MRT-PEs Use R2 Strategies to Build DOD Warrior Games Athletes

By Lytaria WalkerAugust 22, 2023

MRT-PEs Use R2 Strategies to Build DOD Warrior Games Athletes
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MRT-PEs Use R2 Strategies to Build DOD Warrior Games Athletes
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“I feel so fortunate to work with this population. I’ve met so many competent and motivated individuals, and I’ve been able to travel around the country in the process,” says Heather LeGette, a level-4 master resilience trainer performance expert at Camp Parks in Dublin, California. LeGette’s role as an MRT-PE is twofold. One part entails performance and sports psychology, and the even bigger part is the resilience training that she provides to Soldiers to prepare them for the Warrior Games Challenge.

Each year, the Department of Defense, holds an adaptive-sports competition, the Warrior Games Challenge. The challenge was held at the Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, from June 2 through June 12. This year's challenge highlighted the exceptional physical skills and mental toughness of wounded, ill and injured active-duty and veteran service members. Men and women represented the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command as they competed in a variety of adaptive sports.

The purpose of the Warrior Games Challenge is to enhance recovery by engaging wounded and injured Soldiers outside of traditional therapy settings. The challenge raises awareness about resources available through the DOD Warrior Care programs.

LeGette says that leading up to the trials and games, the MRT-PEs use different approaches to be as effective as they can in preparing the athletes. For example, all of the MRT-PEs are assigned certain athletes. Their job is to reach out and connect with the athletes, whether virtually or in person, and start the sessions immediately.

The sessions entail working on a variety of mental skills, especially those that directly target the challenges each athlete anticipates experiencing. The MRT-PEs focused on brain training and mental training. Their expertise is sports psychology, which helps athletes to optimize their performance and do so using their minds consistently.

LeGette says, “We’re also there to support their resilience, as well. And granted, this group of athletes are incredibly resilient. They’ve been through more than I could possibly even imagine. So their resilience is top-notch.”

They begin by asking important questions. What are you looking forward to most? What do you anticipate as challenges? What are some goals that you would like to achieve while you’re there? These questions allow the MRT-PEs to understand the athletes and then use the mental skills to target where they are and help them better prepare for the challenge.

The MRT-PEs are tasked with the mental preparation, which supplements the physical side. LeGette says, “The mental and physical sides are very interconnected and intertwined. The athletes’ mental fortitude impacts their physical performance.’’

Joel Druvenga, an MRT-PE at a Soldier Readiness Unit in Fort Riley, Kansas, adds, “It’s a lot about relationship building and doing the groundwork on the front end, so that when you actually get to the trials, it becomes more maintenance than training at that point.’’ In theory, he says, training should be happening year-round. Druvenga says that Team Army did really well overall.

Are you up for the challenge? Find your nearest R2PC today.