It may come as no surprise to some of our readers that tactical training is more than something you get as a member of law enforcement or if you take a special self defense class. In fact, in some cases tactical training in sports is a great way to acquire skills that could help you out tactically later on in life, but you didn’t even realize that you were getting this type of training, because you were just training for a particular sport. While not all sports offer this bonus, we will highlight the ones that do and how they benefit you tactically.

Tactical training in sports is a bonus side of the sport or activity that you are participating in that can help in a variety of different ways. Tactical training can teach patience, self-defense, and other safety factors, all the while encouraging you to be able to act and think tactically in different situations.

  • Karate. This is one of the activities where tactical training is most obviously included in the training. While there are many different varieties out there, the basics behind this remain the same. Classes will discuss discipline, respect, sparring, self-defense, memorization, as well as flexibility and technique. To move up a belt level, you must complete a test that, in some cases, consists of a physical portion where you perform a routine in front of judges, as well as spar with a judge, and then complete a verbal portion as well, where you are required to respectfully answer questions about karate and the history and the yin and yang. Of course, what is asked depends entirely on the teacher, the area, and the form of karate practiced. Most places also feature self-defense classes which often touch on how to safely disarm someone with a knife or gun who tries to attack or rob you. While this training is separate from tactical-specific training, it can certainly help you to be more prepared to face a variety of obstacles in the future, and be able to think clearly and tactically in the face of a dangerous situation. All of this is not even considering the physical aspects that come from sparring with others, as well as learning proper ways to kick, punch, as well as different ways to move your body in unsafe situations.
  • Football. There are definitely tactical factors when it comes to football. Players go in after being physically challenged and working to hit their peak, and when they go in, they are prepared with different strategies for winning the game. They don’t know the different strategies that their opponents have created, so they will have to think fast, react to the situation on the field, and be able to focus and drown out the sound of the crowd to focus on the task at hand, winning the game. This sport teaches discipline, focus, strategy, planning, speed, agility, and more.
  • Tennis. You may not think this would make the list, but tennis is one of those sports that has a great opportunity for change in the middle of it, which means a player must think tactically. Oftentimes, for tennis players, they are ranked a certain way, and they play other players in the same ranking. In some cases however, due to an injury or illness, that may change, and your opponent may change as quickly as 5 minutes before your match was supposed to begin. This means that you have to adjust for a completely unknown situation, while the outcome remains the same, win. This new player may have a completely different stance and form while playing, which the tennis player will have to adjust to in the middle of the match, much like one may have to do on a tactical mission. Not only that, but in tennis, you are taught endurance. Most tennis players are rarely standing still, even when they are waiting for a return, they are constantly shifting their weight, making slight adjustments, beginning to run for a short bounce, because they are anticipating what will happen next. This endurance needs to last hours, as certain matches can go on for that long, just like missions can be extended due to unforeseen circumstances.

While these are by no means all of the sports that come with a case of tactical training, they are great examples of it. Many sports offer some form of tactical training in the fact that there is conditioning that all athletes must go through before the season begins. From there, the real training and practice begins, and in order to stay on top of their game, an athlete needs to practice daily, even during the off season, otherwise they won’t improve. This dedication required is not unlike that of a commitment to law enforcement or the military, though the stakes are undoubtedly higher in those situations. However, to be the best, there is a certain level of work that must be put in to anything. Tactical training in sports may differ a bit from tactical training in LEO or military, however, there are similarities, and even if you choose to remain a civilian, this tactical training can be helpful in many areas of life.