A while back, Australian SAS operator and medical doctor Dan Pronk shared his insights and experiences on SOFREP regarding the importance of reality-based training in developing skills and optimizing performance. What follows are his insights: 

In any profession, the ability to perform tasks and respond effectively to challenging situations is directly linked to the quality of training one receives. Whether in the medical field, law enforcement, or the military, the concept of “train as you’re going to fight” has long been touted as a fundamental principle for preparing individuals to excel under pressure. This approach takes on even greater significance for special operations combat medics, as the ability to save lives in high-stress combat-trauma environments is absolutely critical. The method employed to achieve the highest level of skill acquisition in such scenarios is known as reality-based training (RBT), and it has proven to be an invaluable tool in optimizing performance.

The Power of Repetitive and Realistic Training

The notion that repetitive and realistic training is essential for optimal skill performance is not a new revelation. As far back as the mid-600s B.C.E., the Greek lyrical poet Archilochos emphasized the significance of training in determining one’s level of competence. The oft-repeated proverb, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training,” also underscores the importance of rigorous and practical preparation.