Soldiers' Experiences of Training for Emergency Performance Situations

Peter R Jensen, Greg Young

Abstract


Professions that include the risk of life-threatening emergency situations ready individuals for such extreme events through training to develop a broad range of positive psychological skills, well known in sport psychology as mental toughness.  Given the relatively little attention devoted to the study of performance psychology in this area, the aim of this investigation was to provide first-person perspectives on the training of soldiers with experience in the life-threatening circumstances of hand-to-hand combat.  The results of phenomenological interviews with 17 soldiers revealed four themes that characterized the participant’s experience of hand-to-hand combat training: “warrior mindset,” “confidence,” “repetition,” and “realistic.”  It was concluded the hand-to-hand combat training experiences of these soldiers (a) fostered mental qualities viewed as important for performance in life-threatening settings, (b) consisted of extensive practice, and (c) were aimed at replicating the physical and psychological demands of the expected combat environment.  Taken together the results are consistent with sport psychology mental toughness research and provide a number of suggestions for instructors and mental skills trainers working with soldiers and combat sport athletes.


Keywords


emergency performance, mental toughness, hand-to-hand combat, military training, phenomenology

Full Text:

PDF

References


Delahaij R, Gaillard AWK, Soeters, JM. Stress training and the new military environment. TNO Defence Security and Safety, Soesterberg, The Netherlands; 2006.

Samuels SM, Foster CA, Lindsay DR. Freefall, self-efficacy, and leading in dangerous contexts. Mil Psych. 2010; 22: S117-36. doi: 10.1080/08995601003644379.

Samuels SM, Gibb RW. Self‐efficacy assessment and generalization in physical education courses. J App Soc Psych. 2002; 32: 1314-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2002.tb01438.x.

US Army. Combatives field manual no. 3–25.150. Washington, DC: The US Army; 2002.

US Army. Combatives field manual no. 3–25.150. Washington, DC: The US Army; 2009.

Wood R, Wilson B. Self-defense. In: LeBoeuf M, Butler L, editors. Fit and active: The west point physical development program. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2008. p. 91-105.

Morales-Negron, HR, Eklund, RC, Tenenbaum G. Self-efficacy, state anxiety, and motivation during mandatory combative training. Pamukkale J of Spt Sci. 2011; 2: 37–51.

Delahaij R, van Dam K, Gaillard AWK, Soeters J. Predicting performance under acute stress: The role of individual characteristics. Int J of Stress Manage. 2011; 18: 49–66. doi:10.1037/a0020891

Jones G, Hanton S, Connaughton D. What is this thing called mental toughness? An investigation of elite sports performers. J of App Spt Psych. 2002; 14: 205–18. doi: 10.1080/10413200290103509

Crust L, Clough PJ. Developing mental toughness: from research to practice. J of Spt Psych in Act. 2011; 2: 21-32. doi: 10.1080/21520704.2011.563436.

Bull S, Shambrook C, James W, Brooks J. Towards an understanding of mental toughness in elite English cricketers. J of App Spt Psych. 2005; 17: 209–27. doi: 10.1080/10413200591010085.

Driska AP, Kamphoff C, Mork-Armentrout S. Elite swimming coaches' perceptions of mental toughness. The Spt Psych. 2012; 26: 186-206.

Connaughton D, Hanton S, Jones G. The development and maintenance of mental toughness in the world’s best performers. The Spt Psych. 2010; 24: 168–193.

Connaughton D, Wadey R, Hanton S, Jones G. The development and maintenance of mental toughness: Perceptions of elite performers. J of Spts Sc. 2008; 26: 83–95. doi: 10.1080/02640410701310958.

Gucciardi DF, Gordon S, Dimmock JA, Mallett CJ. Understanding the coach’s role in the development of mental toughness: Perspectives of elite Australian football coaches. J of Spt Sci. 2009; 27: 1483–96. doi: 10.1080/02640410903150475.

Jones G, Hanton S, Connaughton D. A framework of mental toughness in the world’s best performers. The Spt Psych. 2007; 21: 243–64.

Fiore SM, Hoffman RR, Salas E. Learning and performance across disciplines: An epilogue for moving multidisciplinary research toward an interdisciplinary science of expertise. Mil Psych. 2008; 20: S155-70. doi: 10.1080/08995600701804939.

