A tactical athlete often has a host of skill sets to maintain such as SCUBA, HALO, surveillance techniques, streetcraft, etc. But the two primary foundational elements of a tactical athlete’s repertoire are shooting and fitness. In order to work at the highest levels as a tactical athlete, you must constantly hone these two areas.

While critical to the survival of a tactical athlete, shooting should not take up 100% of the training time. As we have seen, there are some great shooters that are just plain fat! They can shoot well as long as they are done in 90 seconds, and they have their sugary drink waiting for them on ice. If they were required to go for more than a minute or two, they would be done! Once the physical aspect begins to crumble, it is only a very short time later that the technical starts to crumble as well.

The other side of the coin is that we shouldn’t focus completely on fitness to the detriment of the tactical. We all know and love the Crossfit Games athletes. They are truly some of the fittest humans on the planet. But that doesn’t mean they can shoot. Their fitness level doesn’t mean they would survive on a street in Sadr City.

So, the obvious correct solution to being a top level tactical athlete is to focus on both of these foundational elements equally. Fitness with solid shooting skills makes a man dangerous. It literally makes a man harder to kill. So, let’s talk about training on the range. It should always include a few minimums.

Once a person has achieved a level of competence, then and only then should they attempt the types of drills performed by seasoned Special Forces soldiers, SEALs, or SWAT officers. Assuming a person is safe and competent with both a pistol and a rifle, the following principles should be adhered to in training for tactical shooting.

  1. Only use static shooting drills for warm up. Every other drill should involve movement.
  2. Push the targets out farther than normal. It makes it harder. Get used to it, and shoot until you can accurately and quickly engage a target at a farther distance. When closer targets appear, it will be much easier, especially under stress.
  3. If you are going to shoot from a stationary position, the shooter should first run, move, climb, in order to elevate the heart rate, before they enter the shooters box. Following the train-hard, war-easy mindset, the harder your heart is pumping in training, the harder the shot. That makes it easier when you find yourself in combat, and your heartrate might be slightly elevated, but not quite like in training. It literally makes it easier in combat.
  4. Train in inclimate weather. You will never know your optic fogs up in the rain, for example, if you never shoot in the rain. Those $180 cool-guy glasses…….will fog up on you in the summer humidity near the equator. If you don’t train in the heat and humidity, you won’t know this until it is too late.

Fitness should be challenging. Fitness should consistently challenge you, make you a little sore, but not debilitate you. If you are so sore you couldn’t defend yourself, you pushed too hard. Fitness is an integral part of a tactical athlete’s life, and it should be planned and performed with certain principles in mind.

  1. Design your fitness program with the long-term in mind. Don’t constantly do workouts that deteriorate your joints. Running is great, but moderate that with weights so your tendons and ligaments stay tight and strong.
  2. Frequently change up the workout to keep both your muscles and your mind flexible and pliable.
  3. Try to include some physical skill in your workout. Once your heartrate reaches 140 bpm, your fine motor skills deteriorate. You should push yourself to this point purposely, but then add a fine motor skill to the workout. For example:
    1. Perform burpees until your heart is ready to explode
    2. Sprint to a work station
    3. Assemble a .50 machine gunSprint back
  1. OR
    1. Perform a sled drag for 50 meters
    2. Shoot 10 rounds on steel at 50 meters
    3. Drag the sled again 50 meters behind the firing line, drop it and sprint back
    4. Shoot 10 rounds on steel at 50 meters
    5. Sprint back and recover the sled, drag it back to the firing line
    6. Shoot 10 rounds on steel at 50 meters
    7. Continue this drill until you have shot 50 rounds on steel at 50 meters.

By focusing on these two critical areas; fitness and shooting, a tactical athlete can maintain a solid foundation on which to add all other requisite skills needed for technical and tactical proficiency. If the tactical athlete loses these two foundational elements, it is only a matter of time before the enemy whether criminal or terrorist, will exploit this weakness.

Thanks for tuning into the tacticalathletegames.com website. Stay in the fight, and remember, there is ……NO OFF SEASON!

  • Anthony Dinicolantonio
    Posted at 20:01h, 21 June Reply

    I’m a tactical athlete retired lawenforcement.

  • vurtilopmer
    Posted at 16:16h, 23 November Reply

    Perfectly written written content, Really enjoyed looking through.

  • Norbert Braegelmann
    Posted at 02:16h, 23 January Reply

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges. It was really informative. Your site is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  • Harold blye
    Posted at 02:10h, 09 June Reply

    Are there any shooting or workout drills that are recommended for training?

    • Tim Burke
      Posted at 00:48h, 14 August Reply

      Harold, we have an App available via Train Heroic. If you go to the App store on your phone, type in Train Heroic, and then search for The Tactical Games, you can sign up for daily workouts that are designed to get athletes in the shape they need to be in for The Tactical Games. Enjoy!

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