“The American Soldier…demands professional competence in his leaders in battle; he wants
to know that the job is going to be done right, with no unnecessary casualties. The noncommissioned officer wearing the chevron is supposed to be the best Soldier in the platoon, and he is supposed to know how to perform all duties expected of him. The American Soldier expects his sergeant to be able to teach him how to do his job, and expects even more from his officers.”
General of the Army Omar N. Bradley
Throughout history, the Army has had confident leaders of character and competence. Leaders develop through a dynamic process consisting of three equally important training domains: operational, institutional, and self-development IAW AR 350-1. The process incorporating these domains provides the following key leadership elements: fundamental military specialty experience; education that instills key competencies; personal and professional development goals that enable leaders to develop the skills, the knowledge, and the attitudes needed for success. Leaders at all levels should understand that PRT improves Soldier resiliency, which is a vital component of a combat-ready force. This chapter addresses the importance of leadership as it applies to PRT.
3-1. The success or failure of the PRT program depends upon the quality of its leadership. Leadership is the process of influencing Soldiers by providing purpose, direction, and motivation. The best outcome results only when Soldiers extend themselves completely in strenuous physical activities and perform all exercises in the prescribed form. Officers and NCOs lead, train, motivate, and inspire their Soldiers. Only the best leadership can inspire Soldiers to cooperate to this extent. For these reasons, only the best qualified NCOs in the unit should lead PRT. The leader must exemplify the Army adage: Be, Know, Do.
3-2. All officers, NCOs, and PRT leaders must set and enforce standards through complete mastery of this TC. They must not only be able to explain and demonstrate all activities, but also must know the best methods of presenting and conducting them. Leaders set the example. The PRT leader demonstrates tactical and technical competence through a mastery of PRT subject matter. Mastery is the first step in developing confidence, assurance, and poise. Thorough knowledge of this TC allows the PRT leader to apply the training principles of precision, progression, and integration needed to attain Soldier physical readiness. Skill in demonstrating and leading all PRT exercises, drills, and activities is essential to teaching technique and is invaluable to the PRT leader. The unprepared, hesitant leader loses the confidence and respect of Soldiers almost immediately. The well-prepared, confident leader gains the respect and cooperation of all Soldiers at the outset.
PHYSICAL QUALIFICATIONS AND APPEARANCE
3-3. The personal appearance and physical qualifications of the PRT leader affect his effectiveness. He should exemplify the things he is seeking to teach. It is a great advantage if the leader himself can do all and more than he asks of his men. He must be physically fit because PRT leadership is so strenuous that considerable strength, endurance, and mobility are essential prerequisites for success.
KNOWLEDGE OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR
3-4. Successful leadership in PRT requires the leader to know and appreciate the individual physical and mental differences of his Soldiers. He must get to know his Soldiers as individuals and be quick to recognize signs indicating their reactions to his instruction. The successful PRT leader ensures that his subordinates
understand the critical importance of PRT to the successful accomplishment of WTBDs in support of the unit‘s
C-or D-METL. This is accomplished by understanding Soldiers, knowing how to lead and motivate them, understanding how they learn, and using this knowledge in PRT sessions. To succeed, PRT leaders must have the confidence of the Soldiers. He gains their confidence by winning their respect. He wins their respect by his sincerity, integrity, determination, sense of justice, energy, self-confidence, and force of character. A leader who has the admiration and respect of his Soldiers easily secures their cooperation. The leader treats the Soldiers with consideration and avoids imposing unreasonable physical demands on them. If Soldiers are exercised too violently, they become so stiff and sore that they look upon the next PRT session with apprehension. When this happens, Soldiers can develop an antagonistic attitude toward the leader and the program. Instead of cooperating, they will malinger at every opportunity.
3-5. Another essential quality of the PRT leader is enthusiasm. Successful Army PRT activities must be carried on in a continuous and vigorous manner. Soldiers reflect the attitude of the PRT leader. If the leader is enthusiastic, his instructed Soldiers will be enthusiastic. If the leader is apathetic, his instructed Soldiers will be apathetic. The enthusiasm of a leader springs from the realization of the importance of the mission. Leaders must be inspired by the thought that what they do every minute of every day may mean the difference between life and death. There is no more effective method of obtaining the energetic, wholehearted participation of Soldiers in the PRT program than by providing skilled, enthusiastic leadership.
