The Six Principles of Effective Training
In order for a training program to be effective, it must follow certain principles. Failure to contain or follow even one of these principles will render a program ineffective. Although I have provided a program for you in this program, by the end of it you should thoroughly understand how to develop your own program. Validate your program by comparing it against these principles on a regular basis.
1) Training Drills Must Be Designed Correctly
This is the first validation of your program. It could not be simpler, but this is often the area that I see wrong with most programs and/or drills that I have come across during my career. The learning goals must be thought out and clearly defined, and then applied throughout the drills.
Even programs developed with the best intent will be prolematic if you don't pay attention to design. I will expand on this in the "Training Design Cycle" section. The two key areas you should validate in the design of your program are:
a. Skills developed must be compatible with the key factors involved: Environment, Gear, and Dynamics. This means that you must ensure that you are developing skills that correlate with the circumstances you might need them. For example, if you lived in an extremely cold climate, and spent your training time in an indoor range, you may never learn what it is like to shoot with gloves on, yet you likely wear them everyday.
b. Skills developed must replicate the actual key skills needed. I feely admit that this is an area that some really good shooters/operators argue about, because everyone has a slightly different idea about techniques and tactics.
2) Training Repetitions Must Be Executed Perfectly
This principle is simple, and is a key component to success. Repetitions must be done as correctly as possible or the skills developed will be wrong and under duress the skill developed will not give the result desired.
3) Training Sessions Must Be Done At Regular Intervals
In order to develop skill (purpose of training), the brain and neuromuscular system must be exposed to developmental sessions on a regular basis. How often is very much debated. It will generally depend on one's goal.
But across the board almost all of the experts agree that development must take place a minimum of two times every week during the initial learning phase.
In order to maintain a skill only one time per week may be necessary.
4) Training Sessions Must Be Documented
In order to monitor the program's success, training programs must be documented. Key metrics should be written down for future reference, and you will use this data to modify the program as you go.
5) Skills And Abilities Developed Must Be Measured
Simply "feeling" that you are improving is unproductive. Take the time to record and measure your skills on are regular basis. Someone once said, "if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it."
Measure your skills regularly to guide you through the program modification phase. Measurement may consist of time facors or accuracy factors or a combination of both with a keen awareness that tactical procedures are followed.
6) The Program 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. Unless you desire this, you will need to reflect on you training logs and modify your program to continue your development.
Parts That Make Up An Effective Training Program
A full training program has multiple parts. Each has a purpose in keeping your training organized and executable.
I will develop some parts of your program in this program, such as the drills, schedule, phases, etc. You should do the others. Your yearly plan and monthly training matrix must be planned and built by you as only you know your schedule.
Let me introduce you to the parts of a full program:
This document (you could build a written document or use a calendar) give you the big picture. It includes the entire yearly training sessions and events you plan to attend. It doesn't really matter if you are working toward a competitive goal or a combative goal; it is good to have a document so you can view the entire year.
Normally, I recommend that you do training in cycles, specializing on one skill area or weapon type at a time, with support training done for the other skills or weapon systems.
Your goals will dictate how your year is broken down.
Since you are interested in honing your defensive handgun skills, that will probably be your focus, but an example of honing that skill through a training cycle (8-12 weeks), and maintaining another might be found in someone who is in the military and needs to keep their skills sharp with a rifle or other weapon systems at the same time.
This document is built to give you an overview of the training sessions you will do weekly. It gives a generic look at what type of training you will execute. Additionally, your matrix documents the frequency and duration of each training sessions.
We all have busy lives and many of us have multiple training priorities. A monthly training matrix will help those that have numerous skills to maintain or develop stay organized and ensure they address ALL of their skill needs through the use of a dedicated planning and scheduling tool.
If you are in a line of work that requires you to keep multiples skills honed, then laying out your monthly training blocks in some sort of matrix like this is a must.
The training program in this book will provide your daily plan. After you complete the program, ensure you continue to have some sort of daily training plan for your sessions.
A daily training plan is just as simple as it sounds. It is a written plan that guides you through your training session. It should contain all the details about what you plan to do in that particular session, except the intimate details of each drill. That specific material is found on the drill sheets.
If you plan your training in advance, you can type your training plans up and take notes, modifying them as necessary.
Drill sheets include everything you would need to know about the drill, including purpose, target setup, round count, recommended repetitions, measurement metrics, visual cues, key points and drill details (what to do when performing). The drill sheets for the program in this book are in chapter 9 and include both live fire and dry fire drills.
The main thing to remember about the training drills is that they are each designed to allow you to work on key areas of skill, sort of like developing pieces of a puzzle. Then when you need to finally put any give puzzle together (lethal encounter), you can simply plug them in where necessary.
The name is self-explanatory. You will need to track your training performance so you know if you are improving, how fast, and what you need to do to shift course (I will discuss the training design cycle in another chapter in the program).
I use a training logbook to document my sessions with pre-formatted sheets. Each one is designed so I can easily document the session and how I performed. The sheets are also carefully designed to make sure that I document the things that I need to analyze my training and judge my results.
I did not document the numbers in the past like I do now, and I regret that DEEPLY. The data I did not write down and overlooked may very well have taken me to new levels along the way.
Don't make the same mistake I did, and start documenting your progress today! Click the Yellow "YES" Button below to get the most complete defensive handgun training program on the market from one of the most reputable firearms instructors in the industry!
Until Then - Train Hard!