Skill Fade

#1
I've noticed that since completing my basic training this summer, my drills have gone to sh*t. Partly because of Mr Brown's inspired use of public money, I've only handled a rifle twice since August. When I completed CIC my skills and drills were quite good, I was confident patrolling and generally administering myself.

Now however, with FTX's coming up I'm worried that I'll look like a tw*t in front of my Company. I'd really rather avoid this. Is there any tips anyone can give as to how to combat skill fade? Any resources that you could point me in the direction of? Any help would be much appreciated!
 
#2
Don't worry, I am sure you will be given the refresher training that you need.

msr
 
#3
Get a qualified NCO to run you through a WHT. Ideally, even though you have completed CIC, you should still do this every couple of months. Not easy when there is only one or two drill-nights a month, but then again it only take a few mins.
Ref patrolling and admin etc, I am sure you will pick it up again...
 
#4
I must be getting old. The query on skill fade doesn't worry me but the suggestion to do WHT does. Have standards dropped that low?
 
#5
Polar: The fact I haven't really had much time with a rifle is down to the fact that we've only recently got a qualified instructor. I don't think my situation is indicative of the rest of the TA.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#6
polar said:
I must be getting old. The query on skill fade doesn't worry me but the suggestion to do WHT does. Have standards dropped that low?
Or have standards been raised that far? The OP has raised genuine concerns, and has the honesty and courage to admit his skill fade and seek advice on how to remedy it. Good for him.

The advice to get someone to run him through WHTs is spot on. It will ensure that he is safe to handle a weapon, test him on the required aspects of safety and stoppage drills and hopefully give him a little bit of confidence before he goes on exercise. He then only has to worry about fieldcraft rather than fieldcraft and weapon handling.

The assumption of capability is a problem across the whole of the army, but especially the TA. The "too cool for school" crowd who believe that basic weapon handling, fieldcraft or trade skills are beneath them, and want to leap forward to the more exciting stuff are often the ones who drop themselves deepest in it by cocking up on the basics.
 
#7
If anything their was a touch of arrogance on my part and I was curious to see WHT and CIC mentioned in the same post. I suspect Duke, you do the same as I and attend WHT test to be seen to be doing so (and I do notice who doesn't).

I agree with it but I do have a suspicion it's been born from faults noticed with a few capbadges and applied accross the board. I can't help my views, I have a strong desire towards progressive training and raising the bar.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#8
polar said:
If anything their was a touch of arrogance on my part and I was curious to see WHT and CIC mentioned in the same post. I suspect Duke, you do the same as I and attend WHT test to be seen to be doing so (and I do notice who doesn't).

I agree with it but I do have a suspicion it's been born from faults noticed with a few capbadges and applied accross the board. I can't help my views, I have a strong desire towards progressive training and raising the bar.
The bar can only be raised so far with the training time and budget available. Better to concentrate on getting the basics right, running before walking etc. We run the risk of abseiling towards the balcony but not being able to do the magazine changes, just because the abseiling is fun and ally, and the mag change drills are mundane and routine - so we avoid them.
 
#9
The_Duke said:
polar said:
I must be getting old. The query on skill fade doesn't worry me but the suggestion to do WHT does. Have standards dropped that low?
Or have standards been raised that far? The OP has raised genuine concerns, and has the honesty and courage to admit his skill fade and seek advice on how to remedy it. Good for him.

The advice to get someone to run him through WHTs is spot on. It will ensure that he is safe to handle a weapon, test him on the required aspects of safety and stoppage drills and hopefully give him a little bit of confidence before he goes on exercise. He then only has to worry about fieldcraft rather than fieldcraft and weapon handling.

The assumption of capability is a problem across the whole of the army, but especially the TA. The "too cool for school" crowd who believe that basic weapon handling, fieldcraft or trade skills are beneath them, and want to leap forward to the more exciting stuff are often the ones who drop themselves deepest in it by cocking up on the basics.
My concern is that its getting increasingly difficult to get people with the right quals. The "skillies" kick up stink that they are the only folk allowed to test - Fine so far - but also that non qual folk can't teach. I fully "get" the bit about teaching poor drills - but getting even Regular soldiers on the SAA course is not easy. The same goes for a wide range of other courses - I tried for 3 years in a previous post to get folk a particular basic AT qual without success, in this post one of my Instructors has been waiting 18 months for an SAA course "Priority too low".

I suppose the point of my rant is that its fine to have a nice high bar for qualifications - but we need to make sure that there are enough courses and enough places to enable people to get the qual in the first place !
 
H

Hedphelym

Guest
#12
I completely sympathise with your situation, Rawr.
I'm in a similar situation, about to get on a APWT/ACMT/Whatever-it's-called-this-week weekend, and I haven't fired a live round since my CIC almost a year ago. It's going to be interesting to see how I get on, at least.

My coy did an APWT weekend a couple of weeks back, which I couldn't attend. And - bearing in mind this is an Inf unit - I believe two people from the whole Coy passed. My instinct is to give my shake of the head to the training program. Important infantry skills like live-firing are skills that surely should be put into practice on a regular basis, not left to rot for a year. The results speak for themselves.

The lack of confidence on my part runs the risk of affecting any training that comes up, and it's certainly making me lose confidence about wanting to deploy. However keen I am to get on an operational tour, I don't want to rock up to either Chilwel or a regular unit feeling rusty.
The_Duke made a good couple of points when he brought up the "Too cool for school" crowd and the ally/mundane training, I certianly see that where I am.