“The instructor must lose himself in his work, must demand precision, encourage here,
correct there, reprove one man, and boost another. In fact, he must so strive himself, that his men will be proud of their leader in every way, proud of his appearance, proud of his ability, proud of his fairness, and proud because their instructor is helping to make their organization
the best in the Army.”
LTC Herman J. Koehler, First Master of the Sword, United States Military Academy
3-6. A successful PRT program requires the full cooperation of all Soldiers. Orderly movement of Soldiers and units requires a precise and unified effort. A Soldier belongs to a team that works smoothly when every Soldier plays his part. Each Soldier knows what to do in response to a command as well as what his fellow Soldiers must do. The Soldier‘s confidence in the team grows until he feels as sure of them as he does of himself. The final result is teamwork, and teamwork is attained though the medium of drills.
3-7. A drill consists of certain movements that allow the unit to conduct an activity with order and precision. Drills train Soldiers to do their parts exactly so that, on command, the unit moves instantly and smoothly. Drill training starts the day a Soldier enters the Army. In the beginning, he is taught the movements of his feet and arms used in PRT, marching, and handling the weapon. He is trained in all these activities until he reaches a point where he does them automatically in response to a command. He is then placed in a unit and trained to do all these activities with other Soldiers. Squads, platoons, and companies drill with the smoothness of machinery. The result is cooperative, unified action—teamwork. Soldiers are at their best when inspired to have pride in themselves and their organization. This pride finds expression in perfect response to command.
3-8. Commanders and leaders at all levels may provide one of the best incentives for their Soldiers when they are visible and actively participate in PRT. When Soldiers feel their chain of command believes in PRT to the extent that they themselves regularly engage in the activities, they are motivated to greater effort. Troops also develop a greater esprit de corps and respect for their officers and NCOs when all actively participate. Finally, the frequent use of Soldiers as assistant instructors (AIs) also serves as an incentive. Soldiers will work hard for this honor and positively respond to AI responsibilities.
3-9. Leaders must provide facilities and funds to support a PRT program that will develop physical readiness in all Soldiers.
3-10. Exercise drill activities require flat, grassy areas. The GD, speed, and sustained running require well lighted running routes, tracks, and marked fields. Strength development requires kettlebells, step-up benches, and climbing bars.
3-11. Leaders must follow training guidelines for individual, reconditioning, pregnancy, and post-partum weight control, APFT failure, and new Soldier programs.
3-12. Soldiers learn all exercises by name, sequence, and movement. This ensures efficient use of time and precision of execution.
3-13. Assistant instructors must remove Soldiers who need corrective training from the formation. This applies to Soldiers not performing exercises, drills or activities to standard. The AI corrects all mistakes and ensures proper execution.
SCHEDULING AND SUPERVISING
3-14. Leaders responsible for scheduling and supervising PRT should take the following actions:
- Make PRT as important as any other training activity.
- Dedicate sufficient time for PRT (60 to 90 minutes).
- Avoid substituting other training or routine duties during scheduled PRT.
- Schedule and conduct PRT when it makes the most sense. Physical readiness training should not be reserved only for the early morning hours and may run during or at the end of the duty day.
- Prevent the misuse of allotted PRT time by using qualified personnel to supervise and lead.
- Provide for mass participation regardless of rank, age or gender during every PRT session.
- Adhere to PRT schedules for the toughening and the sustaining phases.
- Use appropriate PRT formations.
- Use preparatory commands and commands of execution.
- Use cadence appropriate for planned activities.
- Require PRT leaders to lead and conduct activities with the Soldiers to determine appropriate intensity levels.
- Require one AI for every 15 Soldiers.
- Require AIs to supervise the execution of all PRT activities and make appropriate corrections.
3-15. Leaders have the latitude to adjust the PRT schedule to balance it with other training to avoid conflicts with physically demanding events that can lead to overtraining. For example, if the confidence obstacle course (CFOC) is the day‘s main physical training event, leaders should not schedule strength training for PRT (unless it is conducted later in the training day). If conflicts cannot be resolved, PRT should be performed after a physically demanding event (later in the duty day), rather than before the event (in the morning) for safety reasons. It is also acceptable to not conduct the scheduled PRT session in order to provide adequate rest and recovery.
Summary Leaders are challenged with scheduling and executing PRT programs that ensure Soldiers and units are prepared to successfully perform their wartime mission. Effective leadership is essential to the success of any program. Successful leaders possess qualities that gain the confidence and respect of their Soldiers.