Air Force Special Tactics


Posted by Coach John


Recently I was invited to an Air Force Special Ops orientation camp to help potential Special Operation (Spec Ops) candidates improve their swimming skills. The camp was designed to give the applicants a more in-depth understanding of the physical and job-related scope of their future roles. Twenty candidates from around the Southeast attended this 3-day camp in a remote base in Mississippi.



Through a relationship that Team MPI and the Air Force have developed over the past several months, this coaching opportunity was offered and I, of course, accepted!  The Air Force Special Tactics include elite forces that are very similar to the  Navy Seals and Army Special forces. Due to the difficult nature of their job, Special Tactics endure yearlong training that is one of the most demanding in the military with attrition rates near 80 to 90 percent. The leaders of this camp asked that I instruct the students in developing power and efficiency in their swim that would aid them not only in their qualifying tests but also in their combat and rescue missions.

I arrived at the gate and met my escorts who made it possible for me to get on base. Our first stop was a classroom to listen to a few active duty Special Tactics Instructors who explained the “pipeline” of training. Of the 22 potential applicants, predictably only 2-4 will be selected to begin the year-plus training.  After this presentation we headed to the pool.

Following a quick intro, I gave a general overview of how I thought the applicants could be smarter and more efficient in the water. My talk was not any different from how I would explain swimming (Balance, Body Roll, Propulsion and Pacing) to our triathletes.  We then put the eager airmen in the water. They learned drills and the rational for the drills. They practiced some stroke counting and pacing.  After about 90 minutes we finished up with a team-building relay.  It was a great session with some very impressive and motivated guys. I must say that the patriot in me felt honored to work with these individuals. 

At Team MPI, we coaches absolutely love new and unique opportunities to work with athletes of all ages and for all sports and professions.  I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and look forward to continuing this relationship with the Air Force Special Tactics Unit.



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