Update: The discussion continues! I’ve updated the Issue on GitHub for those interested.
While learning more about skill progression systems I discovered an article about a real world system used in military training named Human Performance Development Model. The topic of skill progression has come up several times, and I thought now would be a good time to share and get some feedback. Some pieces of this system are already implemented in some ways, but under different names (morale, focus, stamina.) Below is the heart of the system, and the original source can be found at the bottom for anyone interested. Please share your thoughts or ideas about how skill progression could be handled better in C:DDA
Human Performance Development Model
- Motor Pattern Development (MPD)
- Motor pattern development refers to the development of fundamental movement patterns and skills. It also concerns the restoration of movement patterns. This component of training is dominated by training designed to maximize neurological skill the establishment and maintenance of the appropriate range of motion for the task/activity.
- Biomotor Development (BMD)
- Once the correct motor patterns and range of motion have been established, it is time to load those patterns to produce new physical abilities. Loading is accomplished by increasing external resistance, speed of execution or both. By altering the variables of execution we can develop very specific outcomes such as strength, speed, stamina, power, etc…
- Energy System Development (ESD)
- Very closely tied to biomotor development is Energy System development. ESD is approached in both a general and specific manner. In that way it acts as a bridge between biomotor development and technical skill ability. For example, in general terms, a soldier requires a very large aerobic capacity. On the specific side, the soldier requires a large loaded aerobic capacity in locomotion, specifically speed walking with 32kg on roads and cross-country.
- General Skill Development (GSD)
- General Skill Development (GSD) can also be thought of as both General Physical Preparation (GPP) and Gross Motor Skill (GMS). There is also a close link with Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS). All of these terms refer to the development of skills that are generally, but not always, gross and continuous. These skills, such as swimming, walking, running, cycling, etc. do not significantly degrade over time and are dependent on biomotor development (BMD) and fine motor skill to produce award winning performance. These skills and their general performance are quick to return after long layoffs provided the biomotor development is appropriate. General Skill Development varies, but for humans in general these skills always include locomotion, stability and manipulation skills. In the athletic world it also includes the development of several biomotor abilities in the preseason. General skills are usually autonomic requiring very little conscious attention to detail.
- Technical (specific) Skill Development (TSD)
- Technical Skill Development can also be thought of Specific Physical Preparation (SPP) and Fine Motor Skill. All of these terms refer to the development of skills that are discrete, specialized and specific to a task or activity. Fine motor skills like shooting a rifle require a large number of fine motor skills to be employed in harmony and with a very high level of precision. That harmony is composed of not just the technical skill possessed, but also with the factors of speed, time, distance, physical relationship, prediction/anticipation, reaction, skill-strength, skill-stamina and fatigue. Initially technical skills require a large amount of conscious attention and effort. As training history and experience increases, these tasks become more autonomic. An old hand doesn’t think about these technical skills but devotes his attention to tactics, strategy and leadership.
- Neuropsychological Development (NPD)
Cognitive ability: Cognitive ability is our ability to process information, recognize patterns and combine information. The more experience in training and real world experience one has, the greater their cognitive ability. Tasks like complex target recognition and accurate prediction become ever more autonomic with experience. Specific training should always be performed to stimulate ever more complex memory and information processing abilities.
Emotional Fitness: Emotional fitness is our emotional state. This is critical because the seat of memory, emotion, hormones, and action is the Limbic System of the brain. Emotions have a profound impact on performance, training, recovery and psychological wellness. Excessive physical training, poor leadership, poor decision making, poor coping skills and more have profound effects on soldiers, athletes and civilians alike. Careful attention must be devoted to improving emotional resilience, psychological conditioning, stress inoculation and emotional recovery.
As you can see, the big picture is significantly more complex and it gets more so as you dig deeper. The reason is that each domain is interconnected to the others. One does not develop these domains in order, you develop them simultaneously at approximately the same pace. The coach’s objective is to see full spectrum improvement each year, and to pay a little extra attention to the domain(s) that cause the most difficulty. A good coach will also stress different domains depending on the season. For example, in the athletic world the coach will focus hard on BMD, ESD and ESD. As the season nears the competitive phase, there is a gradual shift toward prioritizing TSD and NPD and addressing specific deficiencies while maintaining the general skills and biomotor performance levels.