ST Performance Preview

Team ST GOES LIVE ON 25 March! So you want to join the ranks of Air Force Special Tactics? I don’t blame you; it’s an amazing experience! However, it will take a ton of hard work and dedication to get you there. One of the major requirements, as you should know by now, is an extreme level of physical preparation. Learn what ST Performance is about from coach Shawn- a Specialtactics operator and Power Athlete Block I coach. Do you have questions or comments?  Find Coach Shawn in the newly structured Specialtactics Team ST subforum or go to the Specialtactics.com Facebook page

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Training to Strengths & Weaknesses

The Problem A common mistake guys consistently make when training for selection is how and where they focus their energy while training. Too often, candidates are spending time in the exact opposite manner as they should be to prepare for what could be considered the biggest hurdle of their entire life.   Battlefield Airmen selection courses are built around a set of standards that must be met prior to graduation. Simple concept, right?  But the point I want to make is that in order to graduate, you must meet ALL of the standards. Selection courses and the instructors assigned to them don’t care if you can run a 5’30 mile, knock out 30 pullups and swim like Michael Phelps if you can only do 30 push-ups. Likewise, if you can do [spp-timestamp time="1:15"] interval underwaters and perform 50m underwaters all day but can’t tread water for 2 minutes, you’re a failure in the same capacity as the guy that sucks at everything. The above shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise- it’s a simple concept to grasp: you must pass all the standards in order to graduate. But there is an inherent tendency to not apply this concept when we are training. As humans, we naturally gravitate to events we are strong in and reluctantly avoid items we are poor at. Think about it- we do this in the academic classes we sign up for in school, the sports we choose to play and how we workout while at the gym.  We naturally enjoy doing things we are good at and do them more often than things we are poor at.  By doing this, we become better at the things we were already good at and remain lousy at the items we sucked at to begin with. The Solution This tendency ultimately sets us up for failure when training for selection. By avoiding your weak points, you are failing to neutrale your greatest threat for course failure. To combat this phenomenon, you need to be cognizant of this trap and FOCUS ON IMPROVING YOUR WEAKNESSES WHILE MAINTAINING YOUR STRENGTHS.  Come to grips with the fact that you suck at some things. But embrace the challenge of turning your weaknesses into a strength. The benchmark for determining your strengths and weaknesses can be as simple as utilizing the graduation standards of your selection course as a guideline, such as Indoc.  The PAST is not a good standard to use as it is considered a baseline requirement to enter selection.  If you train to solely pass the PAST, you will not be successful.  Train past the PAST. Identify your weak points and make it a personal challenge to be better at your poor events.  It is often said a special operator is a Jack of All Trades, Master of None.  Embrace that mantra.  There is no need to be great at one thing, but you do need to be good at everything. Now go kick some ass.  

