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Peak EEs/EHEs
Record Type: Review   ID: 581

Training Lessons Learned From Peak Performance Episodes

Fobes, J.L.

"Requirement: High quality performance will be essential to prevail on the battlefield envisioned for the 21st century. Consequently, a major challenge confronting US Army readiness is obtaining optimal performance from both its human and machine resources. Force modernization towards ARMY 21 has benefited greatly from R&D on equipment technologies. Comparable R&D efforts are needed to obtain breakthroughs for optimizing individual and group performance. This requirement can be set in part through an understanding of performance regulation and related training technologies that can enhance Army performance.

Procedure: The training concept described here is derived from an examination of instances of exceptional achievement--peak performances. Factors accompanying episodes of peak performance in soldiers and athletes were identified through two major sources. Information was obtained from literature reviews of data bases dealing with peak performance in the military, sports, psychology/medicine, and biological sciences as well as from interviews conducted with athletes and members of the military.

Findings: The examination of episodes of peak performance indicates that three cognitive components enable these episodes: psychological readiness, information processing, and endurance management. There is also evidence indicating that endorphins underlie these processes. Accordingly, performance can be enhanced through two strategies; one approach for future development is teaching self-regulation of endorphin levels. The other more immediately available solution is to use contemporary sports psychology training techniques to optimize the psychological processes underlying superior performance. With either strategy, superior performance will result from an enhanced cognitive ability to cope that is specifically and continuously tailored to meet the conditions and demands of particular activities.

Utilization of Findings: This report identifies the scientific basis for several training strategies that can be developed for enhanced Army performance. These training approaches will help to meet the ARMY 21 goal to accomplish more with less manpower."

Publisher Information:Alexandria, VA: U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, June 1986. [Technical Report 711] 29p. 52 refs; 1 table
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