Expert Infantryman Badge candidates stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia, recently trained mental resilience skills to increase their confidence in preparation for warrior tasks and battle drills on their EIB test.
Master Resilience Trainer – Performance Experts, Samantha Brown and Emily Thompson, from the Fort Stewart R2 Performance Center began a series of trainings with an initial meta-cognitive challenge course. The course combined mental skills with physical workouts and incorporated sport and performance psychology training into candidates’ EIB preparation.
Brown and Thompson then led four consecutive mental skills classroom sessions focused on helping candidates with challenging components of the EIB test. Skills included how to increase confidence, enhance concentration, and maintain composure in high-stress situations. Brown and Thompson provided memory strategies to sharpen memorization needed within the EIB's weapons, medical, and patrol lanes.
"We talked about mindset, how thoughts impact our behaviors, emotions, and physiology. We talked about motivation and how to maintain that motivation during the two-week period; how to maintain our attention, how to choose what we focus on, and how to eliminate distractions,” Thompson said.
"A lot of what Soldiers have to do is memorization, especially within the medical lane. We talked about memory, tools and techniques for how to take information, study it, and retain it into your long-term memory rather than just memorizing it and then dumping it," she said.
The classroom sessions concluded with an energy management workshop. Candidates assembled and disassembled various weapons systems under time limits while using energy management techniques to lower stress responses and perform well under pressure.
“We used our iPad emWave technology to test Soldiers as they performed to see if they were applying mental skills that we'd already trained them on,” Thompson said. “After either assembling or disassembling a weapons system, they'd receive real-time feedback. 'OK, how well am I managing my fight or flight system during this moment?' or 'Am I distracted, and did that impact my nervous system, my anxiety?'"
During the two weeks following the classroom train up, Brown and Thompson went to the EIB training site and provided hip-pocket training to candidates in the assessment lanes as they prepared for EIB testing.
“Our Soldiers benefited greatly from this week of training with the R2 Performance Center," said Capt. Wesley Milligan, Commander for Apache Company, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment. "They learned skills that world-class athletes use to prepare and execute under pressure, and these skills helped them compete at peak physical and mental levels during Expert Infantryman Badge testing. I have personally used many of these skills throughout my thirteen years in the Army and am a firm believer that these skills can help Soldiers go from good to great.”
"As instructors, it's rewarding for us as well, to see that motivation and drive for those individuals who really want to take in and absorb helpful information; resources for them to be successful, not just for this particular event, but for future events in their Army careers," Brown said.
To schedule training for your unit, contact your installation’s R2 Performance Center: www.armyresilience.army.mil/ard/R2/R2-Performance-center.html.