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A Commanding Common’s Intent, and What it Means for Your Coaching

by Grant Broggi, SSC | August 13, 2019

When a Marine commander takes command of a unit, one of many first issues they do is publish their intent for the people that they now command. A commander’s intent for a unit might be likened to a “imaginative and prescient” for these beneath his cost, or extra clearly, what function these people (Marines and Sailors) ought to really feel they serve day after day. The brand new Commanding Common of the Fourth Marine Division (4th Mar Div) just lately revealed his intent for the roughly 17,000 Marines and Sailors that make up the division, laying out his function and what they need to accomplish.

The 4th Mar Div, in contrast to the opposite divisions within the Marine Corps, is comprised of the reserves. The opposite divisions within the Marine Corps are made up of all lively responsibility Marines – Marines that placed on the uniform and serve 365 days a yr. This isn’t the case for the 4th Mar Div. Right here, there are solely a handful of lively responsibility Marines, and the overwhelming majority are reservists, which means they’re solely lively two to 3 days per thirty days (one weekend plus two weeks in the summertime). The division has the identical requirements, the identical necessities, and should be prepared at a second’s discover to reply the nation’s name, similar to the opposite divisions, aside from that one small caveat. They solely have 38 days a yr to be a Marine, which equates to lower than 10% of what the lively responsibility divisions have. But one way or the other, yr after yr, for the reason that division’s inception in 1943, they’ve been in a position to accomplish their mission: augmenting the lively responsibility divisions with combat-trained personnel throughout a time of struggle. 

How is that this doable? How can a unit that trains 38 out of 365 days a yr be ready for battle, to struggle alongside the active-duty element? I’ll inform you how. Whereas the present normal could have only recently laid out his intent for the Marine Reservists that make up the 4th Mar Div, it’s a abstract of what the division has been doing for over 70 years. It’s a concise 4 factors that each Marine can bear in mind even when they solely placed on the uniform 38 days a yr. And if these 4 factors are utilized to your coaching, you’ll have success within the weight room simply because the division does on the battlefield.

As an grownup male there are two issues on which I’ve spent nearly all of my time: being a Marine and barbell coaching. These two issues have consumed my ideas, and they’re utterly intertwined all through my life. However what does it imply for you? Properly, after I heard Brigadier Common Michael Martin’s (commander of 4th Mar Div) intent I noticed he was doing me an enormous favor. He was letting me know methods to focus my efforts as a Marine Officer on my unit, whereas concurrently letting me know methods to focus my efforts as a barbell coach on my lifters. So take into account your self considered one of my lifters, and apply these concepts to your coaching.

The 4 Tenets of the Commanding Common’s Intent Utilized to Your Coaching

1. Mastery of the Fundamentals, Brilliance within the Fundamentals: You can’t do the advanced for those who can’t do the easy.

For the Marine: “Brilliance within the Fundamentals” is just not a brand new time period within the Marine Corps. It’s one thing that Common James Mattis first coined throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom within the early 2000s when giving his “imaginative and prescient” to all of his subordinate commanders earlier than heading into battle. Over my time within the Marine Corps, I’ve heard this time period in nearly each coaching evolution I’ve participated in. It’s the idea that you have to get actually good on the primary factor earlier than you may even attempt to do the advanced factor. Or, that when you have got mastered the fundamental factor (loading your rifle), you’ll be prepared to perform the extra advanced (conducting an ambush).

For the lifter: You already know you want to be sturdy. In the event you didn’t, then you wouldn’t have discovered this text. You realize that you just get sturdy by means of the massive barbell lifts: the squat, press, bench press, and deadlift (as a result of they use probably the most muscle mass). So now, you simply have to grasp these actions. Grasp the fundamentals. Don’t fear about your paused squat, about including bands and chains, about price of perceived exertion, sumo deadlifts, or dynamic effort. That can simply waste your time. Fear in regards to the fundamentals. Fear about methods to carry out the fundamental again squat safely and effectively. Fear about methods to pull a set of 5 deadlifts in full lumbar extension, even when it’s heavy and really, very arduous. You aren’t an expert athlete; for those who had been, you’ll be getting paid to exercise. As an alternative, you might be paying to work out. Grasp the fundamentals. Rent a coach, and be good within the fundamentals.

