Train the Way You’ll Fight

Simulate Live Action as Much As Possible

The best preparation for any rigorous struggle is to simulate it in a controlled environment as closely as possible. I share three tips to be ready when the time comes.

by the Editor Dave McKenna

During my stint in the US Army I learned the good lesson to “Train the Way You Fight”. The idea is that when the moment of maximum demand arrives, your response must be instant, certain, and effective. The only way to achieve that is to train your responses so they are instinctive.

This mentality can be applied to any area of life. The point is do not wing it. Do not leave your performance up to chance and a false confidence in your resourcefulness. The chances are that in the dire moment, every faculty and gift you possess will abandon you and your instincts will take over. So train those instincts to the performance you hope for.

Here are three steps you can use to Train-the-way-You-Fight.


First step is to anticipate the challenge. You have to have a clear understanding of the possible circumstances you will face in order to prepare. Here’s a good exercise to help gain some clarity on what that might be. There are going to be two types of scenarios to consider; those common and recurring demands, and then then more exceptional and unpredictable challenges. Write down every serious problem you’ve faced in the past six months on a sticky note. Then organize these sticky notes into groups by some theme that strikes you. Name the themes, and create a list of a few common aspects of each theme.

The next step is to state your Training Objectives. Refer to your themes and lists of common aspects for each. For each bullet in the list state the common aspect as in the form of positive outcome. For example, let’s say one of the themes you list is System Performance, and your common aspects are 1) slowdown during peak load, 2) big reports time out, 3) system locks up. You might translate these into training objectives like A) Create artificial load…