Decelerating Quickly and Safely
It's not hard to think of a situation in life and in an active engagement when you'll need to stop on a dime. On the other hand, is deceleration important enough to train? And if so, how should training adapt to maximize our likelihood of success? After reviewing the information below, you'll find that training for deceleration is quite important though not for the reasons I had anticipated, and I think some simple training modifications/additions can go a long way to help.
This document is structured in this order:
- Existing Techniques
- Open Questions
- Training Advice
- Training Resources
To help wrap our heads around the challenge, the following two scenarios cover the two "urgencies" in stopping:
Anticipated Stop: From a full run, stopping at a corner as cover before proceeding to clear the angles.
Emergency Stop: From a full run, rounding a corner, glancing up to see a firearm drawn and soon to be pointing at you.
And in both of these scenarios, various ground conditions add complication when stopping from a run.
Considering gravel, sand, grass, ice, etc., in the Anticipated Stop scenario it is wise to slow down before stopping at the corner. Conversely, in the Emergency Stop scenario an unexpected slip and fall is highly likely. Similarly uneven ground that is unexpected would likely cause you to fall during an Emergency Stop.
The three techniques I've seen for stopping quickly are: (A) a "hard stop" similar to a parkour precision jump or an athlete's "cut", (B) quick "stutter steps" with feet hip-width apart, and (C) quick "stutter steps" with feet widening to around shoulder-width apart (a position to shoot from).
And the physics of the matter suggest:
Decelerating quickly is performed in as few steps as possible and therefor may cause injury if skeletal structure is used. For those familiar with a "front hard fall-break", the concept is similar.
Decelerating safely, on the other hand, takes more steps and more time. Also, the feet remain hip-width unless there is better footing to be found nearby.
So there is a balance that leans toward more steps for prolonged training, and "hard stops" when absolutely necessary.
So if it is absolutely necessary (Emergency Stop scenario), and the ground conditions are unexpected, that's a recipe for slipping.
And on the prevention-side of the question:
It seems the answer is more measured and reasonable than I had expected:
I can't help but notice that the sort of training that is done to prevent ACL tears looks excellent for this purpose.
These resources deal specifically with programs design, tested, and shown to help with ACL tear prevention and rehab. I think these would work very well as a foundation, though I am not a doctor.
- Short PDF: The PEP Program: Prevent injury and Enhance Performance
- Longer PDF with pictures: ACL Injury Prevention Program
- Video: ACL Strengthening Exercises, Matthew Boes
- Video: ACL Strengthening Exercises - Phase 4 Rehab, Matthew Boes
So, is it better to (A) slip, fall, and shoot from the ground, (B) slow down just enough to shoot while decelerating, (C) slow down just enough to "glide walk" for the first shot, (D) drop to the ground intentionally, or (E) something else?
Also, what training resources do you recommend?
Post your answers to the comments below.