2. Blocking and Tackling: Offense and Protection

For the Marine (particularly the Marine Reservist): Blocking and tackling is utilized throughout these 2-Three days per thirty days that you just put on the uniform. It’s a sports activities analogy that goes again to the primary level of mastering the fundamentals, nevertheless it holds true to coaching Marines for fight. Machine gun drills, offensive assaults, reinforcing a defensive place, these are the blocking and tackling drills that Marines should be centered on no matter their explicit job within the Marine Corps. There’s nothing advanced right here, time is proscribed, simply block and sort out, hone the fundamental offense and defensive expertise.

For the lifter:

Blocking: block the issues that maintain you out of the gymnasium. Block your excuses. Block your aches, pains, and minor accidents (they are going to come). Get to the gymnasium 3 times every week and practice. That’s it. That is the offense. 

grant broggi coaches the squat

Tackling: sort out your exercise. Time is proscribed for you as effectively; you might be busy with loads to perform. You realize what your exercise is – you have got your numbers out of your final session. Don’t waste time: get to the bar, get beneath the bar, put within the work, and measure your progress.

3. Repetitions and Units

“The extra you sweat in coaching, the much less you bleed in struggle.” –  SgtMaj Mike Miller

Brilliance within the Fundamentals and Blocking & Tackling all come collectively by means of the third level, Reps and Units.

For the Marine: It means conducting your drills once more, and once more, and once more. As an Artillery Officer, I’ve watched numerous Part Chiefs (The Marines accountable for a howitzer) practice their gun crews (5-7 cannoneers assigned to a gun) on methods to make use of (emplace, load, and shoot) their howitzer. Some can do it shortly, some not so shortly. Some want numerous yelling, hand pointing and purple faces, whereas some appear to be the masterful conductor of an orchestra. The distinction between a extremely proficient gun crew that may shortly shoot artillery rounds and one that appears like a circus is reps and units. The proficient crew has not wasted any time, they’ve maximized each minute they’re carrying the uniform, and have constructed confidence by doing it over and over.

For the lifter: It’s not an analogy. It’s what we do. Three units of 5. Over and over. The exercise doesn’t change, the load adjustments. Power goes up. Reps and units. Every rep builds confidence, every time you get beneath the bar even whenever you suppose that it could not transfer builds confidence for the following set. That is what makes us stronger (actually); elevated stress to drive adaptation. Exercise after exercise. Rep after rep. Set after set.

4. Okay.I.S.S. Hold it easy, silly.

When the highest advisor to the Common just lately defined the Common’s 4 factors, he acknowledged the next when he acquired to quantity 4: “Is there actually something extra we have to add?” After which he stop speaking. On this case, I really feel there are some things that we might.

For the Marine: No matter your job within the Marine Corps, be good at it. Each Marine is a rifleman, so keep true to the “blocking and tackling” of what really is offense and protection. Get higher by means of repetitions and units, practice your self and your Marines over and over. Hold it easy – not the whole lot might be prioritized

For the Lifter: Get a coach and grasp the fundamental barbell lifts. Be constant, get to the gymnasium 3 times every week, and be able to carry out your exercises. Hit the reps and units, three units of 5 repetitions, add weight every time. Pressure your physique to adapt. Hold it easy, as a result of there’s no want for extra train, loopy rep schemes, or tying your self up with rubber bands. Practice your physique, over and over.

The Fourth Marine Division got here to be in 1943 for service in World Warfare II. By early 1944 they had been preventing the Japanese all through the pacific, making 4 main amphibious assaults over 13 months. Components of the division had been as soon as once more deployed in help of each Operation Desert Protect and Operation Desert Storm within the early 1990s; offering combat-ready items inside 32 days of activation. To at the present time Marines from the division are deployed in help of operations throughout the globe. The division just lately misplaced three Marines to an IED assault in Afghanistan on eight April 2019.


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