How to Train Your OODA Loop for High Stress Situations?

Hey there, people! This week we’re going to dive into the world of the OODA loop and its physiological response. Don't worry, I promise it's not as complicated as it sounds. So buckle up and let's get after it!

What is the OODA Loop?

First things first, what exactly is the OODA loop? Well, it stands for ‘Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act’. It's a decision-making cycle that was first developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd. The idea behind the OODA loop is that in any given situation, whether it's a military engagement, a high-pressure sports game, or even just a conversation with your boss, you're constantly cycling through these four stages to make decisions and take action.

Physiological Response During OODA Loop

Now, let's talk about the physiological response that happens during the OODA loop. When you're in a high-pressure situation, like a firefight or a tense business negotiation, your body goes through a series of physical changes. These changes are designed to help you survive and make decisions quickly. It is often referred to as the "fight or flight" response.

Observe Phase

During the "Observe" phase, your body starts to release adrenaline and other stress hormones. Your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes rapid and shallow, and your muscles tense up. This is your body's way of preparing you for action.

Orient Phase

As you move into the "Orient" phase, your brain starts to process all of the information you've gathered from your surroundings. Your pupils dilate to help you see better, and your senses become heightened. This is the moment when you start to analyze the situation and form a plan.

Decide Phase

In the "Decide" phase, your brain weighs the pros and cons of each possible action and selects the best one. This is when you decide whether to fight, flee, or negotiate. Your body is still in high gear, ready to execute your decision.

Act Phase

Finally, in the "Act" phase, you take action based on the decision you made in the previous stage. Your body releases even more adrenaline and other hormones, giving you a burst of energy and focus. Your senses become razor-sharp, and your reflexes are lightning-fast.

(When writing about this, I couldn’t stop thinking about that scene from Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Junior. You’re welcome. Link:

Why is OODA Loop Important?

So, why is it important to understand the OODA loop and its physiological response? Well, for starters, it can help you perform better in high-pressure situations. By understanding how your body and brain are reacting, you can learn to control your responses and make better decisions. It can also help you understand the behavior of others. By observing someone's physical responses during the OODA loop, you can gain insight into their decision-making process and possibly predict their next move.

In an active shooter situation, the difference between life and death is a matter of milliseconds. If you’re looking for an advantage, you need to train your OODA loop.. At the same time, you should be able to analyze the shooter’s OODA loop and break it. All of this boils down to consistent training with stress inoculation.

Training Your OODA Loop 

Obviously, since you are reading this on Triumph System’s website, it’s pretty obvious that we designed our products to help in training your OODA loop. The Pivotal Trainer is the only affordable mobile turning target system that you can customize and always keep your OODA loop on the edge. We also offer other different kinds of targets such as reactive targetsbursting targetssteel targets, etc. to use along with our Pivotal trainers to simulate real life situations. 

Following are some of the shooting drills that Jared and I have done to help enhance our training. For more such drills and awesome shooting targets, reach out to us, we’re always happy to talk about training..


In conclusion, the OODA loop, and its physiological response are fascinating topics that can help you improve your performance in high-pressure situations. Whether you're in the military, sports, or business world, understanding the OODA loop can give you an edge over the competition. So, the next time you're in a tense situation, remember to Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. Oh, and don't forget to take a deep breath!

Well, it's time to holster the keyboard and get back to the real world. Until next time, keep practicing and never stop learning!

Train hard and stay safe. Jeff out.

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