One of my favourite podcasts is Finding Mastery with Michael Gervais. Gervais is a sports psychologist who has worked with some of the top performers in the world and works very closely with Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL.
One of the things I have heard him say a number of times in his podcasts is that we can only train three things: Craft, Body and Mind.
My understanding of these three is:
- Craft is the specific skills, tactics, knowledge and abilities required for your profession.
- Body is the physical abilities necessary to perform the tasks and missions of your profession.
- Mind is the level of mental preparation, mental toughness and resilience to deal with the challenges, obstacles, highs and lows of your profession.
Think about the training programs in your agency and in your academy.
Are you teaching all three or are you just focused on one or two?
Are you teaching all three at the Academy as part of basic or preservice training and continually building on all three during inservice training?
Are your FTOs / PTOs helping new officers develop in all three areas?
Is your goal to get people to the minimum standard in these areas so they can pass the test, or is your goal to continually push them to higher and higher levels with the mission of helping them on the path to mastery and inspiring in them a desire to be great in their current profession?
Do you approach training with the belief people just want to do the minimum to get by or with the belief people want to be great at what they do and will respond when you continually raise the bar?
Is functional strength and fitness a foundational element of training the Body? Are you instilling the mindset of, “Be fit to be useful”? Or, is your fitness program based simply on “lifestyle fitness”?
Is imagery an integral part of training the Mind? Are you utilizing imagery in your training in addition to teaching your people how to be more intentional and effective in using imagery themselves?
Are you teaching breathing and weaving it into all elements of training so your officers can utilize their mind and body at the highest level while executing their craft?
Are you teaching critical thinking and decision making as elements of both Craft and Mind?
As a trainer / teacher / coach are you continually working on all three yourself or have you fallen into the trap of just going through the motions in one or all of these areas?
From what I have seen around North America every Academy teaches Craft and Body to some extent. Some do a better job than others. Few however, actually train the Mind. A lot of training pays lip service to the importance of mental preparation and condition, not every agency and Academy actually trains it.
Once people leave the Academy too few agencies put an emphasis on continually training the Body and few incorporate training the Mind into inservice?
All three of these are critical areas if we want our people to be highly confident and competent professionals who are capable of performing at the highest levels in any situation. You need to have a hard look at your programs and ask yourself, “Do we actually train these three areas?” When I say “train these areas” I am not referring to a one time 2 hour block in the syllabus where you talk about these issues, I am talking about actually training these areas.
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