2014 Warrior Games

Performance Enhancement Training Gives Army Athletes an Edge at the 2014 Warrior Games

September 15, 2014

By Caitlin Morrison
Warrior Transition Command

CSF2 Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Expert Susan Goodman explains performance enhancement techniques to archery coaches John Fuller and Jeremy Velez at the 2014 U.S. Army Warrior Trials held at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
U.S. Army photo

Susan Goodman readied the “emWave” program on an iPad while I clipped a small sensor to my earlobe. “This will track your pulse and coherence,” she explained. Coherence refers to when your heart, brain and nervous system are all in sync, a very important balance for Soldiers and athletes. Goodman took me through a series of exercises to work on deliberate breathing, which increases oxygenation and coherence. At each step she explained my results.

“You had a perfect coherence score with the physical round,” she told me, pointing at the charts. Each round was designated to practicing a different technique—mental, physical and emotional—to determine which worked best for each individual.

Goodman has been working with the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) Training Center at Fort Riley, Kansas, since 2013. While living in Chicago, she volunteered at the 2011 Valor Games, which was her first exposure to the crossover between sport psychology, adaptive sports and the military. She was pursuing her Masters in Counseling at the Adler School in Chicago at the time, with a specialization in sport and health psychology. “The Valor Games showed me the connection between what adaptive sports are and how it fits into the military,” she said.

The Army is one of the largest employers for this field, so Goodman applied and was assigned to Fort Riley, which was just standing up their installation CSF2 Training Center. At Fort Riley, Goodman supports all aspects of the Army with her six colleagues. She works with the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) to teach the performance enhancement curriculum quarterly and works with the adaptive reconditioning program. These trainings are also important to Soldiers outside of the WTB, particularly combatants. Goodman works with Soldiers in every type of unit to improve their overall performance through strengthening focus and concentration, goal-setting and use of imagery.

Goodman and other CSF2 Master Resilience Trainers- Performance Experts (MRT-PEs) attended the 2014 U.S. Army Warrior Trials at the U.S. Army Military Academy, West Point, New York, to support the athletes. They held workshops during the training weeks to help them create routines and practice deliberate breathing with the emWave.

“During the competition a lot of archers came up to me and said their heat rate was getting high,” she said. She then walked them through visualizing where their heart rate was on the emWave. “It was exciting to see the guys in the final stop to take some breaths and really internalize what we taught them.”

Goodman works primarily with archers for Warrior Trials and Warrior Games. “Archery is about controlling what you can control,” she tells the athletes. “Once that arrow has left your bow, there’s nothing you can change about that. Take that feedback and focus on the next shot.”

Goodman will be working with athletes again at the 2014 Warrior Games in Colorado over the next few weeks.