Are you Violating Key Training Program Principles?

Taken from Your Competition Handgun Training Program and the USPSA Mastery Program 

In order for this or any program to be effective, it must follow certain principles.  Are you violating any of these key principles?

  • Training drills must be designed correctly.  This is the first validation of your program.  It couldn’t be more simple, but this is often the area that I see wrong with most programs/drills that I have come across during my career.  The learning goals must be thought out and defined and then applied throughout the drills that are used.  Even programs developed with the best intent will be problematic if you don’t pay attention to design.  There are two key things that correctly designed training drills must do:
    • Skills developed must be applicable with the key factors desired (environment, gear, dynamics).
  • Skills developed must replicate the actual key skills needed.  (This is an area that some really good athletes/operators argue about because everyone has a slightly different idea about what techniques and tactics will be “needed.”)
  • Training repetitions must be executed perfectly.  Once training drills are developed so that they produce the two desired results listed above, they are designed correctly.  This is not enough, though, for now you must ensure that you do each repetition perfectly in order to ingrain the correct skills.  If the training repetitions are done wrong, this will build subconscious skill programs that are wrong, and you will get the wrong result when you try to perform the skill you’ve trained (usually this happens when you’re under pressure).   This principle is simple and is a key component to success in your training program.
  • Training sessions must be done at regular intervals. In order to develop skill (which is the purpose of your training program), the brain and neuromuscular system must be exposed to developmental sessions on a regular basis.  How often is debated, and will generally depend on the goal.  But across the board almost all of the experts agree that development must take place a minimum of two times every week or more during the initial learning phase, and then one time per week to maintain skill. 
  • Training sessions must be documented.  In order to reflect on the program’s success or failures, training sessions must be documented.  Key metrics should be written down for future reference.   You will use this data to modify the program as you go.   Measurement is only possible if documentation is done. (See next principle)
  • Skills and abilities developed must be measured.  Simply “feeling” that you are improving is a dead end road.  Take the time to measure your skills on a regular basis.  Someone once said that something that can be measured can be improved.  It’s true.   Measure your skills regularly to guide you through the program modification phase. 
  • Training results must be modified based on results (game day).   A good training program must be modified.  If not, results will stagnate and skills will remain in one place.  Therefore, you will need to reflect on your training logs and modify your program to continue your evolution.  If you have done the job of logging your metrics and key details, the answers will be there for you do find.  

Until Then – Train Hard!

Mike S.

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