Can We Develop Physical Capability Standards that are Predictive of Success on SF Courses?

Research Paper Title

Developing Physical Capability Standards that are Predictive of Success on Special Forces Selection Courses.

Background

This study aimed to develop minimum standards for physical capability assessments (vertical jump, sit and reach, push-ups, seven-stage sit-ups, heaves, agility, 20-m shuttle run, loaded 5-km pack march, and 400-m swim) that candidates must pass before they can commence Australian Army Special Forces (SF) selection courses.

Methods

Soldiers (Part A: n = 104; Part B: n = 92) completed the physical capability assessments before commencing a SF selection course. At the beginning of these selection courses, participants attempted two barrier assessments (3.2-km battle run and 20-km march).

Results

Statistical analysis revealed several physical capability assessments were associated with performance on the barrier assessments and selection course outcome (Part A); however, these statistical models were unable to correctly classify all candidates as likely to pass or fail the selection course. Alternatively, manual analysis identified a combination of physical capability standards that correctly classified 14% to 18% of candidates likely to fail, without excluding any candidates able to pass (Part A). The standards were applied and refined through Part B and included completing the 5-km pack march in ≤45:45 minutes : seconds, achieving ≥level five on the sit-up test, or completing ≥66 push-ups.

Conclusions

Implementation of these standards may reduce attrition rates and enhance the efficiency of the SF recruitment process.

Reference

Hunt, A.P., Orr, R.M. & Billing, D.C. (2013) Developing Physical Capability Standards that are Predictive of Success on Special Forces Selection Courses. Military Medicine. 178(6), pp.619-624.

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