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ASU Army ROTC, College of Health Solutions partner to provide specialized cadet training program


ASU ROTC students lifting weights.

Jray Sotiangco (left) and Sean Valentine (right) during the Tactical Athlete Seminar on Jan. 4. Photo courtesy ASU Army ROTC

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February 08, 2022

Last month, Arizona State University’s Army ROTC and the College of Health Solutions joined forces to hold the second-ever semi-annual Tactical Athlete Seminar, a three-day program on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus to train cadet coaches to lead physical training programs at ASU and Grand Canyon University.

Through the program, over 20 ROTC cadets gained tactical proficiency in a number of areas, including foundational movement, coach-to-coach mentor training and recovery nutrition. ASU professors and subject matter experts taught cadets how to develop a physical training plan that will allow them to improve their performance on the Army Combat Fitness Test. 

This is the beginning of a new partnership between ASU’s Army ROTC and the College of Health Solutions to accelerate the university’s cadet physical fitness program

“This program will lay a strong foundation in combat readiness for cadets as they progress in their military careers and lead as officers in their future units,” said Capt. Tim Martin, assistant professor in the Department of Military Sciences. “We have already seen tremendous improvement in cadets’ (Army Combat Fitness Test) scores from fall semester and look to build on that moving forward this spring.”

Three faculty members from the College of Health Solutions led and designed the programming: Lecturer Rachel Larson, Senior Lecturer Joe Marsit and Assistant Professor Floris Wardenaar.

Larson instructed cadets on fitness during the seminar, focusing on assessment, mobility and strength, resistance training and exercise programming.

“The seminar is important not only for our students within the College of Health Solutions but also the ROTC students. Our seminar educates and equips leaders within the ROTC program with the proper knowledge to assist their underclassmen and fellow cadets with training to meet fitness standards. With more knowledge on proper fitness preparation, training can occur in a safe and productive manner,” Larson said. “With the new occupational opportunities within the military for strength and conditioning professionals, our students will be better equipped to apply and be selected for these positions.”

People lifting weights

Grand Canyon University students Viviana Mora (left) and Nicole Hartley (right) during the Tactical Athlete Seminar on Jan. 4. Photo courtesy ASU Army ROTC

Larson added that the response from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, and the faculty will continue to improve the programming to meet student needs.

“It has been an honor to work with such a great group of individuals. These cadets are able to gain the valuable experience they need to succeed,” she said. “All of the faculty involved have been very engaged and dedicated to the education of our Sun Devil Battalion. We have worked to refine the seminar and have offered two (weeklong) courses already."

One of the seminar participants was Crystal Pittman, a senior working toward a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with a minor in military leadership, who is the cadet command sergeant major for ASU’s Sun Devil Battalion. Having served in the Army for 10 years, Pittman said she enjoyed the hands-on experience provided through the seminar and is eager to utilize the skills she learned in her future career.

“The tactical athlete seminar gave me tools to better myself as an athlete and a soldier, and to also be able to coach other cadets and develop them,” Pittman said. “This program gives you foundational information that you can take with you and develop into a stronger, faster, more agile soldier and athlete, which in turn will make you more resilient and perform better.”

Moving forward, those involved hope to continue the momentum of the seminar, conducting it regularly at the beginning of each academic semester.

The next Tactical Athlete Seminar will take place in fall 2022. Students interested in participating should contact Joe Marsit and join the Athletics and Tactical Performance Affinity Network in the College of Health Solutions.

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