Every where we look today we see people talking about how we need to reduce the amounts of stress in our lives. The benefits are generally detailed as doing so permits us to live longer and happier lives. While that may be true; I offer that there are times when we need to UP the amount of stress in our lives. Well; in our training lives anyways.
The addition of stress, in the training environment, is a good thing for you regardless of the discipline you are training in. Stress has a tendency to bring out the areas that you are weak in and gives you an opportunity to see what does and does not work. It is not uncommon for us to see students in class that are doing well all day and the moment we add some stress to them, a forceful yell usually works, they tend to fall apart and tons of bad habits resurface. So if stress is a good thing; how and when should we incorporate it?
How to incorporate stress is actually pretty easy. Let’s take a look at several ways:
Competition – now this is an extremely broad method but that’s why it is an easy method of adding stress. If you are out on the range with your friends shooting; see who can perform a certain drill perfectly and with the best time. In a class, if the instructor isn’t stressing you enough, try to shoot better than the student to your left and right. Just make sure that you are doing the drills correctly. Finally, if you have the opportunity, go out and shoot in some local matches (such as IDPA or USPSA). A match will add all kinds of stress to you and is loads of fun too.
Timer – For shooters; the shot timer is the bane of their existence. It can be simple to clean a particular drill all day long as you are able to take your time doing it. When the timer comes out and you’re forced to work on someone else’s timeline things can become problematic. For shooters this means completed a given task in a short amount of time while for defensive tactics training it can mean staying in the fight for an extended period of time.
Regardless of how you add stress; strive to perform the tasks flawlessly. Only through flawless performance can we assure ourselves of progress in our training.
Now let’s look at when we should add stress. While stress is a needed tool to aid in our development, we can’t use it all the time. A solid understanding of a given task must be established prior to adding stress. For example; you don’t want to time your clearing of a double feed if you don’t fully understanding everything involved with clearing the malfunction. Once a baseline has been established; incorporate some stress into each of your training sessions. If you spend a hour on the range; devote 15 minutes of that time to some stress-inducing event(s). Maybe once a month you can greatly increase the stress, but only do so for a single training session or you may start to impair your progress.
So that’s it for today guys. Now go out, add some stress to your training, and reap the benefits.