If you are running any type of scenario based training then you are using role players in some capacity. Role players add a sense of realism to scenarios and can make or break your scenarios. If the scenarios are properly crafted however, then the role players will lose every scenario. A question that comes up during my Excellence in Training seminars and courses is, “Are we setting our role players up to lose on the street?”. Great question, and a distinct possibility if you are not taking steps to ensure their success.
Here are five keys to ensuring you set you role players up for success when they step away from playing the role of the subject in your scenarios and go back to their real job as law enforcement professionals:
- Select good people. This may sound obvious but sometimes demand for bodies wins out over quality of selection, or trainers mistakenly believe that anyone can be a role player. You need to ensure you select people who are tactically sound, have a good foundational skill level, have credibility in the organization and are strong mentally.
- Train them before you use them. Make sure you train your role players in how best to perform that role. They should understand the learning objectives behind the scenarios, what latitude they have depending on the officers actions, and their role in the debriefing. During the training course you can build their skills and put them through the scenarios as officers, subjects and instructors.
- Brief them at the start of the day. In the briefing remind them that they are there for the officers and their job is to enhance the competence and confidence of the scenario participants. Also reinforce they are going to be “playing a role”. They need to step into the role of the subject at the start of the day and step out of it at the end of the day. They can even create an alter ego or assume a ‘stage name’ when they play a role so they understand it is that character who is losing, not them. After each scenario they can run a ‘when / then’ exercise in their head to go over what they would most like to have done as an officer to win the scenario.
- Debrief them at the end of the day. Get feedback from them as to what they believe could be done to enhance the scenarios and the learning experience for the officers. Have them imagine stepping out of the role of the subject they played all day and back into their role as an officer. As they do that have them imagine the powerful sense of calm, focus, control and confidence they feel knowing they have the skills, abilities and mindset to be successful as an officer in every situation.Have them feel good about the fact they helped brother and sister officers stay safe because of the role they played.
- Give them additional training. Make sure you do additional scenario work or imagery with them where they are back in their real life role as law enforcement professionals.
Great role players will help make your training great and will enhance the learning experience for your officers. You must make sure you are taking care of your role players physically and mentally and that you always send them away from training conditioned to win as law enforcement professionals.
Winning Mind Training – Inspiring excellence in training and through training.
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