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Workout intensity

Pay Now or Pay Later? Tune-Up Your Training

During a recent road trip work, I found myself riding shotgun talking to my Air Force boss about life, work and family.  My boss was an older gentleman, an O-6 Colonel in the Air Force.  He was nearing retirement and had accomplished so much during his career.  He was well respected amongst his peers, a prior group commander and an accomplished medical doctor.  And although once upon a time, he was a college kid without a clue, he dedicated his earlier years of life to putting his head down and grinding out the hard things early on so that he would be setup for the rest of his life.  And indeed he was. Alternatively, my boss spoke of his kids- who were all good people.  They pursued careers out of high school, such as law enforcement, military service (enlisted) and such and made decent livings.  But his kids struggled to become successful like their father had.  Although my boss attempted to instill the ‘work hard early’ life lessons in his children, they chose a different path and struggled into adult-hood.  They sometimes scraped by month to month to make ends meat while they worked their middle/low income jobs in high income areas.  As they attempt now to re-define their career paths, they are putting in the hard hours like their father did but ultimately will never amount to the stability their dad has because they have already fallen too far behind the power curve.  And as I listened to my boss speak of his kids, I felt a sense of sadness in his voice as I sensed he would have liked to have seen his kids turn out more like he did. The point that my boss was trying to make to me was the principle, and timing of work ethic.  While it is important to be a hard worker, the timing of your hard work may be even more critical.  The opportunity to get ahead in life should be taken as soon as possible- to get a jump on the power curve of success.  The blood, sweat and tears should be sacrificed earlier rather than later, because the road blocks that will inevitably arise in life will most likely prohibit you from ever catching up. The same principles are critical to your training mindset.  As you are grinding away in the gym/in the pool/on the track towards your Battlefield Airmen dreams, your efforts now will set the tone for how your selection course will play out.  There are moments in training where you will be drained, tired and unmotivated- it happens.  But what should keep you driven is the thought that you can put in the work now or you can pay for it at selection.  If you are successful at putting the work in early, you will literally thank yourself at selection for putting in the maximum amount of work before hand.  Conversely you will kick yourself if you arrive at selection unprepared- because you know the pain you are about to experience is much more because of your lack of action during training. Think about it: Would you rather puke during your workouts now on your terms or at the selection course with an instructor in your face as you are trying to prove you have what it takes?  This should be an easy answer.   Lance Armstrong once said, “I’m not happy if I’m not doing some physical suffering, like going out on a bike ride or running. First, it’s good for you. No. 2, it sort of clears my mind on a daily basis. And it’s a job. My job is to suffer. I make the suffering in training hard so that the races are not full of suffering.”  Armstrong was a guy that would ride grueling, debilitating mountain climbs once a month when his competitors would ride them once a year.  Because he was a beast due to his preparation, he was one of the most prolific cyclists ever.  Channel your inner Lance Armstrong and suffer now (except don’t do drugs, don’t be a dick and don’t lose a testicle). Putting the same mindset to work is your key to success.  Pay now or pay later; its your choice.  I suggest the former.

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The Battlefield Airman Library

