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What is the Potential Role of Functional Motor Competence to Promote Physical Military Readiness?

Research Paper Title

The Potential Role of Functional Motor Competence to Promote Physical Military Readiness: A Developmental Perspective.

Background

Decreased physical fitness in military recruiting populations is problematic for the development of physical military readiness (PMR) and presents a threat to national security.

The demonstration of low levels of fitness may be an indicator of a more foundational problem in the physical development of military recruits.

The researchers propose the development of functional motor competence (FMC) across childhood and adolescence as a necessary antecedent to advanced PMR training and military-specific tasks (i.e. rucking and obstacle course navigation) and as an integral part of sustained PMR.

The development of FMC supports increases in cardiovascular and muscular endurance through repeated efforts performed during practice and in sport, as well as muscular power as many FMC movements mimic plyometrics in a strength in conditioning sense.

The researchers posit that an inadequate foundation in FMC will serve as a barrier to achieving sufficient PMR and combat success of the fighting force. They propose three possible solutions to ensure sufficient PMR levels through the implementation of developmentally appropriate FMC-based training.

  • First would be promoting FMC-based training in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) and ROTC programmes.
  • Second would be a more global approach, on the scale of the National Defence Education Act, specifically focusing on promoting quality daily physical education that could reach millions of children.
  • Third, individual branches could begin promoting the tenets of foundational FMC training concepts in their physical training manuals, which ideally would address FMC before and throughout basic training, as well as subsequent active duty training.

Reference

Silvey, K., Porter, J., Sacko, R.S., Hand, A.F., Terlizzi, B.M., Abrams, T.C. & Stodden, D.F. (2021) The Potential Role of Functional Motor Competence to Promote Physical Military Readiness: A Developmental Perspective. Military Medicine. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usab043. Online ahead of print.

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