There will come a time when you hit a plateau—everyone does. Though this is normal, it can be incredibly frustrating, especially when training a critical skill. However, hope is not lost. Instead, Lon Bartel, VirTra’s Director of Training and Curriculum, recently presented at ILEETA 2021 and touched on this topic. According to research¹, there are two ways to increase motivation when training gets difficult:

Strengthen the Reasons to Keep Going

You can be your best source of motivation. Take time to reflect on why perfecting this skill (or remembering this information) matters so much. Another option is to write down these reasons and hang it in an area you frequently inhabit. Remember that every person goes through a slump like this, but that commitment to continue is the only remedy.

Weaken the Reasons to Quit

The desire to quit is always heavy at this point. In fact, the main reasons people quit are: fear of failure, fear of success, laziness, failing to believe in oneself, weakness in the skill and frustration.

Failure is never fun, but it is a part of life. Laziness can strike, but officers must create motivation to keep going. Weakness is temporary, but only practice will strengthen the skillset. Keeping this in mind can help increase motivation while reducing the urge to quit.

Another tip when reaching a plateau is to experiment. If you have been training a certain way for so long, find a new way of training that skill. Consult with experts in that field and implement their advice. Work to reframe your mindset, and thus avoid the burnout.

One example is marksmanship training as a law enforcement officer. Shake up the training routine by spending time focusing just on just the weapon recoil. Or create smaller acceptable error rates that require you to slow down. If you’re training by yourself or with a small group, audibly talk your way through each step and see if you catch anything. Looking at training at a different angle may create the motivation you need.

To learn more about maintaining motivation in training, download VirTra Director of Training and Curriculum Lon Bartel’s 2021 ILEETA presentation.



1. Eddie O’Connor, “Deliberative Practice: Essential for Experts”, The Psychology of Performance: How to be Your Best in Life. Amazon Digital Service 2017