My recommended list of books, focused on Battlefield Airmen lives, careers and missions.  “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Find this list and more recommended items on the Specialtactics.com Resources Page. Guardian Angel Guardian Angel provides a rare glimpse at a PJ’s mind-blowing adventures. You follow Sgt. Sine’s trek across exotic lands and share his encounters with mysterious cultures. Learn what it takes to lower from a helicopter onto the slippery decks of storm-tossed ships to rescue dying sailors. Feel what it’s like to be caught in the middle of a bomb blast so powerful that it tears high-rise buildings in half, and flattens armored vehicles hundreds of yards away. Soar high above towering jungle trees and experience the danger of swinging on a slim cable below a helicopter while performing a mid-air rescue of a pilot, dangling from his chute a hundred feet above a mountain slope. Go to war in Afghanistan and parachute onto a nocturnal battlefield surrounded by land mines to help a mortally wounded soldier. This is a deadly serious business: when things go wrong, they can go terribly wrong. Aircraft crash into mountainsides, killing all onboard, while some PJs live through horrendous helicopter crashes only to struggle with freezing temperatures, snapped limbs and torn flesh in a desperate fight for survival. This book presents true stories of uncommon courage told from the perspective of the actual men in the arena.   None Braver From award-winning journalist and combat veteran Michael Hirsh comes the thrilling inside story of the Air Force’s pararescue operations in Afghanistan. The first journalist to be embedded with an Air Force combat unit in the War on Terrorism, Hirsh flew from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, with the 71st Rescue Squadron to their expeditionary headquarters at a secret location in Central Asia. Unparalleled access to the PJs, as well as to the courageous men and women who fly them where they have to go, often under enemy fire, allowed Hirsh to uncover incredible stories of courage.   My Brother in Arms; The Exceptional Life of Mark Andrew Forester, USAF CCT On September 29, 2010 Mark Forester was killed in action while fighting terrorists in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. His heroic legacy of being shot down while preparing to rescue a fallen teammate began long before this tragic day. An Apache aviator said of Mark’s final battle: …”I have never witnessed such an act of heroism in my three years of fighting in combat. I have over 2,700 hours total time with 1,500 hours of combat time in both Iraq and Afghanistan…JAG 28 continued to advance on the enemy while taking intense enemy fire, and continuously fired his weapon in an attempt to get to his fallen teammate and destroy the enemy.”… Since Mark’s death, his family’s eyes and hearts have been opened to multiple examples of selflessness and patriotism by meeting his teammates and leaders in the military. The family has witnessed first-hand the ability for them to turn off their stern, professional personae and turn on compassion, love, support and acceptance. The author feels a strong desire to Honor our Heroes. This book highlights one hero, SrA Mark A. Forester, and also helps recognize many other men and women who volunteer to fight for our freedom.   Never Quit Never Quit is the true story of how Jimmy Settle, an Alaskan shoe store clerk, became a Special Forces Operator and war hero. After being shot in the head during a dangerous high mountain operation in the rugged Watapur Valley in Afghanistan, Jimmy returns to battle with his teammates for a heroic rescue, the bullet fragments stitched over and still in his skull. In a cross between a suicide rescue mission and an against-all-odds mountain battle, his team of PJs risk their lives again in an epic firefight. When his helicopter is hit and begins leaking fuel, Jimmy finds himself in the worst possible position as a rescue specialist―forced to leave members from his own team behind. Jimmy will have to risk everything to get back into the battle and bring back his brothers.   Pararescue: The True Story of an Incredible Rescue at Sea and the Heroes Who Pulled It Off This is the gripping and unforgettable true adventure of an astonishing rescue at sea — a tale of the unparalleled courage and skill of men who endured a record-breaking fifteen-hour, nonstop helicopter ride through bone-jarring turbulence to carry out a mission on the ragged edge of impossibility. It is the story of a unit of the New York Air National Guard, the 106th Rescue Wing, which includes the famed PJs, the Pararescuemen, whose training is so rigorous and standards so high that only a dedicated handful qualify to join;[…]

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cone fit

43 Weeks of Battlefield Airman Workout Plans

Here are 43 FREE, FOCUSED, COMPLETE & COMPREHENSIVE weekly workout plans to integrate into your preparation regimen for Battlefield Airmen selection training.  These ‘Dirty Scurve’ workouts are brought to you by the fine folks of Cone Fit.  Although the continual refreshment of workouts has ceased, their legacy now lives on here at Specialtactics.com. A prior sneak-peak of 12 workouts was published earlier this month.  The list below is the complete, unadulterated list of workouts that were published from the Cone Fit crew from start to finish.  I would recommend you adjust the numbers to your physical abilities as many of these workouts are designed to be challenging. These workouts were made for cones, by cones.  If you are looking for a professional training program for little cost that will keep you healthy, strong and leave you ultimately the best prepared, check out Team ST All 43 Workouts (.zip): CLICK HERE Individual Workouts (.pdf): #1 The Dirty Scurve Mar 28 – Apr 2 #2 The Dirty Scurve Apr 4 – 9 #3 The Dirty Scurve Apr 11 – 15 #4 The Dirty Scurve Apr 18-22 #5 The Dirty Scurve Apr 25- 30 #6 The Dirty Scurve May 2 – May 7 #7 The Dirty Scurve May 9 – May 14 #8 The Dirty Scurve May 16 – 21 #9 The Dirty Scurve May 23 – 27 #10 The Dirty Scurve May 30 – June 3 #11 The Dirty Scurve June 6-10 #12 The Dirty Scurve June 13-17 #13 The Dirty Scurve June 20-24 #14 The Dirty Scurve June 27-July1 #15 The Dirty Scurve July 4-8 #16 The Dirty Scurve July 11-16 #17 The Dirty Scurve July 18 – 23 #18 The Dirty Scurve July 25 – 30 #19 The Dirty Scurve August 1 – 6 #20 The Dirty Scurve (August 8 – 13) #21 The Dirty Scurve (August 15 – 20) #22 The Dirty Scurve (August 22 – 27) #23 The Dirty Scurve (Aug 29 – Sept 3) #24 The Dirty Scurve (Sep 5 – 10) #25 The Dirty Scurve (Sep 12 – 17) #26 The Dirty Scurve (Sep 19 – 24) #27 The Dirty Scurve (Sept 26 – Oct 1) #28 The Dirty Scurve (Oct 3 – 8) #29 The Dirty Scurve (Oct 10 – 15) #30 The Dirty Scurve (Oct 17 – 22) #31 The Dirty Scurve (Oct 24 – 29) #32 The Dirty Scurve (Oct 31 – 6) #33 1-17 The Dirty Scurve (Feb 4 – 11) #34 2-17 The Dirty Scurve (Mar 13 – 18) #35 3-17 The Dirty Scurve (Mar 20 – 25) #36 4-17 The Dirty Scurve (March 27- April 1) #37 5-17 The Dirty Scurve (April 3 – 8) #38 6-17 The Dirty Scurve (April 10-15) #39 7-17 The Dirty Scurve (April 17-22) #40 8-17 The Dirty Scurve 2017 (April 24-29) #41 9-17 The Dirty Scurve (May 8-13) #42 10-17 The Dirty Scurve (May 15 – 20) #43 11-17 The Dirty Scurve July 17-22

