Sports and the Academies

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by BLSnared, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. BLSnared

    BLSnared Member

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    Why are athletics so important to admissions? I have done marching band and I did really well on the CFA, so there is the physical aspects, and I was a section leader so there is leadership experience. Can someone explain why my chances will be dependent on a sport. Is it not possible that I could have the same determination and character? Maybe I am missing something but it is frustrating.
     
  2. Gcokeley

    Gcokeley Cadet

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    Im not trying to put down band here, but I think it might be because in most sports you are actually competeing against someone and most sports do require more physical ability than band. I am sure there are some band kids who are in great shape, but I think the competitive nature of sports is probably why.

    Thats just my 2c
     
  3. Hopeful2013

    Hopeful2013 Member

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    Wait a minute

    Before you get upset, 90% of appointees to the Naval Academy class of 2011 were involved in Varsity Sports. That means 10% weren't. Don't get frustrated. If you really want it...apply. By the way, I know I guy who went to the AFA who did not have any varsity sports. He was, however, the drum major (all state) of his high school band. It is NOT hopeless! Tera
     
  4. flyersboy114

    flyersboy114 USAFA Cadet

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    My band competes against other bands.....
    in Tournament of Bands

    15x Atlantic Coast Champions
     
  5. time2

    time2 Member

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    The admissions criteria is what it is because these are physically demanding programs in addition to everything else. If you aren't in great physical shape going into plebe summer, you will probably struggle to keep up with the ~90% who have basically been working out the year round while in high school at whatever sport they excelled at, that's reality.

    During the daily 90 minutes of PT during plebe summer, it will become obvious who is physically prepared and who isn't.
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I don't believe anyone has said that you have no chance for USNA unless you are an athlete. However, USNA and all SAs consider athletics important for several reasons.

    First, being active in athletics is usually one indication of athletic ability and the desire to participate in the rigorous athletic program USNA demands. Being a varsity athlete is even a better predictor.

    Second, being a participant in team sports demonstrates the ability to . . . be on a team and engage in teamwork.:wink:

    Third, statistics indicate that varsity athletes on team sports are generally more likely to stay at USNA (not quit) and be successful there.

    You may disagree with the above but the SAs believe, based on history, that the statements above are generally true. That said, the above generalizations are only that -- generalizations. There are obviously exceptions.

    If you aren't an athlete, you need to be sure to do well on the CFA, especially in the run and pull-ups. That, with an otherwise great package, may well be enough. However, in counseling anyone reading this who is not currently a senor, my advice is to engage in sports to better your chances of receiving an appointment.
     
  7. BLSnared

    BLSnared Member

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    Well band requires much teamwork, that people that haven't been in it wouldn
    t understand, and I guess you can disagree if you want but that would be foolish. I can sit here all day and debate this which I won't.

    Bands compete and are COMPETITIVE in circuits, Western Bands Association, Bands of America, Drum Corps International.

    Speaking of Drum Corps International, that is some intense physical activity... That might even give track runners some trouble. I'm not saying all band people are exceptionally fit, but to say all traditional athletes are is foolish also.

    I guess my complaints aren't worth anything anyway. It won't change people's minds if they are closed minded (not to say anyone here is, nor is the Naval Academy; I'm simply pointing out people that are, please do not be offended).

    By the way, in case anyone was wondering how this affects my CFA. I can max out everything except the shuttle run, mile, and pull ups.
     
  8. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Something you need to learn quickly - it doesn't matter what YOU think about how important "band" is compared to "sports."

    All that matters is what "they" (USNA Admissions) think.

    They have decades and decades worth of data that correlates success at plebe summer and success at the academy with participation in different activities and sports.

    There is a reason they choose so many varsity athletes (90%). Physical fitness is not the only reason. Self-confidence and self-discipline, a sense of fair play, team spirit, and the capacity to think and act under stress.

    Ever read this quote from Gen. Douglas MacArthur?

    "On the fields of friendly strife
    Are sown the seeds
    That on other days and other fields
    Will bear the fruits of victory"


    PS - Look up the term "sea lawyer" for kicks. :wink:
     
  9. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Sports and the Service Academies -

    The service academies look for applicants who embody the scholar/leader/athlete model. I guess the first two are self-explanatory so I will attempt to explain the third.

    Being an athlete -
    Service academies are intensly physical. Many cadets/mids will probably tell you they feel like getting through the day is a combat sport.
    The CFA gives admissions a glimpse of your athletic potential. Being able to score well is important but not the end all.

    In the service and at the academies you will need to pass a physical fitness test twice a year. You also will be required to participate in Athletics.
    AT USMA for example, if you are not on a Corps Squad (Div I athlete) then you are required to be on a Competitive Club team or participate in Company intramurals.