Schmidt RA, Lee TD. Motor control and learning: A behavioral emphasis. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 2011.

Simpson D, Wrisberg C. Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail: Professional Boxers’ Experiences of Training. The Spt Psych. 2013; 27: 109-19.

Post PG, Wrisberg CA. A phenomenological investigation of gymnasts’ lived experience of imagery. The Spt Psych. 2012; 26: 98-121.

Simpson D, Post PG, Young G, Jensen PR. “It’s Not About Taking the Easy Road”: The Experiences of Ultramarathon Runners. The Spt Psych. 2014; 28: 176-85.

Olivares OJ, Peterson G, Hess KP. An existential-phenomenological framework for understanding leadership development experiences. Led & Org Dev J. 2007; 28, 76-91. doi: 10.1108/01437730710718254.

Jensen PR, Wrisberg CA. Performance under acute stress: A qualitative study of soldiers’ experiences of hand-to-hand combat. Int J of Str Manage. 2014; 21: 406-23.

Jensen PR, Simpson D. A Qualitative Analysis of the Experience and Impact of Killing in Hand‐to‐Hand Combat. J of Tra Str. 2014; 27, 468-73. doi: 10.1037/a0037998

Hagger MS, Chatzisarantis NLD. Never the twain shall meet? Quantitative psychological researchers’ perspectives on qualitative research. Qual Res in Spt, Exer and Hea. 2011; 3, 266–77. doi:10.1080/2159676X.2011.607185

Dale GA. Existential phenomenology: Emphasizing the experience of the athlete in sport psychology research. The Spt Psych. 1996; 10, 307–22.

Thomas SP, Pollio HR. Listening to patients: A phenomenological approach to nursing research and practice. New York, NY: Springer. 2002.

Draucker CB, Martsolf DS, Poole C. Developing distress protocols for research on sensitive topics. Arc of Psych Nurs. 2009; 23: 343–50. doi:10.1016/j.apnu.2008.10.008

Polkinghorne DE. Phenomenological research methods. In: Valle R, Halling S, editors. Existential-phenomenological perspectives in psychology: Exploring the breadth of human experience. New York: Plenum Press. 1989: 41-60.

Ames C. Classrooms: Goals, structures, and student motivation. J of Ed Psych, 1992; 84: 261-71. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.84.3.261.

Hammermeister J, Pickering MA, McGraw L, Ohlson C. Relationship between psychological skill profiles and soldier physical fitness performance. Mil Psych. 2010; 22: 399-411. doi: 10.1080/08995605.2010.513238.

Pickering MA, Hammermeister J, Ohlson C, Holliday B, Ulmer G. An exploratory investigation of relationships among mental skills and resilience in Warrior Transition Unit cadre members. Mil Med. 2010; 175: 213-9. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-09-00059.

Tenenbaum G, Edmonds WA, Eccles DW. Emotions, coping strategies, and performance: A conceptual framework for defining affect-related performance zones. Mil Psych. 2008; 20: S11-S37. doi: 10.1080/08995600701804772.

Ericsson KA. Adaptive expertise and cognitive readiness: A perspective from the expert-performance approach. In: O’Neil, H, editors. Teaching and measuring cognitive readiness. Springer, US; 2014: p. 179-97.

Staal MA. Stress, cognition, and human performance: A literature review and conceptual framework. California, Moffett Field: Ames Research Centre. 2004.

Bandura A. Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. Macmillan:

New York, NY. 1997.

Zinsser N, Bunker L, Williams JM. Cognitive techniques for building confidence and enhancing performance. In Williams J, editor. Applied sport psychology: Personal growth to peak performance. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 2010: p 305-35.

Driskell JE, Salas E, Johnston JH, Woller TN. Stress exposure training: An event based approach. In: Hancock P, Szalma J, editors. Performance under stress. Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited. 2008: p. 271-86.

Cameron KL, Owens BD. The burden and management of sports-related musculoskeletal injuries and conditions within the US military. Clin in Spt Med. 2014; 33: 573-89. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2014.06.004.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.12922/jshp.v4i2.88

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


 

 JSHP is hosted by the Mary and Jeff Bell Library, at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi.