By CHERYL RODEWIGJune 6, 2012
FORT BENNING, Ga. (June 6, 2012) -- Whether leading a company attack or planning a company social, there's a mission to complete, and an individual's ability to perform comes into play. That's the theory behind the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness-Performance and Resilience Enhancement Program.
Geared toward helping warriors focus on the mental, physical and emotional factors that lead to resilience, the program in general teaches participants how to optimize their performance levels.
"Performance is performance, whether it's combat or a family matter," said Dr. Eric Bergreen, a clinical psychologist and senior performance enhancement specialist with CSF-PREP. "If there's a goal in mind, a standard you want to achieve, then it becomes a performance moment. How do you manage yourself? How do you maintain a clear focus, reach your objectives? It's (how) we structure our thinking and take advantage of what the brain does naturally to get the best out of that moment."
As such, it's just as relevant for Army spouses as Soldiers, Bergreen said.
With that in mind, eight spouses of Soldiers in 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, took a five-day Leader Development Course with CSF-PREP this month. The classes, which wrapped up Tuesday, covered the six tenets of performance enhancement: a mental skills foundation, building confidence, attention control, energy management, goal-setting and integrating imagery. Spouses learned how to apply these principles in their day-to-day tasks to reach their full potential.
"I've really enjoyed the course," said Mary Beth Mueller, wife of the assistant operations officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company. "This has been a great eye-opener. I am very new to the military. We were married in February, and here we are preparing for our first PCS and first unit we're going to. This is all very unfamiliar to me, so I'm taking away a lot of skills to help me with all of these new facets of my life."
Mueller said her husband hasn't taken the course, but she's shared much of what she's learned with him.
"I think probably the best thing I've taken away from this course is how crucial it is to have good self-awareness," she said. "They've taught us all about building up your confidence levels, keeping confidence high, how to manage your energy levels and maintain good attention control. I know a lot of wives here have made the comment that they wish they'd had this 20 years ago. I know it's really going to help down the road."
Mueller said it's also something she can put into practice today.
"I feel like I can optimize my performance," she said. "I can handle my daily tasks more efficiently. You have all these different things coming at you in your daily life. It helps you keep things in perspective."
The precepts taught in CSF-PREP can be applied to sports, business, public speaking and a range of other disciplines. They are useful when training for a triathlon, working on a hobby -- even arguing with a spouse, Bergreen said, "so you say what you need to say and don't say the things you don't want to say."
"We look at it from a leadership perspective," he said. "What are some of the abilities or skills leaders have? Being able to manage stressors, being able to manage their composure, adjust energy levels -- those are important elements. The whole idea behind this is Soldiers will get the physical, tactical and technical training but what really makes people great is this emotional and mental piece. I think it's important to make sure everybody's getting this information because it's good life performance psychology.
"Our goal is to make people more successful. Whatever level you perform at, if we teach you these mental skills, you will perform at a higher level. You'll be thinking faster, more clearly. You'll be able to know what you're focused on."
CSF-PREP courses are taught at Brown Hall, Building 328, located on Ingersoll Street. For more information about the program, visit www.benning.army.mil/csfprep.