Rawr, I think you'd be pleasantly surprised how much is in the box when it comes to it, though. And asking for a bit of refresher training from someone at your unit is the best thing you can do.
 
#13
Given a new version of AOSP was released in January 2010 I expect a lot of additional training will be required to get people through WHT's - the stoppage drills part has been beefed up considerably... remedial training will be required across the board.
 
#14
Rawr said:
Now however, with FTX's coming up I'm worried that I'll look like a tw*t in front of my Company. I'd really rather avoid this. Is there any tips anyone can give as to how to combat skill fade? Any resources that you could point me in the direction of? Any help would be much appreciated!
There there young sir, every young officer has this fear. It's perfectly rational and, because it's perfectly true, you shouldn't worry about it too much. It's expected.
 
#15
Thanks for the reassurance, hopefully I'll be able to get a bit more weapons handling in before any FTX's, as for the fieldcraft I intend to blame it on Gordon as much as possible.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#16
polar said:
Duke, I think we're talking on cross 'capbadges'
I know we are different cap badges, but I suggest that the issue remains the same.

It is a real command issue- take the popular route of doing all of the fun/advanced stuff, and accept that certain key skills will fade (shooting is a nice to have... :oops: ) and we may leave soldiers behind or rush them through faster than they should be...or...

enforce the training of the key base skills which are essential to the job, and accept that it will not always be possible to progress to the stuff that we would really like to be doing.

I would like to be doing demanding live firing on a regular basis, integrating the MMG and Mor Pls for fire support. I accept that I have to keep working on the basics of range work and lower level skills as these are the things that are within my control, and will provide a sound foundation to be built on during MST.
 

Command_doh

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
I think people are making a bit more of this than it really is. Most of us who have been in for more than 5 minutes can reel off exactly what we need to do when needed, and if you are not a complete tool you can get back up to scratch in no time. I have lost count of the times when people who should really know better have been found wanting on attachments, EX or on Op's, and that was when training was regular as clockwork. If the sh*t hits the fan, people get 'production - lined' through crash courses and then get their collective arrses kicked to the places that need them. In many ways its sink or swim - we've had people who had 1.5 months pre-deployment training bin it after being sent out 'there' because they either didn't want to do it or couldn't hack it.

At the end of the day, there is no cash, there will be no more cash, and I won't be surprised if a lot of people are delivered an ultimatum come the next tax year. 'The Stabs' has changed - we are not a fcuk about drinking club anymore, and far too many pie masters are coming in week after week, doing fcuk all and counting their beer tokens whilst steadfastly refusing to deploy. Things will change - they simply cannot afford the T.A. in its current model.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#18
Command_doh said:
I think people are making a bit more of this than it really is. Most of us who have been in for more than 5 minutes can reel off exactly what we need to do when needed, and if you are not a complete tool you can get back up to scratch in no time. I have lost count of the times when people who should really know better have been found wanting on attachments, EX or on Op's, and that was when training was regular as clockwork. If the sh*t hits the fan, people get 'production - lined' through crash courses and then get their collective arrses kicked to the places that need them. In many ways its sink or swim - we've had people who had 1.5 months pre-deployment training bin it after being sent out 'there' because they either didn't want to do it or couldn't hack it.

At the end of the day, there is no cash, there will be no more cash, and I won't be surprised if a lot of people are delivered an ultimatum come the next tax year. 'The Stabs' has changed - we are not a fcuk about drinking club anymore, and far too many pie masters are coming in week after week, doing fcuk all and counting their beer tokens whilst steadfastly refusing to deploy. Things will change - they simply cannot afford the T.A. in its current model.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you...

Too cool for school.
 

Command_doh

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
Okay, you are talking about very role specific training. But even then, surely you've been doing that for a while right? It's only the new sprogs who are missing out right now, and even then if they volunteer they will be er, rushed through the relevant training and OPTAG'd to fcuk to get up to the required level. The fact remains that the country is bankrupt, so its kind of relative.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#20
Command_doh said:
Okay, you are talking about very role specific training. But even then, surely you've been doing that for a while right? It's only the new sprogs who are missing out right now, and even then if they volunteer they will be er, rushed through the relevant training and OPTAG'd to fcuk to get up to the required level. The fact remains that the country is bankrupt, so its kind of relative.
Not role specific training - all training. Drills require repetition to become second nature. Skills require practice to become efficient at them. Like it or not, skills fade over time. I have been doing this for a fair while, so my "muscle memory" for the drills is pretty good, but I always benefit from a bit of refresher training. So would you, even if you don't think it is cool to admit it.

I ran a period of section battle drills training last year. All of the NCOs involved had recent operational experience and lots of good training in their past. They were, to a man, pretty shit on their first run through. By the third or fourth scenario they were much, much better. What would have happened if I had gone straight on to Coy attacks on the basis that "they have all been doing it for a while"?

The idea of MST is to train specifically for the mission (the MST bit gives it away). It is not designed to be remedial training for all basic skills. If the soldiers are having to work hard just to do the basics which should be second nature then they will not be able to concentrate on the more advanced mission specific stuff.

The lack of funding does impact training - we have less training time, and so how we chose to use that training time becomes more important.
 

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