This article was originally written for PoliceOne.com.
I get asked quite frequently about how to train, what training drills should be done, and how to increase performance in specific areas. It seems that everybody wants to improve something and is looking for things to “add to the toolbox.” However, knowing something and being able to do it at a high level are two separate things.
Collecting information is easy. It is also passive. Processing and applying that information in an active way to increase performance is quite a bit harder. It requires effort on every level to be successful.
High performance is no accident. It is the result of focused effort, attention, practice, and commitment. Here are some of my guidelines for peak performance training that I share with my students who want to be the best they can be.
Make performance a priority. If you don’t have a burning passion for improvement, you probably don’t have enough fire. Talk to and surround yourself with others involved with the activity and immerse yourself in the world of performance you seek to attain.
Write them down. Goals need to be short term, intermediate, and long term. Sounds simple but the reality is that most people fail to sets goals correctly.
Where are you now? Write it down. Re-test frequently to measure performance increases.
While mental conditioning and visualization training are part of a balanced training program, maximum skill is derived from actually doing the movements, both dry fire and live fire. Growing the skill and myelination of the nerve pathways require actually doing the activities associated with the performance you are training on a very frequent basis. This is done on a long term basis if you want high performance you can count on.
I require a lot from my peak performance students. It is demanding, mentally fatiguing, and requires the utmost attention but it brings the greatest results per hour spent.
Stop simply collecting tidbits of training information and filing it away. It’s just a bag of parts. Without a set of building plans, it is hard to incorporate them into a coherent system.
Self-validation in the safety of your home range doesn’t cut it. Seek out worthy challenges that are healthy and give you a sense of comparison. These can be formal or informal.
Mistakes are part of the learning process. You will be working to correct them as you go.
If you cannot monitor and process what is happening as it is happening, then you are in Condition OWAC (Operating Without A Clue). This can lead to mistakes being ingrained that become more difficult to correct over time.
You can try to train on your own but a mentor is invaluable. A good coach knows how to teach the skills at a very high level. Great performers are not necessarily good coaches so shop carefully.
Following these guidelines is the best approach I know to achieve high performance. Make them a part of your life and they will become a part of your identity. Stay away from negative people with negative comments–there will always be cynical grumblers with excuses for why they don’t train like they should. Stay positive, stay focused, and stay the course. The journey is worth the effort!
-Ron Avery, Co-Founder