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Best Practices for Introducing Stress in Beginner-Level Training

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

Let’s talk about stress. As a layman, learning a new skill such as firearms, should stress be introduced? Well, that depends on the type of stressor.

If you’ve ever taken or are planning on taking a beginner handgun class from an instructor who believes they need to yell at you and give you the bootcamp experience, run. Run in the other direction as fast as you can.

Boot camps and police academies have the luxury of having a trainee every day for three to six months so they can “break you down to build you back up.” (Sometimes the building you up is missing.)

If you are taking a one or two day beginner ANYTHING class and the instructor is really trying to instill a true understanding of the subject matter, there is no time to include the “break you down” type of stress. Students will become guarded and shut down to any modicum of good information being introduced.

Once the foundation has been laid, it’s appropriate to introduce the “build you up” kind of stress. Timed drills, quizzes, healthy competition to show students they are capable and to push their performance.

Scott Jedlinski of Modern Samurai Project approaches firearms classes in the same way a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Professor would approach a BJJ Seminar.

1. Explain what students are going to do and see, and how to do it.

2. Show them what they are going to do and see at different speeds, slow, medium, and full speed, if you will.

3. Allow the students to do and experience while coaches give individual feedback.

4. Introduce “build you up” stress in the form of a shot timer and class competition.

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