Consider adding mental imagery to your training. I and some others have known this for a long time as visualization. It’s not a new concept but it is effective. It’s been used by athletes of all kinds, utilized in the shooting sports, and in the martial arts. A resent study in the Netherlands shows that mental imagery (visualization) has positive effects on law enforcement officer’s performance in critical and high-threat situations. During the study they found that law enforcement officers performed better after practicing mental imagery prior to a training scenario than those who did not. It also showed improvements in accuracy during critical incidents when using marker rounds during simulated gunfights. This is interesting because in a real gunfights hit rates can drop to a 15-50% hit rate. This includes officers who qualification scores are at 90% and above. Part of the reason for reduced hit rates is “anxiety”. Mental imagery can have a positive affect on anxiety levels as well and can help you maintain motor skills that will diminish in a real life or death situation. Maintaining motor skills is what improves accuracy. Sight alignment, trigger control, grip, shooting position all require motor skills. Some fine, some gross. When mental imagery (visualization) realistically depicts events as in the real world it improves your performance level on many plains. The study used officers from up and down the age scale and all experience levels. Mental imagery works even though studies have been few they are really taking a much closer look at it. I look for more studies in the future. Mental imagery allows you to walk and work through scenarios and possible responses. In the end I think it makes responses quicker and you become more adaptive to the situation and stimulus that caused you to act. Also allowing responses to more plausible events that may occur and that may require you to act defensively. Mental Imagery, physical training, and repetitive practice creates the neural networks (both mental and muscle memories) that will allow you to maintain mental toughness and motor skill control. So, in that mental scenario. Do you interfere? Do you need to act? Is it a good time to just be a good witness and let law enforcement catch the bad guy? How many responses? What responses have what possible affect on the attacker?
Mental Imagery (Visualization) in Training
22 Sunday Dec 2013