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Navy SEAL - Is it for You?

stew smith

This week a young man about to go to college emailed me with some specific questions about preparing for SEAL training as well as other special forces in our military. It seems he is trying to figure out his future and what service is right for him. That is a tough decision, but if done with some self-realization you can make a wise choice for your personality.

For me, I always have loved the ocean. I guess growing up in Florida helped me realize that, so Navy made a lot of sense to me. And most Navy bases are very close to a nice beach! That was a big draw too. The option to choose SEAL Teams was really a no-brainer too. I grew up in or near the water (swamp, lake, river, ocean) hunting and fishing, played several sports in high school so the active outdoor lifestyle of being a SEAL appealed to me the most. And continuing to be apart of a team was a must for me. For you and others like you, you should look at the last ten years of your life and ask yourself:

1 – Did I swim, SCUBA dive, surf and become comfortable in the water – even at night?

2 – Did I enjoy running, and back-packing in the woods and mountains?

3 – Did I play sports and understand what it means to be a part of a team?

4 – Were sports like football, wrestling, track, swimming, lacrosse, and soccer challenging physically and mentally?

5 – Did I learn to play with pain and understand the difference between being hurt and being injured?

6- Did I workout nearly everyday and feel like you cheated yourself when you skip a workout?

If you can answer yes to these types of introspective questions, then you might be right for SEALs / EOD or other Special Forces like Army SF, or Marine RECON, or Air Force PJ.

Below are the young man's questions concerning his future choices:

1. What sports should I do to keep up my level of fitness before I attend BUD/s?

I would recommend Swimming, running track, wrestling, then again any contact sport will do. SEALs come from all types of backgrounds. One is not better than the other, but it helps to understand teamwork and playing with pain / discomfort. No matter what you do, you should always run, swim, and pt several times a week. Related SEAL article Teen Prep for Navy SEAL.

2. Will Mini-BUD/s help me to prepare for BUD/s?

Yes - it will make you find out if you want to do it that is for sure. It is a good test. Right now there is no mini-buds for ROTC students due to the seal training command ramping up to increase the number of seals in the navy. They are supposed to start them back up for midshipmen from USNA and ROTC in 2011 / 2012 summers. The instructors are busy during this time of war. But, check out Extreme SEAL Experience for another option that many Delayed Entry Program candidates and ROTC mids are doing this year. It is operated by former SEAL Don Shipley.

3. Can weight lifting help with my training?

Yes it can but it depends on if you really need it or not. Read the article - Spec Ops Prep

However if you insist, weights can help balance out your training with shoulder workouts and other upper body gripping exercises. Rope climbing is better for grip though or towel pullups. I do recommend adding some weights to break up the monotony of training. But it really depends - if you are an endurance athlete - it may help you to lift weights - see related link. BUT if you are a power lifting football player type - no need to lift - time to run and swim and PT...related link

4. I'd like to be a SEAL sniper, is there thing I could do to prepare myself for that?

Practice shooting or take a shooting course...otherwise do not sweat it until you have graduated from special forces training. You are getting ahead of yourself. Get through training first.

Thanks for sending emails that motivate me to write you back and create an article for others to learn from. I appreciate the feedback. Keep sending them at

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