• From the Field with Josh Hockett
    Joshua Hockett, MS, NSCA-CPT, CSCS, TSAC-F, currently works for the Commander Navy Installation Command Headquarters. He assists with command of the biannual Physical Fitness Assessment, and he helps lead Navy Fitness Enhancement Program year-round for sailors needing or wanting additional fitness and exercise help to improve PFA scores.
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  • From the Field BannerFrom the Field | Joshua HockettJoshua Hockett, MS, NSCA-CPT, CSCS, TSAC-F

    Joshua Hockett is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where he obtained his Master’s of Science degree in Exercise Science. He has worked with Anytime Fitness as a personal trainer in Madison, WI. He also has past work experience with the Milwaukee Brewers Major League Baseball team and the University of Wisconsin Badgers Hockey and Volleyball teams.

    Hockett had served as the Coordinator of Strength and Conditioning for the University of Missouri Recreation Department prior to his coming to the DoD/U.S. Navy and the USS Ronald Reagan command stationed in Coronado, CA. He also does online coaching for men’s and women’s natural bodybuilding and fitness competitions. Hockett himself competes in USA powerlifting regularly and is a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)-Certified Personal Trainer® (NSCA-CPT®), Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®), and Tactical Strength and Conditioning-Facilitator (TSAC-F)

    1. What tactical population do you currently work with?

    I work with U.S. Navy Sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.

    2. How did you get started in the TSAC (Tactical Strength and Conditioning) field?

    I took my current position with Commander Navy Installation Command Headquarters (CNIC out of Millington, TN) after reading about the position description in a fitness trade journal written by the very first Fitboss to hold this position back in 2000-2001, and then became the Afloat Fitness Director of the whole program for all carriers. I was instantly blown away by the nature of the work, the travel opportunities, the demographic, and the contributions I could give to my country’s Navy. 

    I had done a short stint with the Wisconsin Army National Guard as well during the summer months several years ago in which I helped lead a large group of soldiers in PT twice a month for 2 hours. I was hooked on it right from the start and I told myself if the chance to work with military demographics on a fitness basis ever arose I would jump right in. So now, here I am.

    3. What resources do you utilize for continuing education? Are there any sources you recommend staying away from?

    Given the nature of being out to sea at times, I cannot always make it to conference or workshops and symposia; therefore, webinars and CEU quizzes have been very helpful. But when I can, I always try to hit the major conference to network and learn right from the best in the industry at face value.  If it benefits me at all, I will partake no matter the modality. So no, there are none I stay away from.

    4. If you where hiring someone in your field, what would you look for? 

    Dependability and attention to detail are must have traits! In this field, I need to know that big and small tasks alike will be accomplished just as assigned or instructed. If I need to watch over your shoulder every second to be sure this happens then I cannot do my job well either since I am doing yours for you.  


    A little guidance at the start is expected, but then I need to let you go and become independent so you can grow as a professional as well. Being good with details also helps to avoid having little things cause big problems like setting up times, locations for classes, getting enough gear out for a command PT group, knowing how many people to expect for small group classes, etc. 

    5. Please describe the regular duties included in your position?

    Assisting with command of the biannual Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA). Helping lead Navy Fitness Enhancement Program (FEP) year-round for sailors needing or wanting additional fitness and exercise help to improve PFA scores. I perform fitness and health assessments weekly via tapping and skin fold measures and well as height and weight measures to track objective progress with sailors. Putting together popular fitness classes (spin, CrossFit, TRX, strength training, yoga, and Zumba) as well as command fitness challenges like tug-o-war, 5k runs, push-up contests, etc. while underway at sea for long periods to keep the sailors’ moral high and activity levels up as much as possible.  

    I also do considerable one-on-one work with sailors who have unique needs or special issues. Some sailors have athletic goals as well that require specialized sport-specific training. I also make every push to offer general health and fitness-based nutrition workshops to all sailors while out to sea and in port to make sure that they fuel themselves optimally. I see results come faster when they blend nutrition with sound training plans.

    6. What are the two most important things you have learned; that you wish you knew when you were starting your career?
     
    Keep an open but keen eye to everything you see out there. Take it in and make educated assessments of its merits and utility before discarding things/people you disagree with or want to implement into a workout plan/philosophy. This can save money, time, effort and countless man hours if it turns out to be worthless, or worse, gets people injured for no reason. I used to think that once I had a set method or mode of doing things that was it, I did not have to adjust or change a thing from then on. I now know that fitness and tactical strength and conditioning are by their nature always evolving, so as a coach I must evolve with it in the right manner to assure that my clients get maximal benefits.

    7. What recommendations would you give someone who is looking to start a career in TSAC? 
     
    Become very familiar with the physical fitness standards required for the branch or service area (emergency response teams) you work with and then right behind that would be to perform a comprehensive needs analysis of the movements, energy systems, injury potential within that occupation’s daily routines or tactics. 

    This will form the foundation of how you train and why you train your tactical athletes the way you do. Always keep the big picture in mind as well. What arena does your “tactical athlete” partake in on the job? E.g., emergency rescue, burning house, battlefield, aircraft carrier, dessert, back alleyway, or out on open water? This can alter everything when you factor in contest compared to any other kind of client in traditional fitness or sports training. 

    8. What do you believe are the top three physical requirements for this population that must be addressed in a proper TSAC program?

    For Navy sailors, you need to consider context again; for me, working with sailors on a large CVN aircraft carrier the MOST needed qualities to be physically fit for such daily demands are anaerobic power, muscular strength, coordination, and agility. Other facets need to be present as well, but not to the magnitude I would want these developed.

    9. What steps do you go through when writing a program for the population you work with? 

     
    Assessment of the group of person(s) at hand (readiness, training level, experience) department function and demands (air, combat systems, supply, deck, hazmat, navigation, IT etc.) each has very unique demands in times of a drill or real world attack response plan and so their training plan must then be adjusted as well. I then have to modify the plan with the limits of the ship’s gym space and equipment available. This can be one of the biggest factors in my program planning, as there are many more tasks taking place at all times on a carrier, not just fitness.

    10. What are some critical factors in getting tactical athletes to buy into a strength and conditioning program?

    Make the “how” and “why” clear to everyone. That is, to explain clearly and simply “how” an exercise, drill, or training modality/concept/exercise will benefit them in a specific way. Then the “why do this” becomes more clear and worthwhile. Some may be fine doing what they are told without any questions, but I find they are few and far between, so make sure the “how it works” is picture perfect.. 
  • Disclaimer: The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) encourages the exchange of diverse opinions. The ideas, comments, and materials presented herein do not necessarily reflect the NSCA’s official position on an issue. The NSCA assumes no responsibility for any statements made by authors, whether as fact, opinion, or otherwise. 
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      this could not be anymore true. Mr. Hockett laid this out perfectly to understand the complexity and intracacy of working with the military. I understand and agree with the path that Mr. Hockett takes when trying to keep Sailors moral and interest levelmore» up when assisting with PT. The use of your at sea fitness events is splendid and all kidding a side I'm sure a 5k on a carrier is no joke, but is fun as heck. Having to consistenlty vary workouts within a parameter is tough stuff and I myself, working along side Army Soliders, can relate. Sounds like a great gig there sir. Regards«less

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