NS101: Every Station Of The SOC Explained - With Tips
STORY: Farhan Shafie
07 October 2021
The Standard Obstacle Course or SOC is a rite of passage for every recruit that goes through Basic Military Training. While it's been dubbed 'The Soldier's Playground', it ain't child's play by any means.
12 stations that are designed to test a soldier's strength, agility and endurance for basic combat movement and tasks. If that's not all, it's sandwiched between a 10m run to start off the course, followed by a 300m rundown that needs to be completed by a certain time limit.
Think Ninja Warrior with a SAR 21 (Singapore Assault Rifle) weapon slinged to your back and helmet to weigh you down. It might all sound daunting at first, but here's a breakdown of the stations and how you can ace them.
1. Low Wall
The first station to kick off everything. Don't let the name deceive you. With all the equipment you're lugging, the wall might as well be 10m tall. But this essentially tests your upper body strength and leaping ability.
Pro Tip: Get a running start. Use the momentum of your run-up to kick up the wall and hold on for dear life. Once you swing your boot over the top of the wall, you'll be in the clear.
2. Stepping Stones
Like the name suggests, this station contains elevated concrete steps that tests your balance.
Pro Tip: Slow and steady. Don't rush but go at a measured pace.
This station consists of low walls (lower than the wall at the first station thankfully) and railings that challenges your vaulting and ducking ability.
Pro Tip: Hold on to your rifle in front of you like the soldier pictured above to make traversing the course easier.
Self-explanatory. Crawl your way at speed through this confined space.
Pro Tip: Which technique you choose to employ to get through the tunnel will be vital to completing the station successfully. While some might swear by the duck walk technique, the bear crawl method with your rifle placed on top of your hands is most effective.
5. Dodging Panels
Trains your lateral movement as you side step through the multiple panels.
Pro Tip: This is a relatively straightforward station to navigate. It's the perfect obstacle to make up for lost time if you've been struggling in the previous stations. It's the perfect time to pick up the pace.
6. Low Rope
Admittedly one of the most difficult stations of the entire course, this requires muscular strength and a sturdy grip.
Pro Tip: Here's the secret lowdown. While your upper limbs do play a part in scaling the rope, what's more important is your feet wrapping technique. With your hands stretched upwards to grab the highest point of the rope, step on the rope with one boot and wrap the excess around it with the other boot. With any luck, you'll only need to do this twice to reach the top of the structure.
Here, you'll have to leap over a ditch and land on a slope.
Pro Tip: Take care those knees! Before the start of every SOC, recruits will get a chance to practice their landing form so do take full advantage of this exercise. You'll need it for this station.
Soldiers will have to pass through areas of restricted height and avoid hitting the exposed window grill. This station helps to simulate an urban environment where modern warfare mostly takes place nowadays.
Pro Tip: Remember that duck walk method we talked about earlier. Now that technique works here. Go slow but be deliberate.
9. Balancing Bridge
Elevated beams that train your balance, jumping and coordination.
Pro Tip: Now is not the time to suddenly have a fear of heights. The best way to complete this station is to walk purposely with confidence. Use the weight of your SAR 21 to help balance you as well.
Another straighforward station where you'll have to vault through an open window.
Pro Tip: Utilise the same rifle-holding method as the 'Rubble' station when you're leaping through the window.
11. Apex Ladder
This station is essentially a Jacob's ladder made up of wooden logs that trains your confidence at height. Recruits need to step on each log up and down to successfully complete the obstacle.
Pro Tip: Just like the 'Balancing Bridge', the only way to overcome any fear of heights is to step with confidence. Stay in the middle of the log and use the SAR 21 to centre your balance.
Similar to the "Ditch" station but on a bigger scale, this is the finale where you'll run up a slope and jump from height before proceeding for a rundown.
Pro Tip: Again, take care of those knees. It's especially important since you'll have to prep for a sprint immediately after.