Keeping Your Public Safety Team Fit

by Brian Rottman

Being on a Public Safety Diving team already has outside factors that can hinder a team’s effectiveness, so why would you want to have an additional burden on the team by being out of shape?  This could affect your team’s ability to get out of a bad situation or help rescue a fellow member.  Being in shape in these situations will also help your cognitive functioning and communication skills. Have you ever tried doing a math problem or even explaining something after being completely out of breath? I can assure you it’s a lot easier when you’re not so fatigued.

Course Evaluation

A famous football coach was asked what makes a good football player, and his response was that playing football makes a good football player. Being on a dive team is no different. It’s important that a Public Safety Dive team has “specifity of training”, or uses skills and movements as a training modality. A great way to start is to have a course evaluation where you can test and measure performances. Set up functional courses that have skills and movements that mimic situations and have your team run through this course. Set goals with this course. Have some courses that must be completed as a team and others to be completed individually. Time them going through it, and use that as a base to come back to when you retest that course.


Anyone can go into a gym to lift weights and run on a treadmill, but when you’re part of a PSD team you will not be in an air conditioned environment when performing your task.  It is important to get acclimated to being out in sub-freezing temperatures, or 90-100 degree weather, in order to be effective. Obviously, always be smart and prepared when training out in hazardous conditions.  I would look into incorporating simulated scenarios into your functional fitness plan.

Designing the Fitness Plan

When you’re creating your fitness plan it’s important to have goals. Sit down and figure out what you want to accomplish out of this.

Some goals that you want to consider are:

  • improved overall fitness, health, and wellness
  • improved skill development
  • increased teamwork
  • improved leadership skills

These are just some of the goals that you want to contemplate when creating a fitness plan for your dive team. In order to see if these goals are met you must make your program measurable. Have a plan that can be replicated and determine how you want to determine success – is it how fast they moved through the course, or how many times they complete the course in a certain time period. Keep records so you can see improvement.

Remember, this is to improve the overall fitness and effectiveness of the team. Start small and gradually make the courses harder as your fitness plan progresses. Have fun with the courses, challenge your team, and create an atmosphere where they want to better themselves and will work together to do it.

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