When 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.
I 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.
So, 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.