    Kids who come from an athletic background and are familar with playing sports are going to generally do better than those without any athletic background.

    Sports, especially team sports, develop teamwork, leadership, sense of winning and losing, hand eye coordination, mental toughness, concentration and strong bodies. Sorry, but music simply cannot compare with team sports in this regard.
    This is not to denigrate music or musicians.
    My plebe was in band and jazz band through high school. She also was a two sport varisty athlete.

    The bottom line is - you are in a competition for an appointment. You are completing against kids who are athletes. If you are not an athlete then you must be prepared to bring something else exceptional to the table.
    Can this be done? Yes, others have. Do you have an uphill climb? yep.


    Additionally - some applicants never had an opportunity to participate in sports. This happens.
    Other applicants have chosen to not play a sport or do not like to play sports. Potential applicants who fall in this category should think and re-think whether or not a service academy is right for them.
     
  10. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    You originally asked why USNA (and the other SAs) consider athletics so important. Those of us familiar with the admissions process have tried to provide that explanation. I realize you may not agree with it but it is what they believe and it is based on years of data.

    The way minds will be changed is that people without an athletic background who do get accepted at USNA and other SAs do really, really well.

    I hate to tell you this, but the two elements of the CFA most important to USNA are pull-ups and the run. If you are a male, you should be able to do 5-10 pull-ups and run the mile in under 7:00 -- and that's just to be competitive in terms of the CFA. To be successful at USNA, a male should be able to do at least 10 pull-ups and run a mile in around 6:00. If your scores are in that range, that's great.
     
  11. Seeking Knowledge

    Seeking Knowledge Member

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    usna1985, To be successful at USNA, what should a female get for her CFA scores to be highly competitive?
     
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Two separate issues -- being competitive on the CFA and being prepared for plebe summer.

    For the CFA, USNA is generally happy if females can do a single pullup (vs. even the max time on flexed arm hang). Doing several pullups would be viewed very favorably. The reason BTW, that the number is lower for the women is the recognition that women typically have less upper body strength than men (despite equal levels of fitness) and "palms outward" (vs. inward) pullups require a lot of upper-body strength.

    In fairness, upper body strength isn't as important right away for plebe summer. PEP and other things you'll do (carrying a rifle, for example) will help you develop that strength. So if you start plebe summer still being able to do 2-4 pullups, you should be fine -- not that you shouldn't always strive to do your best.

    For the CFA run, women should aim for around a 7:30-8:00. That's not a great score but will probably be ok. To do well, you would want to run 7:00-7:30 - any time lower would be looked on very favorably.

    For plebe summer, you want to be able to run 3-5 miles at around an 8:00-8:30 pace (max). If you can do less than that, so much the better. Whether fair or not, how fast plebes -- and especially female plebes -- run goes a long way toward how they are viewed during the summer and, sometimes, throughout their tenure at USNA. If, as a female, you are able to "keep up" with the pack of guys, you'll be fine. If you can run faster than the pack of guys, you'll be golden. If you lag behind, it's not good. And guys, if you're a lousy runner, it's even worse for you than for females.

    Thus, if you do nothing else to prepare for plebe summer, work on your running. If you're not a natural runner (and I'm not one), you should find a coach or trainer or someone who can design a program for you. The generic, "run 5 miles at X pace week 1" and increase to "y pace week 2" is great if you're able to do it. But if you struggle, there may be different approaches (wind sprints, series of 400s and 800s, etc.) that could help you improve your technique, endurance, and speed. It's important to start a running program NOW and keep with it until Plebe Summer, regardless of whether you are a natural athlete.
     
  13. Eighth Lock

    Eighth Lock Member

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    What does the Naval Academy consider as a sport? And are different sports viewed with different importance? Also, does getting a varsity letter in your sports help?

    The main reason I'm wondering about those questions is so far in high school I've been running cross country, winter track, and spring track ever since spring of my freshman year. Now (as a junior) I was kind of interested in trying out for bowling (instead of running winter track), as I used to like bowling as a kid, and it'd be nice to have a break from running after a disappointing season in cross country. If it would look better, I'd be fine running winter track (where I'm also almost guaranteed to get a varsity letter, whereas in bowling I'm guaranteed not to), but I just wanted to find out what would be best before making any decisions.
    If I didn't do winter track, I was still planning on running on my own 4-5 times a week in the winter to stay in shape, and I would still do spring track and cross country.

    Also, being that I'm a runner, I expect to do fairly well on the running portion of the CFA, but would it still be better for me to try to build some more upper body strength for CFA?
     
  14. Seeking Knowledge

    Seeking Knowledge Member

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    usna1985, thanks so much. It's exactly the type of specific info I was looking for!
     

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