Chapter 9 – Competitive Fitness Activities
Physical fitness is one of the foundations of combat readiness, and maintaining it must be an integral part of every soldier’s life. This chapter discusses competitive fitness activities and athletic events that commanders can use to add variety to a unit’s physical fitness program. There is also a section on developing a unit intramural program. Athletic and competitive fitness activities are sports events which should only be used to supplement the unit’s PT program. They should never replace physical training and conditioning sessions but, rather, should exist to give soldiers a chance for healthy competition. Only through consistent, systematic physical conditioning can the fitness components be developed and maintained.
Crucial to the success of any program is the presence and enthusiasm of the leaders who direct and participate in it. The creativity of the physical training planners also plays a large role. Competitive fitness and athletic activities must be challenging. They must be presented in the spirit of fair play and good competition.
It is generally accepted that competitive sports have a tremendous positive influence on the physical and emotional development of the participants. Sports competition can enhance a soldier’s combat readiness by promoting the development of coordination, agility, balance, and speed. Competitive fitness activities also help develop assets that are vital to combat effectiveness. These include team spirit, the will to win, confidence, toughness, aggressiveness, and teamwork.