Preparing for BUDS with Sports
Many students in SEAL training are former athletes, whose training background can make a difference on how well they perform through the school. Here is an email from a young man asking about playing sports in high school to build his foundation before he goes to Navy SEAL training.
Dear Stew, I am thinking about joining my school wrestling team. I already know that wrestlers do better than the average person at BUD/S, but are there any statistics of wrestling success? And in one of your articles, it said that you have wrestled. How does wrestling compare to BUD/S? Thank you for your time. Neal
Well, I did more than just wrestle. I wrestled three years, played football, power lifted, baseball for ten years, and ran track throughout my 4 years of high school. Then I played rugby in college. Therefore, can I say wrestling helped me through BUD/S? NO, but it was part of many activities that helped me get through BUD/S. The above may sound impressive, but I was never great at anything -- just good enough at all of them.
In BUD/S, wrestlers have traditionally done well. However if you are not a good swimmer or comfortable in the water, it does not matter how great you are at any previously played sport. But yes, traditionally it used to be that if a wrestler was a good swimmer they did very well at BUDS. I will say now though that most BUDS graduates these days are Lacrosse players (who can also swim).
Sorry, but I do not have any statistics on who are the best Navy SEAL students / graduates. I am sure someone in Navy recruiting has them.
But to answer the other part of your question -- nothing compares to BUDS. My sports gave me a good foundation of hard work / teamwork / competition that you need to make it through BUDS. Being a competitive person with a history of active competition and tough enough to keep playing with pain when needed are invaluable skills that will help you become a BUD/S graduate. Mental toughness and a never quit attitude is born from motivation, which evolves into daily discipline and fitness training habits.
Good luck with the remaining years of high school. The thing to remember is to work hard, study hard, stay out of trouble, and be a kid. Do something you like to do. There is plenty of time to practice for the specifics of the BUD/S PST and actual events BUD/S training in between sports seasons or after high school. Do not be in such a big hurry to get to boot camp. Join the Navy SpecWar program when you are ready physically and mentally.
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