By Ms. Danielle O'DonnellJuly 16, 2019
FORT BLISS, TEXAS--The Senior Leader Sustainment team at the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence, directly impacts the mission of enhancing Soldier readiness. Recently they hosted an internal in-service on May 22 to familiarize all SLS staff members on the required events for the new Army Combat Fitness Test and learn the do's and don'ts for each of the six events.
"Broadening their knowledge base on the ACFT helps them better inform the public and better inform the student population about the physical rigor involved to pass the ACFT," Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers, the commandant of the NCOL CoE said. "This also helps them tie in their education as they are giving classes on the ACFT."
The team gathered at the NCOL CoE Physical Fitness field to obtain a better understanding of the testing process and grading procedures in order to assist the students attending the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.
"In our SLS in-service we reviewed grading criteria, important points for form and overall logistics as to what the test should look like when implemented. The class was a broad overview of details that are outlined in the most recent draft of the "Army Combat Fitness Test Handbook," SLS Physical therapist, Cpt. Jaimie Musen said.
The ACFT is meant to better gauge the Soldier's fitness and performance on the battlefield. In order to know how the test should look the team conducted and discussed the do's and don'ts for each event.
The team is involved in ongoing initiatives to assist students in improving their physical performance as well as their overall health while attending the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, the SLS team focuses on holistic wellness, which is the reason behind the internal in-service as well as for the remainder of their Army career. The team wants to help ensure the students are not only successful in passing the ACFT, but understand the proper methods when performing the events to minimize injury.
Each SLS member was given the opportunity to try out each event, learn proper form and ask questions which can help them in helping their clients. During the 3-Repition Maximum Deadlift the members were informed to look for hips moving above the shoulders, excessive rounding of the shoulders, knees collapsing inward, and the dropping of weights which can all result in an injury to the ACFT participant.
"When it comes to the standing power throw and preventing injury, make sure the medicine ball is free of debris and dry before each attempt. Wait and make sure the lane grader and ball retriever are ready to receive the throw," Fineberg said. "When it comes to passing the test, knowing a record attempt will not count if a Soldier steps on or over the start line during a throw. This is a fault and the throw will be repeated, two faults in a row will count as a one record attempt. This is specific to that one attempt. The Soldier gets a total of three attempts to pass. The first is a practice throw. The last two are the record attempts. If the Soldier faults twice that one record attempt will not count."
The SLS team has designed most of their classes for USASMA to support ACFT preparation with the goal of minimizing risk of injury, as well as minimizing the risk of aggravating chronic injuries.
"A class on the leg tuck will cover both technique and grading criteria for the event itself, as well as how to properly build strength for that event if a student is struggling with it," said Musen. "Even our High Intensity Interval Training and Tabata classes give students ideas for higher intensity training that help prepare for events that require shorter bursts of energy, such as the power throw and sprint/drag/carry event."
Other classes provided through the SLS for ACFT prep include a deadlift class and a core strengthening class which are created to improve the Soldier's performance on several ACFT events.
The SLS has multiple interactions with the students of the Sergeants Major Course from the moment they start their SLS assessment after in-processing, and throughout their time attending the SMC.
"As we went through the events Cpt. Musen, Physical Therapist, Bobbi Cervantez, Exercise Physiologist and myself [Sgt. 1st Class Jason Fineberg, Physical Therapy Technician] corrected and walked each staff member through the exercises. Now the staff have a better understanding of the events and can answer questions our students may have," Fineberg said.
The mission of the SLS is to provide Senior Leaders at USASMA with a highly personalized and customized multi-disciplinary wellness assessment based on the tenets of nutrition, resilience, and activity. This occurs within an educational environment in order to enhance their understanding of the complex interplay between leadership, health, fitness, and readiness.
For more information on the SLS program visit the NCOL CoE website at https://ncolcoe.armylive.dodlive.mil/senior-leader-sustainment/