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4 breath hold exercises to boost your underwater time

Just like hitting the gym is a cornerstone to improving your muscular capacity, the same can be applied to underwater confidence.  Training your body to endure the rigors of oxygen deprivation and Co2 tolerance is just as important as other forms of training while prepping for selection.  And just like utilizing different exercises to train the same muscle groups, there is more than one way to train for underwater exercises.  We don’t need to limit ourselves to doing endless 25m underwaters to improve our capacity– in fact I would disapprove of this method. There are two physiological factors at play when attempting to increase your breath hold capability: O2 deprivation and Co2 tolerance.  Your urgency to pop during underwater activities is largely attributed to the buildup of Co2 in your body- not the lack of oxygen (although lack of O2 is still a factor- just not the primary one).  That’s why I suggest you apply more focus to the Co2 tolerance tables below rather than the O2. -Static Tables are breathing exercises meant to be done while sitting still; in a rest position.  What’s great about these is you can do them almost anywhere.  (DO NOT ATTEMPT THESE TABLES WHILE DRIVING!) -Dynamic Tables are while you are in motion.  This could be while doing underwaters, walking, sprinting or performing any other motion that depletes your breath hold capacity quicker than while at rest. The tables below can be modified!  Adjust the times up or down to meet your performance level.  You can also mix it up by attempting 100m breath hold sprints on a track, etc.  The purpose is to have fun with these while increasing your breath hold capacity. These should be challenging, so push yourself and you will get better overnight.  Do not expect overnight results.  This, along with any other exercise program, takes time to see results. Static Co2 Tolerance Table (3-4x per week): Above water, not moving breath holds (ie: sitting in a chair or lying down) Breathe           Hold [spp-timestamp time="2:30"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="2:15"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="1:45"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="1:30"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="1:15"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="1:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="1:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="1:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"]   Static O2 Deprivation Table (1-2x per week): Above water, not moving breath holds (ie: sitting in a chair or lying down) Breathe           Hold [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  :40 [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  :50 [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:10"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:20"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:30"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:40"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="1:50"] [spp-timestamp time="2:00"]                  [spp-timestamp time="2:00"] Dynamic Co2 Deprivation Table: -Perform 25m underwater with no fins and rest on the opposite side (do not freestyle back to the starting point).  This  table can also be accomplished on land by walking 30 seconds instead of the underwater. 25m underwater      [spp-timestamp time="1:30"] rest 25m underwater      [spp-timestamp time="1:20"] rest 25m underwater      [spp-timestamp time="1:10"] rest 25m underwater      [spp-timestamp time="1:00"] rest 25m underwater        :50 rest 25m underwater        :40 rest 25m underwater        :30 rest 25m underwater Static Single Breath Hold Repetitions: This Co2 tolerance exercise is a substitute for the co2 table above if you are short on time. -Take one exhalation/inhalation every :45 seconds for [spp-timestamp time="6:00"]. (Example: Inhale and breath hold, start the clock.  At :45 exhale your breath, take one inhale and continue to hold.  Repeat at [spp-timestamp time="1:30"], [spp-timestamp time="2:15"], [spp-timestamp time="2:30"], etc)

