Leaving for basic combat training, also known as boot camp, can stir your emotions. You may be feeling anxious, excited, frightened, and stressed out. There are things you can do to make the transition from civilian to soldier easier. Here are some tips for surviving basic combat training.
Basic Combat Training Tip # 1 – Prepare Your Body
Preparing for basic combat training takes time. You must prepare yourself physically and mentally, prior to arriving at your basic combat training site. Physical preparation is only ten percent of your success, while mental preparation is about ninety percent. To prepare yourself physically, pay close attention to the information you receive from your recruiter. If your recruiter has not given you any information on the physical standards expected of you, ask for it. Find out how fast you have to run for your physical training test, how many push-ups are required of you, and how many sit-ups you must do in order to successfully complete basic combat training.
Once you have received the information on the physical fitness standards, set up a training schedule. Try to delegate Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays as running days and Tuesdays and Thursdays as your strength training days. Remember to gradually work your way up and do not over exert your body as this can cause injuries. By preparing yourself physically, you will be well ahead of your fellow basic combat trainees.
Basic Combat Training Tip # 2 – Prepare Your Mind
It is a well-known fact that mental games are a major part of basic combat training. The drill sergeants will try to intimidate you and play mind games with you. You must be prepared to not let them get into your head. You must understand it is the drill sergeants’ jobs to break you down so they can build you up to be model soldiers. This is the main process of basic combat training. You must be prepared to have less sleep than you are used to and having to do everything a certain way. To succeed at the mind games of basic combat training you will need to be prepared for yelling and being awaken at any time of the night to do some physical training, which is often referred to as a “smoke session.” Always remember, it is always mind over matter.
Basic Combat Training Tip # 3 – Listen, Then Execute
During basic combat training, you will be asked to do many different things. Some of these things can be very complex and if you do not get it right it could end up with a smoke session. Always listen to what your drill sergeant has told you prior to executing the order. You must follow every bit of detail in order to be successful. You do not want to partially execute an order because you decided it would be better to skip a step. If you do not follow orders exactly as given, you will be made into an example and that can be very embarrassing and set you up to be picked on by the other trainees and drill sergeants.
Basic Combat Training Tip # 4 – Make a Few Friends
If you want to get through basic combat training, it is imperative to make a few friends. By having friends you are extending your support system. Many of your best friends in life may be those with whom you went through basic combat. You and your platoon are like a family so get to know a few and become buddies with them. This is beneficial because you can help each other out during harder tasks and support each other during hard times.
Basic Combat Training Tip # 5 – Volunteer
Many people may be told to never volunteer for anything in the Army because you will be the one the drill sergeants pick to task out. This is not the case. Volunteering can display your eagerness to become a leader within the platoon. With that being said, you should not volunteer for every detail or project which may come up, but step up will gain you respect from both the drill sergeants and your fellow trainees. For instance, volunteer to do KP (kitchen detail), which many do not like to do, after all you will eventually have to do it during your nine week basic combat training. This gives you the chance to relax to an extent and get away from the daily training.
Basic Combat Training Tip # 6 – Study, Study, Study
I cannot stress enough how important it is to study your soldier’s handbook. You will receive this once you arrive at the reception battalion of your basic combat training center. This book is full of regulations, rank structure, and historical information. You must read this book and know just about everything inside this book. You will be quizzed from time to time on subjects such as Army Values and the Soldiers Creed. By studying this book, during your downtime, you will make basic combat training less stressful on yourself.
These tips for surviving basic combat training are things I learned when I went through basic combat training. If you follow these tips you can make your basic combat training less stressful and even enjoyable. As long as you are prepared, you will finish your basic combat training successfully.