches the firer -not the target- to see that the firer maintains a proper, relaxed, steady position; that he holds his breath before the final trigger squeeze; that he applies initial pressure to the trigger; and that no noticeable trigger jerk, flinch, eye blink, or other reaction can be observed in anticipating the rifle firing. The peer coach can use an M16 sighting device, allowing him to see what the firer sees through the sights. (Appendix C.)
The peer coach can load magazines, providing a chance to use ball and dummy. At other times, he could be required to observe the target area - for example, when field-fire targets are being engaged and the firer cannot see where he is missing targets. The peer coach can add to range safety procedures by helping safety personnel with preliminary rifle checks.
NOTE: When a peer coach is used during M16A1live-fire exercises, a brass deflector should be attached to the rifle and eye protection should be worn.
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