Often, I receive emails from parents looking for information about Navy SEAL training for their usually pre-teen / early teenage sons. Here is an email from a Dad of a 13 year old boy who has wanted to serve in the SEAL Teams since he was 8 years old:
Stew, I have a son (13), who has always wanted to be a Navy SEAL. I know he may change his mind later but what can I do now to encourage him and set him up for success in a program that many "wanna-be's" don't make it?
Having a young member of the family who wants to serve their country is very special. The fact that you want to support him is also equally refreshing. Thanks because service starts at home!
My first recommendation for you and your son to thoroughly get familiar with is the OFFICIAL NAVY SEAL WEBSITE - you can find this at www.sealswcc.com. Here you can find ALL the information you need to know about HOW to get into the training program. Plus there are many cool pictures and workout standards on the site too. Even though you have several years before you see a recruiter, you need to learn your options. Keep visiting the site, as there are new programs for recruitment quite often. But, before you even see a recruiter or enter high school, you can start preparing now for ANY form of military service.
Get Some Leadership / Followership Skills - Whether you are a team captain, class president, boys scouts / eagle scouts, or head of a community service group - all of these skills will help you understand what it means to lead and to follow orders. Being a good leader is important but being a good listener and able to follow rules and other leaders is just as important. Leading the way with your friends is important and you can practice this daily. Here are my recommendations:
Learn to be a team player - I cannot emphasize this enough as it requires experience and an understanding of being part of a team. Knowing how to work toward a goal whether that goal is to drive a ball down the field or to train for an event with other team members is important to your future. When I was young I played five sports and was never exceptional at them all but good enough to be a team captain when I became a senior in high school. I truly feel that my training for these sports enabled me to understand what it means to work hard toward a goal and be a better leader and follower.
Study Hard - Make sure you graduate high school, perhaps get some college (good but not necessary), and study a foreign language. Any foreign language is fine at this level in high school as it is more understanding how languages and other cultures work that will help you with more important languages later (Chinese, Russian, Arabic, etc). Also understand Algebra and Science, as you will see this math and physics in Dive Training when you apply Laws of Physics to the body while diving. Specifically, Charles Law and Boyle's Law will be used learning how to SCUBA Dive in the Navy.
Stay Out of Trouble - When someone has a "great idea" to do something dangerous, stupid, or illegal, stand up and get your friends to change their path. It is difficult to get criminal (even juvenile) records cleaned before joining the military. That means, if you get into trouble with crime, drugs, alcohol, you can really screw up your chances in joining the military.
Enlist Right After High School - The Navy prepares SEALs right after Boot Camp. Unlike the Army and the USMC, there is no infantry / combat arms that helps prepare you for the Special Ops programs in the Navy. You can go right after high school and enlist, go to boot camp, pre-BUD/S, then BUD/S.
Enlist After College - Many college grads go to BUD/S with college degrees as enlisted sailors. Getting college over with is a great option if you have the ability and means to do so. Go to college and enlist or try out for an even more competitive officer billet. With college under your belt, you can try for an officer slot through Officer Candidate School for many years as a SEAL. You can also apply for ROTC or the Naval Academy if he is a good student and wants to compete for scholarships that the Navy will pay for college and you apply for SEAL Training your junior/senior year through a new program called SOAS - SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection. (see link for more details)
Working Out - Working out for your sports should be primary so you do the right exercises to help you become a better football player, baseball player, lacrosse player, rower, wrestler, runner or swimmer or OTHER. There are many options for your son to do and try and see what he likes the most. I have many workout programs that work for both Special Ops preparation as well as sports, but you may want to limit those to out of season training when doing sports. At the young age of 13, I would recommend mainly a workout program of calisthenics, running, and swimming. Adding in lighter weights within the next year is ideal for future growth in high school athletics. Once in high school, the team coaches / weight lifting classes will likely address heavier weight training programs. If not - there are options in the Stew Smith Article Archive / Catalog too.
See more information on training for any military, police, fire fighter program that requires a fitness test to enter and challenge training and selection programs to finish.