Tactical thought – keeping it simple

“Why do you keep these tactics so simple?”

That’s a question I get sometimes by thoughtful students in my classes.

There is a moment in life where you realize that all those paths you created in that dense forest of problems in your head might not be accessible when you venture into the dark. Whether it be tactical performance, gunfighting or hand to hand combat (or really, any human endeavor), keeping the concept stupid simple and as linear as possible without compromising survivability and mission performance is crucial. Sure, it might not be such a good business model but in terms of performance too many transitions, too much manipulation and too many scripted procedures to a slew of different problems will not help and often, instead, end up hindering your performance.

Perhaps an example is necessary.

Lyons (1998) has mentioned that it is common for NASCAR and Formula One drivers to maintain a heart rate of approximately 175 beats per minute for extended periods of time. It would be fair to assume that a driver could not perform under such a high BPM value, since the higher the stress, the less deliberate we become in our actions as the higher cortex becomes less accessible. Grossman and Christensen (2008), commenting on this unusual phenomenon, point out that these drivers have few skills that they are required to perform (right turn, left turn, accelerate, brake) repeatedly at high speeds. This would explain why they are able to maintain a high level of performance under stress. This combination of constant practice along with minimal necessary responses enables these drivers to perform under high levels of stress, since they are working with a simple, restricted set of skills. Formula 1 drivers, unlike a police officers, are fully aware of what lays ahead of them in terms of what comes next, but physiologically it gives us some crucial insight to operating under stress.

Keep things simple and consistent. Less is more.

This article was written by Eli for NEWSREP