Pvt. Curtis Isaia Suafo'a, 2nd Brgade, 2nd Infantry Division, center, talks with Dr. Eric Bean, a performance enhancement specialist with Comprehensive Soldier Fitness-Performance and Resilience Enhancement Program, during a training session May 9,

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash., May 19, 2011 -- There is an organization on Joint Base Lewis-McChord that wants to help any Army unit take its mental and emotional performance to the next level.

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord Comprehensive Soldier Fitness-Performance and Resilience Enhancement Program, or CSF-PREP, develops Soldiers' mental and emotional skills to enhance human performance.

The agency recently rebranded from the Army Center for Enhanced Performance to CSF-PREP to better align its capabilities with the Army-wide Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program in an effort to train Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and family members in strengthening the mental and emotional skills that underlie human performance excellence and resilience.

"So much of what we do as Soldiers requires self-awareness and self-regulation, which are the mental and emotional 'X-factors' to achieving performance excellence and mission success and to fighting and winning our nation's wars in a complex environment," said Lt. Col. Greg Burbelo, CSF-PREP program manager. "It's a natural fit to include performance enhancement training alongside resilience training as we build a comprehensively fit Army."

The CSF-PREP program furthers the reaches of CSF and its ability to increase the number of Master Resilience Training Courses and assist Master Resilience Trainers in providing unit resilience training.

Performance enhancement specialists teach energy management and goal-setting classes in resiliency courses or to Master Resilience Assistants in training.

"Our trainers really strengthen the quality of the instruction," said William Howard III, site manager for the JBLM CSF-PREP.

ACEP (now CSF-PREP) was first established as an Army pilot program in 2006. Its education and training stems from evidence-based practices from the fields of sport and performance psychology.

Using applied techniques from both disciplines, CSF-PREP trainers teach Soldiers throughout the Army the mental tools, techniques and processes that help them to consistently perform at the upper range of their potential.

"We work with the units to see what is important to them, what skills do they want to see improved, and provide that education part of teaching mental skills so they have that core mental toughness to take on any task," Howard said.

While CSF-PREP has the mission to help Master Resilience Trainers teach basic energy management and goal-settings courses, Dr. Eric Bean and his colleagues want to continue ACEP's original mission in improving Soldiers' and units' performance enhancement.

Units that want a more in-depth education on goal-setting and energy management can use CSF-PREP to create, practice and put into place a fully tailored, customizable performance enhancement plan.

Bean is an amateur golfer with a doctorate in Sports and Exercise Psychology from Michigan State University.

He is working with 80th Ordnance Battalion to develop a mental guidebook for leaders designed to improve performance and performance-related tasks in how the unit does its critical mission skill sets.

"(The performance enhancement guide) is for the Soldiers who want to improve, are motivated and want to climb the ladder," Bean said. "Our goal setting is more laser-focused on how I can improve and get better."

Similarly to how Olympic athletes mentally prepare for the big race, Bean teaches Soldiers such mental and emotional tips as imagery (seeing the goal in your mind), self-control, maintaining proper breathing and mental rehearsals.

A major difference between athletes and the military is that athletes prepare for just a few minutes of requiring a heightened mental state to win the event; a Soldier could encounter a life-or-death situation at any time, especially when on a mission.

And since most deployments last 365 days, finding ways for Soldiers to maintain their mental determination over a constant period is the main reason that keeps Steve DeWiggins coming to work each day.

"The whole point is to get the unit to personalize and own the skills to apply on their own, because we aren't going on the deployment," DeWiggins said.

"We go over the types of missions they are about to do or situations they might find themselves in, and give them the exposure and training to the mental skills so they can use them in an effective way and apply them across a wide range of activities," DeWiggins explained.

Dealing with stress in any situation can be difficult, but for the military population, stressors can pop up left and right, especially in a combat zone.

CSF-PREP spends most of its time teaching Soldiers how their bodies respond to stress and what Soldiers can do to overcome it.

"We respond to stress and strategies by getting ourselves present-minded, focused on 'in the moment,' and in control," Bean said. "We have to recognize the context of (the Soldiers') performance domain and apply general principles and make it specific to what they are working on."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16