N-10 Skill Selection Tool

The NAPPI-10 (N-10) is a Skill Selection tool. It was developed over 40 years ago by the NAPPI Company and is used to assist with the development (and selection) of any new physical skill being considered for inclusion into the NAPPI curriculum.  

N-10 is also the process for a review of any adjustment that is requested under the Approved Adjustment process. It enables a skill to selection to be justified, because 9 criteria are considered before asking if it works. If the only focus early in the decision-making process is, “Will the skill work?”, you will often find a skill is very difficult to perform or is abusive.

Download a copy of the NAPPI Approved Adjustment Flowchart by clicking here.

N-10 Criteria

1. Does the skill have a minimum impact on the service user?
2. Does the skill have a minimum impact on the environment?
3. Does the skill start at the point of a person’s reaction?
4. Is the skill easy to learn?
5. Is skill likely to be recalled during a high-stress event?
6. Is the skill designed to be disaster proof? If all goes badly, will we still avoid major injury?
7. Can the normal distribution of employees perform this skill?
8. Is the skill applicable to a variety of situations?
9. Is the skill necessary?
10. Is the skill effective and achieve what it is intended to achieve?


1. Does the skill have a minimum impact on the service user?
If a skill accidentally or purposely transfers energy to the ‘aggressor’s’ body, the aggressor may get startled, injured or reenergised and may further resist or react in an unpredictable way. 

2. Does the skill have a minimum impact on the environment? 
If you jolt the service user’s body, others in the environment will see this happen. This energy transfer to both the aggressor’s body and to the environment must be kept at an absolute minimum to reduce re-traumatisation of the service user, as well as upset in the environment. 

3. Does the skill start at the point of a person’s reaction? 
All employees will react to an attack in a predetermined way. The skill you want your employees to learn should have, as the first element, putting both hands up. Any blocking skill that teaches inside-outside, left-right, or up-down movement is a waste of time. In a real situation the kind of skill that requires an employee to remember what was taught, is very unlikely to happen.

4. Is the skill easy to learn? 
The skill you select for your staff should have as few steps as possible – three or four in the case of self-protection (breakaway) skills, five or six in the case of a restrictive skill. The skills should not require staff to recall left and right actions as no one will remember such a fine distinction without a lot of practise time. 

5. Is the skill likely to be recalled during a high-stress event? 
This is a combination of the above considerations. In addition, staff must be taught fewer skills more often, so that less decision-making time is required. 

6. Is the skill designed to be disaster proof? If all goes badly, will we still avoid major injury? 
Many skills are delivered as if the actual scenario were likely to unfold as planned and as prastised during training. In fact, this almost never occurs. 

7. Can the normal distribution of employees perform this skill? 
Can older, overweight staff, with limited speed and strength, and inexperienced staff perform the skill? 

8. Is the skill applicable to a variety of situations? 
Can the block be used to stay safe from punches from the left and right, as well as from thrown objects, attempted chokes, or grabs to the face, hair and glasses. 

9. Is the skill necessary? 
If more than one skill is aimed at the same problem, eliminate one of the skills. Staff will gain higher competency levels if they practice only one skill per problem. 

10. Is the skill effective and achieve what it is intended to achieve? 
If everyone is safer after a skill than at the beginning of the situation, the skill is effective. If they are not safer, the skill should be redesigned. This issue is at the end of this list for a very good reason. If you only focus on what is the most effective skill early in the decision-making process, you will often find a skill is very difficult to perform or is very abusive. 

NAPPI physical skills have all undergone extensive assessment using N-10 and other assessment tools. The NAPPI risk assessment documents were developed by an Independent Biomechanical Expert who used the N-10 during the review as required every two years by the Restraint Reduction Network (RRN) Training Standards (2019). 

See The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale.

See The Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA) tool.

See Benner's Stages of Clinical Competence.

See Anthropometrics.

See Teaching Approach to Physical Skills.

See Trainer Specification (RRN).

For further information about NAPPI Restrictive Physical skills or Clinical Holding skills and how they link to the NAPPI PBS Model, please call and speak with one of our team.