One of the topics that continually comes up with physical skills instructors during discussions around in-service training is the frustration that every year when officers come for training you have to start at ‘Square 1″. Trainers are often frustrated by the fact that we believe officers spend little or no time throughout the year practicing their physical skills. As a result as trainers we often feel they need to start at Square 1 with officers when they show up for training.
Trainers are also frustrated by the fact that in-service officers come with ‘an attitude’ to mandated training. The reality is that trainers also very often show up with an ‘attitude’ at in-service training. Now we justify our attitude by blaming the officers attitudes however, two groups in the same room with attitudes will very rarely ever result in a quality training session.
Some questions we need to ask ourselves as trainers:
- Do we continually train our skills and tactics throughout the year, or do we assume because we teach that we do not need to train?
- Do we train and practice our teaching and instructional skills throughout the year? Do we attend conferences and read material that will help us to become better instructors or just courses that help us become better practitioners?
- Do officers show up to in-service training with an attitude because of previous experience? Is it the same drills in the same sequence every year, or is training fresh each session? have they been embarrassed, belittled, or demeaned during a previous training session?
Five tips for trainers:
- Drop our attitude of expected resistance and show up with an attitude that we are going to make the training day a fun, challenging, learning experience for everyone.
- Instead of starting at Square 1, start at Square 5 or 6. The officers may just surprise us and do very well at that level and beyond. If they do happen to falter at that level then simply drop back one or two levels, refresh the skill they need then move forward.
- Reward the officers for their experience and problem solving abilities rather than punishing them for their perceived lack of commitment to training.
- Acknowledge the officers may have had bad experiences in the past (I know I have) but that you are working to change that and make training fun and rewarding. Let them know you need their participation and feedback to make that happen.
- Focus on principles, concepts and problem solving rather than simply on technique.
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