The Combat Athlete

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  • Vern Gambetta
    Participant
    Vern Gambetta on #15365

    I just returned from an amazing three day symposium on training the combat athlete at Hurlburt Air force Base Florida. The focus was on revising the curriculum throughout the pipeline of training for the Air Force special Ops troops. I was never in the military so much of what I saw and heard was new to me. It is an amazing culture of physical and mental preparation with a laser like focus on buil

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    Participant
    Daniel Andrews on #78060

    with the upmost respect, they are not athletes and most athletes cannot take a military regime of training. The physiological and biomechanical stresses I encountered in training were so much more than any athlete I know can take without the preparation to get to that point and the mental conditioning to suffer and keep focus and maintain attention to detail with awareness of surroundings is more than any sport has to offer. When I first started coaching I tried bringing this attitude and thought process out in my athletes and the response was not what I wanted, the kids were successful, but they worn down as well. I underestimated the toll it would take on young athletes and I hope no coach sees this as a reason to be militaristic in training.

    People in the military have a variety of skills they have to train for and on the battle field everything is very dynamic and uncertain. No sport in competition has ever given me the same rush of adrenaline as helo-casting in training, when actived on react duty, or going a recon patrol. It’s weird how all your senses are heightened when you know you are in danger, but they also can fool you when reacting to such a danger in a way no sport can replicate. I guess you could say its an amazing high, but over the long haul it has its drawbacks as well when former military enter back into civilian life.

    Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #78061

    with the upmost respect, they are not athletes and most athletes cannot take a military regime of training. The physiological and biomechanical stresses I encountered in training were so much more than any athlete I know can take without the preparation to get to that point and the mental conditioning to suffer and keep focus and maintain attention to detail with awareness of surroundings is more than any sport has to offer. When I first started coaching I tried bringing this attitude and thought process out in my athletes and the response was not what I wanted, the kids were successful, but they worn down as well. I underestimated the toll it would take on young athletes and I hope no coach sees this as a reason to be militaristic in training.

    I’m not going to disagree with anything you’re saying since I don’t have personal perspective on it but I will say that I’ve had dozens of athletes that I trained at West Point who’ve since graduated and moved on to Ranger, SERE, and Sapper schools say that my workouts were much harder.

    People in the military have a variety of skills they have to train for and on the battle field everything is very dynamic and uncertain. No sport in competition has ever given me the same rush of adrenaline as helo-casting in training, when actived on react duty, or going a recon patrol. It’s weird how all your senses are heightened when you know you are in danger, but they also can fool you when reacting to such a danger in a way no sport can replicate. I guess you could say its an amazing high, but over the long haul it has its drawbacks as well when former military enter back into civilian life.

    I can say the same thing occurs when you take a bobsled or skeleton run. It ruins your excitation thresholds for the first couple weeks you do it. All senses reach heightened levels and easily cause psychological and physical fatigue. I remember when I first got to the Olympic training center and heard that we were only going to do 2-4 skeleton runs a day that I thought WTF? The runs involve 5 seconds of acceleration / sprinting and then you hop on the sled and steer. When I was an outsider it seemed like that would be the easiest thing but it turns in to 55 seconds of fighting full body rigor (due to vibration and reflexive bracing / contractions) plus emotional fatigue from a prolonged and inevitable fight-or-flight reaction.

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    Daniel Andrews on #78065

    [quote author="dbandre" date="1234700183"]with the upmost respect, they are not athletes and most athletes cannot take a military regime of training. The physiological and biomechanical stresses I encountered in training were so much more than any athlete I know can take without the preparation to get to that point and the mental conditioning to suffer and keep focus and maintain attention to detail with awareness of surroundings is more than any sport has to offer. When I first started coaching I tried bringing this attitude and thought process out in my athletes and the response was not what I wanted, the kids were successful, but they worn down as well. I underestimated the toll it would take on young athletes and I hope no coach sees this as a reason to be militaristic in training.

    I’m not going to disagree with anything you’re saying since I don’t have personal perspective on it but I will say that I’ve had dozens of athletes that I trained at West Point who’ve since graduated and moved on to Ranger, SERE, and Sapper schools say that my workouts were much harder.

    People in the military have a variety of skills they have to train for and on the battle field everything is very dynamic and uncertain. No sport in competition has ever given me the same rush of adrenaline as helo-casting in training, when actived on react duty, or going a recon patrol. It’s weird how all your senses are heightened when you know you are in danger, but they also can fool you when reacting to such a danger in a way no sport can replicate. I guess you could say its an amazing high, but over the long haul it has its drawbacks as well when former military enter back into civilian life.

    I can say the same thing occurs when you take a bobsled or skeleton run. It ruins your excitation thresholds for the first couple weeks you do it. All senses reach heightened levels and easily cause psychological and physical fatigue. I remember when I first got to the Olympic training center and heard that we were only going to do 2-4 skeleton runs a day that I thought WTF? The runs involve 5 seconds of acceleration / sprinting and then you hop on the sled and steer. When I was an outsider it seemed like that would be the easiest thing but it turns in to 55 seconds of fighting full body rigor (due to vibration and reflexive bracing / contractions) plus emotional fatigue from a prolonged and inevitable fight-or-flight reaction.[/quote]

    Your workouts were on top of their military training. So no doubt they were going to be hard. Either the military is softer which I doubt or they are slowly adapting without the stresses of the academy, training, and your practices all rolled into one. The most stressful time I had was in my first year, however it was never the highest amount of stress I had to deal with. You either adapt or you get out in one way or the other.

    The more extreme sports have that flight or fight scenario and those dudes are wired constantly, but they are locked in when competing or training (zoned out to the outside observer). Outsiders never really understand unless they can relate to something similar. This is why I hate when people talk about football, basketball, and other sports as going to war. Its not even close. Take for instance skeleton/bobsled experience, now imagine that adrenal response being elevated and near constant for 6-12 months and most of it being out of your control.

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