Cadet Summer Training, or CST, helps to prepare the U.S. Army’s future leaders to take on tomorrow’s challenges. It is the largest annual training event in the Army, welcoming 10,000- 15,000 cadets to Fort Knox, Kentucky, from around the country.

This milestone event is often the first Army immersive training many Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets will experience. Training in marksmanship, first aid, etc., builds important skills they will need throughout their career.

However, cadets also learn important lessons in resilience that can impact their personal and professional lives. Priya Ford, Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Expert at the Fort Knox, Kentucky, R2 Performance Center coached cadets on how to perform at their best during CST by teaching them resilience techniques.

“(We help) reframe their thoughts, or shift them, so they can have more productive thoughts so that they can actually attempt and be successful at the task … our mission is just being on the ground with them, providing them those mental skills and techniques so that they can be successful right there on the spot,” Ford explained.

Reframing thoughts teaches them to avoid jumping to conclusions about certain events or to change their thinking when they believe they can’t perform an event.

MRT-PEs, like Ford, can also help cadets navigate any anxiety that might inhibit their ability to perform.

Ford shares that her favorite technique to teach at CST is “self-talk” because of its ability to be applied to multiple situations.

Self-talk is your internal dialogue and can be negative or positive. Positive self-talk can help cadets feel optimistic and motivated to perform tasks and can increase overall confidence.

“Self-talk is so universal … it's really important to be aware of your thoughts as a cadet such as when you're about to go down the rappel tower. It's important to be aware of your thoughts when you have downtime like how you are speaking to yourself. It's important to be aware of your thoughts just in general, like as a student when they go back to school. I mean all the time I think self-awareness about your thoughts is just so crucial to just being a well-functioning and effective human.”