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cone fit

12 ‘Dirty Scurve’ Workouts courtesy of Cone Fit

The gents at Cone Fit did a phenomenal job creating workouts for “Cones” interested in trying out at a Battlefield Selection course.  The PDFs below have been preserved and compiled for your viewing and training pleasure. There’s multiple aspects of these workouts that I really enjoy, including: -A tribute to a “Badass of the Week” operator who did amazing things -A motivational quote to get your juices flowing before you go rip your body apart -A comprehensive workout for all stages of selection, including calisthenics, weight training, cardio, rucking, grass and gorilla drills, swimming and water confidence. 20170204 The Dirty Scurve (Feb 4 – 11) 20170213 The Dirty Scurve (Feb 13 – 18) 20170227 The Dirty Scurve 2017 Feb 27-4 20170306 The Dirty Scurve 2017 Mar 6-11 20170313 The Dirty Scurve 2017 Mar 13-18 20170320 The Dirty Scurve 2017 Mar 20-25 20170327 The Dirty Scurve 2017 March 27- April 1 20170403 The Dirty Scurve 2017 April 3-8 20170410 The Dirty Scurve 2017 April 10-15 20170424 The Dirty Scurve 2017 April 24-29 20170508 The Dirty Scurve 2017 May 8-13 20170717 The Dirty Scurve July 17-22    

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How to DOUBLE your breath hold in 15 minutes

I’ve tried this myself and validated this technique with the core group of guys I work with at the pool. I’ve seen guys’ breath hold go from an initial :45-[spp-timestamp time="1:15"] to [spp-timestamp time="2:40"]-[spp-timestamp time="3:28"] utilizing the below technique. First, some key information: -Deep Breathing: “Deep breathing” involves taking a big breath in through the mouth, holding for one second, and then exhaling for 10 seconds through your mouth through your almost-closed mouth with tongue pressed against your lower teeth. It should be a hissing exhalation and make a “tsssssss…” sound. All breathing and exercises are performed though the mouth. -Purging: “Purging” involves a strong exhalation as if you were trying to blow a toy sailboat across a pool, followed by a big but faster inhalation. Cheeks puffed out as you do the exhalation (imagine the big bad wolf blowing the pigs’ homes down). Be careful not to heave or rock back and forth, which wastes oxygen. Keep as still as possible. -Success Tips: 1) Find a comfortable chair free of distractions. 2) Do not move around while performing this test to keep your heart rate as low as possible.  This includes moving your hands & arms or shrugging your shoulders when inhaling.  Any movement, no matter how small, increases heart rate. 3) Make a conscious effort on your breath hold to inhale and fill your lungs fully.  Concentrate on slowly filling your stomach, then your lower chest, then upper chest, then your trachea and then your throat and mouth.  Maximize the airspace available to you. 4) Distract yourself while holding your breath.  Recount your favorite movie in your head or associate each letter of the alphabet with a name of someone you know. ALRIGHT, NOW FOR THE TEST. DISCLAIMER: THIS IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. DO NOT ATTEMPT IN WATER! Sitting still, do a baseline breath hold and record your time. Then perform: [spp-timestamp time="1:30"] deep breathing, then [spp-timestamp time="1:15"] purging (if you feel like you’re going to pass out, do it less intensely) Hold breath for target [spp-timestamp time="1:30"], no more After your [spp-timestamp time="1:30"] breath hold: Take 3 large recovery breaths, [spp-timestamp time="1:30"] deep breathing, [spp-timestamp time="1:30"] purging, Hold breath for target [spp-timestamp time="2:30"], no more After your [spp-timestamp time="2:30"] breath hold: Take 3 large recovery breaths, [spp-timestamp time="2:00"] deep breathing, [spp-timestamp time="1:45"] purging, Hold breath for as long as possible & record your initial and final times in the comments box.  (FYI, Harry Houdini’s life-time record is [spp-timestamp time="3:30"]).

