Special Ops coach's 'tactics' help wounded warriors excel
May 13, 2013
By David Vergun
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Army News Service, May 12, 2013) -- At the 2013 Warrior Games here, one of the coaches on the Special Operations Command team has couched his winning strategies in a term that should be familiar to members of the joint team: tactics.
Jeth Fogg is coach of the upright- and hand-cycling races at the Warrior Games. He spoke May 12, prior to the races.
The team's athletes come from the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps. Some are active, some medically retired, some old, some young.
Athletes come to the program at various levels and with various types of illnesses, injuries or wounds, he said. Some are missing an arm, some a leg. That is one of the factors that will determine if they use an upright bike, which is a normal looking bike, or a hand-cycle.
Both types of bikes are sometimes "tricked out" to suit the needs of the athletes, he added.
Next a power test is given, he said. Special training bikes are equipped with power meters that measure watts of energy the athletes can generate. That level of energy is one of the factors that go into customizing an athlete's individual training program, which begins about a year out from competition.
Then, he said, the "tactics of racing" are instilled into each athlete.
Before a race, the coach said he takes each of them individually through the course and talks them through each segment.
"For some guys, this is their first time ever doing a bike race," he said.
Then more tactics follow.
"Some hard-chargers spend themselves because they go until they pop, which might be halfway through the race," he said. "They suffer the remainder of the race.
"The grey-haired guys seem to be able to pick up on the tactics better than the younger ones," he added. "They take what you say and use their smarts. They don't let physicality rule the situation."
He said the younger guys tend to have a lot of physical energy but they overuse it at the wrong time and "when they do, someone takes advantage of them. It's hard for them to understand you don't always need to be the guy in the front. You gotta go ahead and use your smarts first and then use your physicality at the right time."
Fogg said he's been blessed to be this team's coach. He admits that he doesn't really have to do much emotional or psychological counseling with his athletes.
"They all know how to suffer," he said. "They know the pain they can put their bodies through."
He said they all want to get to the podium to earn a medal. And when they say they want that, he's got more tactical advice for them: "you're going to have to do a lot of suffering," he tells them. "And they do."