Thursday, 23 February 2017

Ready or not....

Tonight I will be woken by my husband elbowing me in the ribs, urgently whispering, 'Do you want to know what it is?  Do you? Do you?'
As I roll over to punch him in the face, a face illuminated by the glow of his phone and demonically gleeful, I will be stopped in my tracks by the maniacal reeling off of movement standards, weights and reps.
Image result for crossfit open 2017The Open is upon us, people.  
And we're just not ready!
We may have had all year but, goddammit, it's just not enough!
If only those double unders were truly in the bag - so good you could guarantee 30 in one go, every time without tripping, rather than the 15 you might manage on a good day, but let's face it 5 on most.  If only you'd had a bit more time to practice cleans and jerks or touch-and-go deadlifts.  If only you'd actually remembered to work on those hspu or pullups in every warm up, just for a few reps, like you promised yourself you would....if only you were actually ready....if only we had just a few more weeks, days, even...but maybe, just maybe you are actually ready!
Maybe, just maybe, this panicked, sinking feeling is what being ready feels like!
Perhaps that nausea in the pit of your stomach isn't nerves and suicidal anxiety after all but excitement! Perhaps you are bloody ready and this test of what you can do, what your body is capable of, how far you have come so far on your CrossFit journey is just what you've been waiting for!

Image result for rich froning
The Open is a chance for you to shine, an opportunity to show off what you can do!  Forget all the stuff you can't do, there'll always be a list as long as your arm of shit you can't do - God, you know there is stuff, somewhere that Rich Froning cannot do....I don't have that list to hand but there are things he can't do.  He can't give birth or breast feed, just off the top of my head...but I am getting off the point.

The point is, you are ready - you are always ready because test aside, these are just workouts and do you know what you do every time you go to the gym?  Workouts.  That's it.

Image result for crossfit motivationYou will do what you will do and it is going to be way more than you ever believed or imagined you could do before you found CrossFit! And each of the beautifully crafted workouts that bastard Castro dreams up out of his trippy CrossFit head will teach you a lesson.  They will take you to places you've never been before and they will change you.  And you will come out the other side a better person for it.

Image result for crossfit motivationCrossFit is hard - it's hard for everyone - it's hard for those guys who come first and it's hard for those guys who come last and it is also just as hard for all those guys who come in between them. So whether you believe yourself to be ready or not ready, it's going to be equally as hard.
And all that means is:

you are ready.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Why I treat my CrossFitters a bit like 5 year-olds...

Image result for magicWhen Bob or Hilda start at CrossFit Uckfield, I tell them that the whiteboard in a CrossFit gym is golden.  It is where the magic happens.

The planning is done for you, by an experienced and qualified coach, who puts a lot of thought into ensuring your training is balanced, varied and interesting as well as effective.  It means you don't have to think, you just turn up and get the work done.

The whiteboard gets posted every day on our members' page on Facebook.  This allows people to compare themselves to others, compete with others and wish they'd come in on the days they missed.

Image result for crossfit whiteboard franI have found, over time that the whiteboard is a brilliant tool for encouraging and motivating people, keeping them accountable and involved.

However, there are some times when those numbers on the board become counter-productive.
If you didn't do as well as you felt you should have or you were beaten by someone who always (or never) beats you.  Or you were bottom of the board or top of the board or middle of the board - all these things have the power to demotivate you if you let them.

Image result for primary schoolSo, as a coach, what can I do about this?
I find it useful, a lot of the time, to treat my clients as if they were primary school children.  I don't mean this in a derogatory way but how a primary classroom works is, in a lot of ways, similar to how a CrossFit classroom works.

As a primary school teacher, I found it vital to ensure my class of 30 children, with wildly varying abilities, backgrounds, experiences and attitudes, knew why we were learning what we were learning in the way we were learning it.  This knowledge gave the kids autonomy over their learning.  It demonstrated to them that what we were doing had a valid purpose that impacted in a very real way on their lives.

So I am implementing learning objectives and success criteria.

I want my guys to realise that their training isn't always a test (see the previous post) and that their training has a purpose.  It isn't random, it is designed for a specific purpose but that purpose does need to be shared with the group.

If you know why you are doing something, how it is designed to benefit you and how it will make you better as an athlete, then it will resonate much more.

I hope that by sharing with my members the purpose of their training, they will take greater ownership of their movement, that they will become more responsible for their own improvements.  But most of all, I hope it will stop them comparing themselves to others and start helping them compare themselves with them yesterday, or last week or last year.

You can not compare yourself to anyone else because they are not you.  You don't have the same age, experience, abilities, height, weight, dinner, conversations, children, jobs, worries, anxieties, strengths, goals, loves, hates, fears, successes, failures, clothes, shoes, cars, houses, holidays, parents, grandparents, blood types, DNA, injuries, ailments, friends, support etc. etc. etc. as anyone else!
If you aren't comparing apples with apples, it is never a fair comparison!

So be fair to yourself, work out what you are genuinely trying to achieve in each workout and think less about the numbers on the board and more about how you are going to improve as an athlete.  Then you are in a position to test yourself better when one of those workouts comes up.  

If you test yourself every single session, when do you get to revise?  When do you get to practice and learn?

Look at the learning objectives and achievement targets and work out what they mean to you...not Bob or Hilda.