HMAS Cerberus, in Victoria, has earned the title ‘Cradle of the Navy’ through 95 years of training sailors. Recently, Cerberus had the opportunity to run an intensive camp for the St Kilda Football Club’s emerging leaders, giving them a taste of training, Navy style.
The result? Even a pro-athlete can find Navy training challenging, and sometimes a little confronting.
Australian Football League players took part in a gruelling 36 hour training camp at Navy’s premier training establishment, between 10-12 December. The camp showcased the challenges of Navy training and stressed the importance of Navy’s signature behaviours which align closely with St Kilda’s values.
On the morning of 10 December, 21 young players ranging from recent draftees to those in their fifth year boarded a bus to a destination unknown, unaware of the mental and physical hurdles ahead.
St Kilda is focusing on developing leaders of the future and sees leadership qualities as an integral component of all its players. St Kilda’s Head of Player Academy and Development, Simon McPhee, carefully observed how players coped in situations vastly outside the norm during the camp.
“When you come to camps like this you’re probably chasing a few things; obviously the bonding is pretty big,” Mr McPhee said.
“Secondly, from a leadership point of view, we want to take them out of their comfort zone, we want to see how they act and not just towards others, but how they react to situations that they are not comfortable with.
“Are they calm? Are they composed? Are they empathetic?
“And I think this camp has another element to it because we’re surrounded by people who live their lives by fairly strict codes, which is what we’re tyring to get our players to do in relation to our trademark.”
Experiences took participants through a range of leadership, teamwork and physical challenges that Navy people undergo including; drill, swim test, high ropes, survival at sea training and a mud run physical challenge.
It’s not easy to maintain a positive outlook, work as a team and show leadership when you’re physically and mentally fatigued; circumstances that Navy people are very familiar with.
Navy training embeds that knowledge and the skills to cope, from the time sailors commence initial training on entry. While Navy Recruits have 10 weeks to build resilience, the Saint’s players were, at times, literally thrown in the deep end.
Whether a Saints supporter or not, the resilience and team work displayed by the young men of the group has earned the respect of Cerberus.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library.