In this article I’m going to approach a topic that crossed the boundaries of all training or goal setting.  It’s a topic that I’ve struggled with as an instructor in the Army as most of the Army’s training is centered on outcome based training and you’ll see that I prefer the performance-oriented side of the house. 

Chad Ray in combat uniform and tactical eyewear giving a thumbs up

Pictured Above, Contributor Chad Ray.

So what is “outcome based training”?  Simply put, it’s when you focus on the end goal.  For example, you may want to achieve expert by getting 38 out of 40 hits on the Army rifle marksmanship qualification.  Another example may be that you want to be able to do 50 pushups. 

 Now for “performance based training”.  In performance based training you can still have an end goal you want to achieve, but your focus is the process.  You work more on the small goals and the steps you need to take in order to get there.  When training for performance, you should forget about the end goal.  You’ll get there, but again your focus is on the process. 

two soldiers crouching and laying on rocky ground training at a target

 So what’s my issue with this?  Not always, but often people lean too much towards the end goal or outcome and don’t focus enough on the process/progress.  Another way of saying that would be, people don’t focus enough on the performance. 

In my experience, when you get someone to focus on the process and not worry about the outcome, they perform better.  They’ll often achieve their goal quickly and with less stress.  Patrick McNamara of TMACS Inc and Combat Strength Training often talks about performance versus outcome based training and he and I share the same opinion.  I’m bringing this up because I like the way he words this explanation, “when you consider the outcome, it sabotages your ability to perform”.  He also says, “the probability of achieving the outcome you desire will increase once you let go of the need to have it.”  Pat and I share the same brain in regards to this topic, I just wanted to give him credit for that wording.  It’s a great way of explaining the topic. 

man training in the gym squatting with heavy weights

So how do I apply this for the “American Warrior”?  Let’s say you’re working on your handgun draw from concealment.  A common standard I find today is people wanting to be around or under one second from beep to shot.  If you’re focused on the outcome you may just draw and shoot continuously until you reach that goal or give up.  However, if you focus on your performance and work your fundamentals without staring at the timer and stressing over it, you may find you get there in a better and more efficient manner. 

two men training in tactical gear and aiming a firearm toward their left

Next time you find yourself setting goals for things like your marksmanship training or fitness, consider going about it from a performance standpoint versus focusing on the outcome. 

soldiers standing in front of humvee with American flag held up between them


TD Blog Contributor