Book Review: Practical Applied Stress Training
By folding your workout routine into your firearms training, he creates a controlled environment that simulates a stressful situation at little cost
By PoliceOne Staff
It’s common practice for the majority of SWAT teams to train diligently on their firearms skills, while hitting the gym as a separate training rotation.
That’s how performance instructor for tactical LE Will Brink introduces his law-enforcement training book, Practical Applied Stress Training.
All officers should train for the “simultaneous demands on shooting proficiency, as well as anaerobic and aerobic energy systems which will greatly impact the operator’s ability to perform under pressure.”
His main goal with P.A.S.T. is to hinder your natural abilities in training so that youre experience mirrors that of the real world.
Who is Will Brink?
Brink is not a cop, but he is an avid shooter, IDPA competitor, well-known author and trainer, and has been an adjunct instructor with Smith & Wesson Training Academy. He has dedicated himself to helping those in law enforcement and military become adequately prepared.
He says that if you are not in peak physical condition, your marksmanship will go “to hell in a hand basket” when put under physical stress, no matter how well you shoot “under non-stressful conditions at the range.”
The book was not written solely for LEOs or SWAT officers, but he truthfully notes that those outside of public safety “are not generally going to face the type off dynamic conditions of SWAT operators who may have to scale a wall in full tac gear, drag a 200lb wounded person to safety, or perhaps carry a fellow operator over his shoulder … doing so under fire.”
If you have a cluttered tool shed in your backyard, you probably have half the equipment Brink recommends to get started with P.A.S.T.
Wheelbarrows, buckets, sand bags, and logs can all be found around the house or purchased “on the cheap.” His only requirement: The equipment must be “heavy and awkward.”
P.A.S.T. is “not intended to replace a PT program per se. There are various ways to integrate it into training and or PT.”
You must be cognizant of the Type-A personality commonly found in law enforcement, he says. “There’s a fine edge between productive training protocols that test the limits of an individual’s abilities and unproductive masochism.”
3 stages in the day
It starts with individual testing, then a two-man competition (which motivates operators by pitting them against one another) and then a full-team portion (which is good for cooperation and team building).
“Did everyone breeze through an exercise?” he asks the reader. “If so, add full tac gear” and do it again. You can continue to add stress modifiers until shots stray from center mass or physical exercises become challenging.
To get a good idea for the kinds of exercises included in the program, here are some of the names: Life Sucks, Dr. Evil Special, Whole Body Misery, Whole Body Misery Squared.
Brink discusses ways in which score can serve as a motivator, but he prefers to avoid standardized tests and “cookie cutter” examples, favoring a flexible approach that focuses on the training and the shooting rather than the score itself.
Most of the recommended scoring involves a combination of time and shooting accuracy. You can often let one participant set “par” for the exercise, putting pressure on other participants to surpass that initial score.
It “gets in their heads and gets them focused faster,” he says.
Brink’s program is not the first of its kind, but it has unique value. He lays out a simple, cheap, and effective brand of training that does its best to mimic real-world situations.
By folding your workout routine into your firearms training, he creates a controlled environment that simulates a stressful situation at little cost or effort.
Videos for how to set up the stages are posted on OptimalSWAT.com. Check them out and see if you or your department could benefit from P.A.S.T.