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The Ultimate 7 Must-Haves for Water Con Training

While some suitable substitutes are, well…suitable, sometimes it is absolutely essential to duplicate the exact gear used at selection.  In this write-up, I have done the research and found the 7 critical pieces of equipment that you need to train with to be successful inside the pool while at PJ Indoc, CCT assessment, Phase 2 assessments & Dive School.  All of the pieces have equal value: you must be well-rounded to be successful at selection.  You could be a stud at underwaters, buddy breathing, mask/snorkel recovery, one man comp, etc etc, but if you can’t handle a weight belt on your hips, you will fail just as easily as someone who struggles in any other event. I have scoured the internet to find the best prices for you and have provided affiliate links below (all on amazon). 1) The dive mask used for Air Force selection courses is massive.  It is important to train on this:  Single Lens Dive Mask to get used to the amount of air it takes to clear this behemoth.  There are small nuances to this mask that you must get used to such as how to properly trace the head strap & feeling where the nose cup is underwater so you don’t put the mask on upside down (this happens ALL the time to the untrained). 2) Grabbing the right snorkel is critical for buddy breathing.  Ensure you get either the:  Snorkel – J-Tube  or J Tube Snorkel Clear Mouth as getting intimately familiar with this snorkel will help you succeed when you are under full harassment.  This snorkel takes a bit more air to clear than other snorkels due to its larger than normal lower mouth piece section.  You may have an adjustment period with the bite blocks and upper mouth piece as well I’ve seen guys struggle to establish a seal quickly while in the pool. 3) Finning with stiff Rocket style fins is an experience that cannot be duplicated with substitution.  Your legs and feet will need to experience the suck of fin swimming with these:  IST Rocket Fins for Military Special Ops, L prior to going to selection.  The force that is put on your legs is critical to experience  as well as learning the skills of ditch and don with these type of straps will help you be ready for when its time to perform.  Expect calf, foot and hamstring cramps when ramping up training with these fins. 4) At selection, booties aren’t just used for finning.  An easy way to make underwaters (or any pool event) more challenging is by slapping on these:  Black Zippered Dive Bootie and watch yourself struggle.  These booties are a perfect fit for the IST Fins mentioned above. 5) There have been many of candidates who could fin great, but once that: Weight Belt, Black went on for the first time, their eyes would get big and they’d mercilessly sink to the bottom.  Don’t be that guy that struggles with a weight belt when it comes time to put in on when it counts.  This belt also has a clasp that can be difficult to manage while performing ditch & dons. WARNING: Do not perform weight belt swims in the deep end without a buddy!  Always ensure you have the belt setup so it will release with your right hand 6) A weight belt is useless without weights.  Grab 4 of these: Uncoated Lace Thru Style Hard Weights, 4Pounds to get 16 lbs total.  When starting, I recommend going with 8 lbs and working up to 16.  There is a particular way to place these on the belt that unless you’ve been to selection before, you won’t know the nuances– if you are unsure, ask in the specialtactics.com forums here. 7) Underwater knot tying is a skill that takes finesse and repetitiveness to master.  Use this:  7mm Accessory Cord to learn the square knot, inside bowline, girth hitch w/ an extra turn and the single fisherman’s knot.  TIP: Grab the 20′ or 30′ length and cut out two equal pieces of 36″ each.  Use the rest of the rope as your line that you will tie your knot around. Happy Swimming, SW

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Assessment Redemption- What happens when you fail?

