Aiming High

WORTHINGTON | Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Intense Training at local center keeps Air Force elite sharp

In hopes of developing new advanced training techniques and education, some of the military's most elite forces converged in Worthington this month. Five members of the U.S. Air Force's special tactics units have spent the past two weeks in intensive training at Worthington's HIT Center in order to increase performance and reduce injuries among their forces. HIT is an acronym for high-intensity training. "They are not getting enough of those guys through the school (on base) because of injury," said HIT founder Terry Shepherd. "It is very high-intensity training � and they can't lower the standards. Shepherd created a program that didn't lower the standards, but arranged the physical training in a way designed to capitalize on the skills of the students while decreasing the likelihood of injuries. "They really want to know the science behind what they are doing," Shepherd said. "These men are exceptionally bright. You don't become elite in the military without being very bright and interested." At times, the trainers realized they were forcing the students to Bill Lyons, 720th special Bill Lyons, 720th special tactics group advanced skills training instructor at Hurlbert Field Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach, Fla., said he spent nearly a year searching for a facility that would help the Air Force enhance its training. He stumbled upon HIT Center while in Denver. "I walked in and knew this was something the military should be doing," Lyons said. Special tactics units often are deployed undetected into combat zones to establish assault zones or airfields while conducting air traffic control, fire support and humanitarian assistance, among other jobs. During the two week training the five men- four combat controllers and one pararescuer � spent eight-hour days in classroom instruction and exercise drills. "One entire week of education is equivalent to an entire university exercise physiology class," Shepherd said. The day was split up into two four-hour sessions. During each session, the men spent two hours in class and two hours doing physical training. "The academic part is huge for the instructors because they can look at the students and understand where they are at," Lyons said. Nutrition was the biggest focus of the educational components, Shepherd said. For example, the men studied what is best to eat and when, as well as how much liquid is best to help push a student through training. AIMING HIGH Intense Training at local center keeps Air Force elite sharp Worthington News �January 31, 2007 drink too much water, Shepherd said. Special activities also were created to fit their needs � for example, a lesson on how to descend more safely from a helicopter rope. "When their guys are hitting the ground, they are getting sprains and strains in the ankles," Shepherd said. To ward off injury, Shepherd has taught the men about soft landings. "It is the same concept I used to help soccer players," Shepherd said. The men are scheduled to conclude their training at the end of this week. The long-term goal, however, is to institute a new training method for students, starting as soon as they enter their two year training. A center similar to that of the HIT Center also will be built on base, Shepherd said. The technology and science being applied in the Air Force training is not entirely different from what the HIT Center offers on a regular basis. "It's the same science, it is just being applied in different ways," Shepherd said. The 14,000-square-foot facility, 690 Lakeview Plaza Blvd. is built to train athletes of all levels, help people lose weight and build overall athletic performance. "We are built for local residents," Shepherd said. "We apply the same high science we use on (residents) that we do for the military." Story by: Brittney Dunlap Photos by: Dan Trittschuh The HIT Center 690 Lakeview Plaza Blvd. Suite H Worthington, OH. 43085 614-825-4484 [email protected]

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