Here are some common mistakes that I hope to help you avoid (read part I here):
Two mile jogs. If you’re looking at your physical fitness requirements, chances are you saw that you’ll have to pass a mile and a half run in a set amount of time. Don’t let this fool you! Just because you have to pass the mile and a half by the end of the Academy, doesn’t mean that’s all you should be training for.
If you’ve gotten into a habit of running a mile and a half or two miles and stopping, now is the time to break that habit. If you get a PT instructor like I had, who absolutely loves to run, 5 to 8 mile runs will be commonplace, often without warning. He may tell you you’ll be running to the 2 mile marker, but what he doesn’t tell you is that you’ll be running to it 4 times!
Slouching. One of the best things you can do for yourself ahead of going to the Academy is to start working on your core. Your core is going to be engaged in just about every mat room exercise you have to participate in. How do you develop a weak core? By getting into the habit of slouching. That’s right. That 80-year-old substitute teacher you had in middle school who looked like Bea Arthur was right when she scolded you for your bad posture in class.
Core issues aside, your posture affects your appearance and energy level. Sitting up straight, standing up straight, and walking tall exudes an impression of self-confidence and makes you less of a target for instructors.
Taking advice without a grain of salt. That includes my advice. When I first found out I was going to the academy, I reached out to a former classmate from high school who had recently gone through the same academy. I asked him what to expect and how to best prepare. He gave me some decent advice on what it was like, what to bring, and what not to bring. However, he was less than enthusiastic about the station where he ended up.
According to him, there was very little going on, he was stuck patrolling a small area, and it was similar to watching grass grow only more boring. Had I made the mistake of assuming that his experience was representative of the entire agency, I may have chosen to withdraw from the academy all together. That would have been a huge mistake. Not only has my experience been quite different from his, I ended up in one of the busiest areas of the country for the type of criminal activity we address.
Hopefully this helps you to get a good jump on your academy preparation. By avoiding these mistakes you’ll be way ahead of game and in position to succeed.