No one wants to think about the glaring possibility that you may not make it.  It’s something that no one wants to admit they think about but truthfully nags at them on a daily basis when prepping for assessment.  “What if I don’t make it?” Battlefield Airmen (BA) selection is unrelentingly merciless.  Wash out rates range from 40-80%, dependent on the AFSC you are striving for.  With such high rates, it is inevitable that many will not have what it takes– and that person could be you. When I went through, I told myself that it would never happen to me.  I put immense pressure on myself by telling all of my friends and family that this was my destiny.  My mantra was: As far as the Air Force was concerned; it was Battlefield Airmen or BUST. I also jedi mind-tricked myself at selection.  I told myself that I couldn’t quit; there was no way out:  I pictured it similarly as if I was in a prisoner of war camp and there was no escape from the selection course.  I looked at those that quit as killed off and only the strong survived.  (In actuality, the ones that did quit and sounded the horn would never be seen from again- so my analogy of being killed off- although drastic wasn’t that bizarre). There are two main reasons candidates fail at selection: 1) You fail (ie: injury & evaluation failure) 2) You quit (ie: failure to train & ‘sounding the horn’) Obviously #1 doesn’t feel as bad on the psyche as #2.  No one wants to admit they’re a quitter.  I’ve run into many guys over the years that have come and gone through indoc unsuccessfully.  The excuses never run dry; especially for the quitters.  Regardless of your selection exit strategy, it still sucks. After facing defeat, it is normal for guys to go hide in a hole and never want to come out.  Self pity reigns supreme for months on end while you try to rationalize your failure as a human being.  I know this because I was once a #1.  (If you would like a background, click here.)  And by all means you should go into your dark hole, cry it out a few times and have your pity party!  Get it out of your system.  Because what happens next will define who you are more than anytime before. YOUR REHAB PLAN If Battlefield Airmen selection did not go as planned, its time to pivot and drive to another goal.  This can be difficult to accomplish coming from the self pity state mentioned above, but YOU HAVE TO DO IT.  Don’t lose sight the mental and physical sacrifice you made to get to selection in the first place- you have the dedication in you to go far.  You have to now find a way to re-invigorate that drive somewhere else. For non-prior service Airmen that failed out of selection right out of BMT- there’s great news: you can try again and succeed.  I did.  I also know many that have done the same.  My advice is take a few months off after selection to cool down, chill out and regain that desire (if you are inclined to head back) and slowly ramp up training again to come back stronger than ever.  We can talk more about that gameplan in a later post. For those that do not desire to head back to BA selection or are ineligible, your path is more difficult.  You had dedicated months, if not years, to being a special operator.  And now you won’t be.  That’s a hell of a hard pill to swallow.  Some wither away and are unhappy the rest of their careers due to this failure- I’ve seen it.  The challenge is to re-energize your lust for doing something different; something special. How do you find your new niche?  Its not easy. You have to dedicate the same drive and dedication you used to physically prepare yourself for selection to do your search for your new passion.  Instead of daily ball-busting workouts, there needs to be daily trips to the library.  Replace your iTunes playlist with podcasts such as Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, etc.  Start looking at similar type job placements: No luck being a PJ?  How about the Search & Rescue team at a Nat’l Park.  Couldn’t snag your CCT slot?  Go cash in doing Air Traffic Control.  Or go do something completely different.  It doesn’t matter what it is you want to do, as long as it gets you excited every morning. Do not let your selection failure define you.  Either go back and kick the course in the nuts once and for all -or- use it as your opportunity to be great elsewhere.  Now go kick ass and do great things. SW

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