R2 Skills Help Focus the Mind to Optimize Physical Achievement

By Tara Davis, Army Resilience DirectorateFebruary 24, 2022

R2 Performance Centers train Soldiers in skills that help build mental toughness, strong relationships, and character. These skills not only promote problem solving and effective communication techniques but can also improve mental agility and boost confidence.
R2 Performance Centers train Soldiers in skills that help build mental toughness, strong relationships, and character. These skills not only promote problem solving and effective communication techniques but can also improve mental agility and boost confidence. (Photo Credit: (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Angelo Mejia)) VIEW ORIGINAL

Do you spend the same amount of time training for your job mentally as you do physically? If your answer to this question is no, you may not be performing at your best.

Although you may be aware of how your physical health can impact your mental health, your ability to focus your mind can also have the same impact on your physical capabilities.

“People really see the benefit for physical activity and physical preparation, however, I think the mental side is always lacking,” said Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Expert Michael Sherman, from the R2 Performance Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. R2 Performance Centers offer Soldiers, Family members and DA Civilians skills training to leverage the connection between the mind and body and improve their performance.

To many Soldiers, performance enhancement may correlate with achieving milestones such as qualifying at the range, earning the Expert Infantryman Badge, or passing the Army Combat Fitness Test. Individuals hoping to improve upon areas of their physical performance may invest time in obstacle courses, running timed miles, or pumping iron at the gym, but overlook mental agility training or stress regulation. Performance training can be utilized as personal training for the mind, which in turn, impacts the performance of the body.

Mental agility allows Soldiers to make their thoughts and emotions work for them, not against them, during a tactical, physical, or job-related stressful event. The performance enhancement skills taught by R2 performance experts can focus your attention, build your confidence, manage your energy levels, set goals, and train your mind for a physical event even if recovering from an injury. R2 trainings that can specifically enhance mental agility at the unit level include Quality Assurance/Quality Control Resilience Training and individual mental agility skills such as avoiding thinking traps and problem solving and Counseling Enhancement Workshop.

Mental agility builds a person’s ability to respond to stress effectively. Stress triggers thoughts in the mind and causes physical reactions in the body such as “fight or flight” and “shutdown.” Soldiers can learn techniques like deliberate breathing and focusing attention, which teach participants to tap into and control these nervous system functions during extreme or challenging circumstances, or to remain calm under pressure.

Sherman also shared how one’s mindset can impact self-confidence.

“…We see this with Soldiers a lot…they think they have to physically perform well in order to have confidence, however you can argue the other side…if you go into something having confidence in your abilities, in your training, before you get to when stuff gets real that has a vast impact on people’s physical performance.”

Additionally, enrolling in the Gaining Resilience in Training, or the GRIT Workshop, and Leader Development Course can help participants develop leadership skills such as high-stakes communication. Those who can communicate with confidence can effectively and concisely communicate with their teams and leaders.

Confidence can also allow Soldiers to reach new heights. Some of the greatest athletes convening at the 2022 Winter Olympics include Spc. Frank Del Duca, Sgt. Emily Sweeney, and Spc. Hakeem Abdul-Saboor from the Army World Class Athlete Program.

“At the level these athletes are performing at, everyone has the physical skills, they made it to the Olympics for a reason,” said Sherman. “But where the difference is made is the time they put in with their sport psychologist, learning strategies like energy management or imagery. … These are skills we can teach at R2 Performance Centers.”

R2 Performance Centers and MRT-PEs are readily available to help Soldiers, leaders, and units transform their performance to maintain motivation and achieve their goals.

“…The skills they learn here not only make them better Soldiers, but a better Family member and leader,” Sherman said. “This is a free resource that offers training that many of the top companies in the civilian world are now offering.”

There are 32 R2 Performance Centers Army wide. To learn more about how to schedule performance training visit: https://www.armyresilience.army.mil/ard/R2/R2-Performance-center.html.

Training Available at R2 Performance Centers

R2 Performance Centers provide specialized performance and resilience training enabling Soldiers to sustain personal readiness, enhance resilience, optimize performance, and build unit cohesion. Training is available Army-wide, to active duty, Reserve and National Guard Soldiers, as well as Family members and Department of the Army Civilians. Course offerings include:

·      Squad Leader Development Course

·      Leader Development Course

·      ACE-SI Train the Trainer

·      Counseling Enhancement Workshop

·      ENGAGE

·      Gaining Resilience in Training (GRIT)

·      Gaining Resilience in Training – Together (GRIT-T)

·      Academic Performance Training (APT)

·      Performance Training

·      Workforce Development

Spouse and Family Seminars