1. Lead from the front
Leaders should exemplify the tenets of P3. Not just being knowledgeable, but believing and striving to reach the P3 targets will naturally make you the example that the Soldiers need and desire to be like. Professional Soldier Athletes are committed to the mission, and always seek ways to improve themselves to be a better Soldier – and that starts with the leader. A leader that lives P3 and exudes passion about it will naturally lead other Soldiers to higher performance. That doesn’t mean if you don’t hit all the 7 targets that you can’t be a great role model. A dose of humility and showing Soldiers what you are working on changing can make you a credible and real leader.
2. Think outside the box
Do your policies promote building Professional Soldier Athletes? Science tells us that Soldiers physical performance is optimal in the afternoon. So, why is Army PRT always in the morning? Well, there’s nothing in regulation that mandates “ZeroDarkThirty” workouts. Don’t be stuck in the status quo. Fort Carson innovated and moved their PRT times to 1600. And, if you live in a really hot environment that has triple digit temperatures in the afternoons, how about starting PRT at 0700, or move it indoors?
3. Involve the Total Army Family
Want to empower the Family Readiness Group? Have them be active participants in the P3! Changes and improvement in Sleep, Activity and Nutrition will always be harder if the Total Army Family is not involved. Friends and Family provide support when the going gets tough. Provide your friends and family a way to perform at peak performance using the P3 Family Guide!
4. Optimize your Soldiers’ goals!
Did you know that Soldiers that set goals, write them down and tell a friend are 75% more likely to complete them? Goals that are specific will make it easier to action and complete. Enlist the help from Master Resiliency Trainers to help Soldiers achieve those challenging but attainable goals!
Use developmental counseling to open the discussion with Soldiers who are at risk for issues with body composition, APFT/ACFT failure, and fighter management. Army Wellness Centers, available at many installations, are also an excellent resource to guide Soldiers down the path to success.
5. Fuel your Soldiers like athletes!
Does your DFAC just promote burgers, fries and desserts? Did you know that there is a program to help your DFAC move towards providing healthy food choices? The GoForGreen program promotes DFAC choices that can help your Soldiers fuel for optimal performance. Also, learn how well your DFAC complies with nutrition standards. Ask your installation dietitian to evaluate the food options for your Soldiers using the m-NEAT (Military-Nutrition Environment Assessment Tool).
6. Sleep is ammunition for the brain! Police the barracks!
Enforce optimal sleeping and living environments. Lights off at 2200 will help Soldiers get the ammunition for their brain that they need—sleep! Enforcing quiet times and lights out can help Soldiers increase sleep time. Athletes’ dorms are finely tuned for optimal performance, are yours? Dark, quiet and cool barracks with noise and light discipline not only helps Soldiers sleep, but also trains them on managing sleep for training and for sustained operations.
Staff duty 24-hour shiftwork is not conducive for alertness and safety. While staff duty is a necessary part of any unit, consider innovative ways of avoiding 24-hour shifts. Can you break it up to two 12-hour shifts? If not, you can provide a mandatory day off after staff duty and consider providing transportation to Soldiers for Staff Duty responsibilities so they are not driving home sleep deprived at an elevated risk for an accident. We wouldn’t let people drive drunk on duty, but after a 24-hour shift, you are performing at a level similar to a 0.08 blood alcohol level.
7. Physical fitness—Just do it!
Did you know that FM 7-22 is a validated program that improves APFT pass rates, reduces injury, and improves Soldier performance on WTBDs? Your Master Fitness Trainers can help you design an exciting fitness program built upon the scientific basics provided in FM 7-22! Ensure your fitness program matches your METL and encourages your Soldiers to become stronger! Want to learn about the “Essential Seven” exercises to build strength and toughness?
Athletes who are injured use the best science to ensure they can “return to play” to maximize reintegration without increasing risk for re-injury. Don’t your Soldiers deserve the same? Preventing re-injury with a formal reconditioning program is scientifically proven. Did you know the Brigade or installation physical therapist can help ensure your PRT program is optimal for those returning from injury? Did you know that FM 7-22 includes reconditioning standards for Soldiers coming off Profiles? Instead of dumping them back in unit PT and asking them to walk during unit PT, establish a higher standard—rehabilitation and reconditioning. FM 7-22 chapter 6 has a fully developed program that is ready to execute. Your Master Fitness Trainer (MFT), physical therapist, and the Army Wellness Center can help keep your tactical athletes at their top performance!
8. Integrate sleep science into mission planning!
Fatigue, confusion, and decreased vigor are common during sustained operations. Did you know that just 72 hours of sustained operations can lead to 220% increase in missed targets, 22% decrease in reaction time, and 86% increase in decision-making errors? If you want Soldiers to perform at their peak in war, they need to learn fighter management skills during training. Realistic training is a key component of making Soldiers effective in combat.
Exciting research on sleep banking and sleep planning can be incorporated into your missions. Sleep banking can help Soldiers prepare for sustained operations or longer training events like National Training Center or Joint Readiness Training Center. Does your unit know how to use caffeine to optimize performance during sustained operations? Track the performance and accidents. Did you see a difference?
9. Leverage downtimes and training briefs with the P3!
Soldiers complain about our “hurry up and wait” culture—use that time to focus on performance! Have a P3 Challenge Guide module ready from hip-pocket training. Discuss a sleep, activity or nutrition topic with your Soldiers and present a weekly challenge.
Looking for a quick OPD or NCOPD? How about P3, sleep, activity and nutrition topics? Check the P3 webpage for topics. Do you have an upcoming safety brief to deliver for an upcoming holiday weekend? Do a two-fer. Get your mandatory message out, while infusing strategic messaging on appropriate sleep, activity and nutrition. Fatigue related accidents are serious business, but the first step is education on the appropriate need for sleep and fatigue management.
10. Hang it up! Get the word out!
Customize the P3 social media messages for your unit. Posting and tweeting the daily social media message can help promote performance! This is the easiest way to get the message out.