Sports Help U.S. Military Improve Training

Posted May 1, 2014 at 5:00am

Sports Illustrated reports that “during preseason camp last year, the two college football teams that would ultimately wind up playing for the BCS title had at least one thing in common. Each had met Navy Capt. Tom Chaby. Auburn and Florida State coaches invited Chaby to speak to their teams, knowing their players would sit up a little straighter and listen more attentively when a man who once commanded SEAL Team 5 stood at the front of the room.”  

“Chaby delivered his message and answered questions from rapt audiences in Auburn, Ala., and Tallahassee, Fla. But he didn’t go to those campuses solely to give pep talks. To help him in his current job, Chaby wanted to pick the brains of coaches and support staffers. He wanted to examine the organizational structures that help elite athletes succeed with the hope that he might generate ideas to take to his employer and help 18,525 elite soldiers.”  

“Chaby directs the Preservation of the Force and Family initiative, a multi-pronged effort by all the branches of the United States military to better prepare special operations soldiers for battle and take higher-quality care of them when they return home. These elite groups — the SEALs, the Army’s Rangers, Green Berets and Night Stalkers and the Air Force’s Special Tactics teams — are often the first sent into combat zones, and their members routinely risk their lives in missions deemed too specialized or too dangerous for more conventional troops. Chaby’s group is tasked with finding better ways to handle the physical, psychological, social and spiritual pressures faced by elite soldiers. For the physical piece, the military has learned that one set of organizations has already discovered the ideal organizational structure — major college and professional sports teams.”