Permission to Fail

Permission to Fail

Posted by Matt Little on 7th Jun 2022

“Show me a guy who's afraid to look bad, and I'll show you a guy you can beat every time.” - Lou Brock 

One of the biggest flaws I see in institutional training, both military and police, is a zero-defect mentality. This idea that we can never miss, even in training. I understand where it comes from. It’s rooted in the doctrine, fundamental to our professional culture, that we are accountable for every round fired and cannot afford collateral damage. And this doctrine is valid, when it comes to the application of our skill. The problem is that, except when testing skill, carrying over that doctrine to the training environment will prevent us from ever reaching our potential.

To improve, we have to push ourselves to the failure point when developing skill. This is especially true when developing speed in our shooting. No one ever became truly fast without training at a pace where they couldn’t guarantee success. One of the cliches of institutional firearms training is the admonition to “slow down and get your hits.” The problem with this is that when you slow down you are no longer challenging your skill. You don’t get truly good at anything by staying in your comfort zone.

Instead of “slowing down to get your hits,” maintain that challenging pace and learn to make your hits without backing off the speed. Continue that process, and in short order you will drastically improve your performance. You’ll make a lot of mistakes along the way, but the point of training is to get better, not to feel good about your current level of skill.