Tactical Flexibility

In a truly dynamic situation, there is rarely a perfect answer. Perfection is nice as a goal, but if you get so wrapped around the axle of being perfect you are going to fall hard.

I choose to look at things in the tactical world as; optimal, workable and suboptimal. There are the solutions that are optical given your skills, team and situation. This is the closet thing to perfect, but still has wiggle room. Workable is kind of like the square peg in the round hole, use a big enough hammer and it will work. Suboptimal is sometimes code for wrong. There are times when you might get it to work in training, but it has sketchy written all over.

A key skill you need to develop aside from the laundry basket of other skills; is flexibility. You need to have some flex in order to make things work smoothly at times. This takes a very high level of awareness. A higher order understanding of your tactics, the ability adapt your tactics when necessary and a big one the communication skills to make it happen when things are side ways.

In this last tactics class we had some unique problems, problems the class saw for all three days and it wasn’t until they could achieve that level of flex they could solve the problem smoothly. I love watching a group take their skills and apply them effectively when there is no clear cut solution or when the problem really doesn’t fall into a single category. You really have to have “A” game going on in those times.

How do you achieve that flexibility? It starts by understanding your tactics inside and out, when they are at their best and when they are at their worse. Then a big thing is being able to read the terrain. That can be the most difficult one to do well, taking what’s in front of you and being able to recognize it as maybe a long wall, corner or hallway.

Most good tactics can transcend between internal and external scenarios. I find it incredibly valuable when the individual can see the problem for what it is, maybe a long wall, corner or hallway. We had a great teaching point during one of the runs where the team was having a hard time dealing with a particularly tough problem. Multiple angles, danger areas and oddities. We took about ten minutes to dirt dive some of the various scenarios, both good and bad as a way to self evaluate. If we use this, then we expose ourselves here kind of thing. Once I was able to communicate this particular problem was very similar to problem one might see in an L-shaped room it made a hell of lot more sense to them. They just couldn’t see it at first, they were too bogged down with the fact they were outside. We backed them up and had them take another shot a it and smooth was the best way to describe their movement.

Not everything fits into a perfect box, you have to accept that at some point. In the beginning we work hard to make sure folks have an intimate understanding of the tactics, then you have to let go and let the situation dictate.