This is something we all can improve– whether you are new or a veteran Crossfitter, there are things you can do to make the coach’s job, and your experience at the gym, much smoother and more productive.
Being coachable is something I have become much more sensitive to since becoming a coach myself.
I remember early on in my Crossfit journey, we were doing a particularly long, grueling workout. It was summertime, so the box was HOT, and I was doing some kind of barbell movement, power snatch I believe, with a ton of reps. Well into the WOD, I’m exhasuted, I’m overheated, my head is throbbing, and all I want to do is FINISH THE DAMN WORKOUT.
I foggily remember Coach Paul, former owner of CFS, my mentor early on, and all around great dude– saying something to me, but I couldn’t hear it over all the fans and the blaring Ke$ha tunes, so I kept going. He repeated himself, this time a little closer and a little louder:
“Extend through your hips! You’re doing a muscle snatch and you’re pulling too early with your arms. USE YOUR HIPS!”
“I don’t have time for this, I thought. I have my rhythm, I’m going to finish this thing, and it’s all I can do. I’ll fix my form later.” I managed to nod back at him in acknowledgement, then I kept plodding along.
The coach let me do my thing. Clearly I wasn’t going to listen.
Did I finish the WOD? Yes. But– I wasn’t being coachable. I considered it more important to get in all the reps than to do them properly.
I was reinforcing bad habits; in effect making the proper technique MORE challenging to learn, since I was ingraining bad habits into my muscle memory, over and over again.
I missed an opportunity to have a breakthrough moment in my development as an athlete.
It would have been so much more rewarding to get that form better, maybe not finish, but to have the satisfaction of knowing I improved. Getting that FEELING of doing the move right, so that I could repeat it later, would have been so valuable. I missed it.
Was it pride? Ego? I think it was a bit of that mixed with a common misunderstanding.
I had the idea that finishing the workout Rx was important in order to get a good workout. Not the case.
I repeat: NOT THE CASE.
Working hard and moving properly, doing your best, putting every ounce of effort both physically and MENTALLY–
that ensures a good workout. Even better than all this? Learn something during the WOD that you can apply down the line.
Be open to the suggestions of the coach. Be ready to learn. If something isn’t making sense, help the coach help you.
We usually have 3 types of cues that we use:
If one type of cue is definitely not working, suggest to the coach, “Hey, can you try showing me instead?”
Don’t get so caught up in the workout that you are unable to take suggestions or learn something.
It’s important to try your best, but if you just can’t or won’t listen to a coach’s suggestions, you are missing out on a learning opportunity.
Even if it means you will get “less reps” or score “lower” on the whiteboard, you will ultimately improve your technique, efficiency, and PREVENT INJURY.
Holy SHITE, do you really think it’s so important to beat Steve Dodge that you’ll risk destroying your back?! You do? Well, I guess I can understand that…
Especially now during the Crossfit Open, the competitive atmosphere is high– but remember, you have the whole weekend to come back and try the Open workouts.
Or you can meet me at 5am open gym Monday morning and we’ll get it done.
See you at the box!