Make the most out of training
During training, I see most officers wanting to practice new techniques just once or twice. This is not enough to ingrain the muscle memory you will need to use the skill months down the road. Don’t practice the skill until you can do it right. Practice the skill until you cannot do it wrong. When practicing control holds, a good rule is to do repetitions until you can perform the skill properly with your eyes closed. This way you can be certain that you have developed substantial muscle memory.
When attending a training class, show up a few minutes early and/or stay a few minutes late to get in extra repetitions or to work on skills not covered in the class. These extra few minutes every training session combined with the above practices will pay dividends over the years.
While in class, stay focused (don’t just go through the motions). Practice new skills at the most realistic level possible.
Remember: Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.
After every class, mentally review what you did and don’t let yourself forget what you learned.
Steven Benusa is currently the lead Defensive Tactics Instructor for the jail division of the La Crosse County (Wisc.) Sheriff’s Department. He has taught corrections and law enforcement officers, military and security personnel, private investigators and fugitive recovery agents.