One of the best podcasts I listen to regularly is Ben Bergeron’s Chasing Excellence. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, Bergeron and his wife Heather own CF New England and Ben is respected as one of the most forward thinking and influential coaches in our chosen sport. Ben also coaches ames Athletes Mat Fraser, Cole Sager, Katrin Davidsdottir, and Brooke Wells.
During our recent trip I re-listened to a number of his podcasts and paid special attention to goal setting and managing expectations for athletes. One of the themes that continually comes up is setting goals and dong the extra work you need to do in order to achieve these goals.
As we are all a different stages in our CF fitness careers, the goals can be varied and the homework must be tailored to meet the expectations for each athlete. What do we mean by this?…lets use one of Bens examples. Athlete Mat shows up and one of his goals is to be able to complete 10 rope climbs in 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Mat has been a crossfitter for 6 years, been to the Games, 4 times and crowned Fittest on Earth in two of those years. He understands the skills of climbing and has a 3 minute and 3 second goal in this skill already. Coach, watches him perform the skill and makes recommendations on decreasing the time…ie. bigger jump, faster transition of hand placement once the legs a have contracted, more controlled descent. As opposed to athlete Tyrone, new to Crossfit and never climbed a rope…. but, has told his coach that this is a goal and wants extra work to help him achieve it. As a coach, we need to assess his skills…can he hang from the rope? can he do knees to elbows, can he successfully perform the foot clamping of the rope without looking? is he scared of heights? Coach then assesses the situation and asks him to sit on a 24inch box and work for 20 minutes each day on foot clamping while holding onto the rope , and leaning back. Then pulling himself to a parallel position to the rope and hanging for 10 seconds. This is called PRACTICE..it is specific to climbing a rope and is a required skill in order to complete the goal. The reward is that once the clamping/ pulling up skill has been achieved, we can move onto the next skill, perhaps jumping up the rope, contracting the legs, clamping the feet, and pushing through the legs in order to stand up….and this might take hours, days, or even weeks of practice.
The point I am making is very basic…if you don’t have a goal to achieve a specific movement, or better one that you already have, how will you know that you are going to achieve that goal…you have no plan. Each movement or skill in anything we do requires that prerequisites are achieved (elements) and perfected in order to complete the movement. Whether its double unders, better bar path on snatches and clean and jerks, hollow rocks that look like a hollow rock, or even squat that go to full depth every time with weight in your heels and chest up, knees out and tracking over your mid-foot on the way up.
So, I ask again. What are your fitness goals? Are they written down? Have you asked a coach to help you with them? Are you willing to practice them during open gym or at home? Are you focused on one thing at a time? Is the goal realistic, and even if its not, are there more short term goals that will help you get to the level of competency you expect?
You have a plethora of resources here at CFP…coaches, resources, space, equipment…develop your plan, ask for help, work your plan, modify according to progress, and practice, practice, practice. Practice comes before training, and most definitely before completing the skill in a WOD…so when a coach asks you to scale in a WOD, respect his/her input and understand that they are there to manage the process.
WOD for Thursday, August 10th
5 Rounds of Cindy
for time. Time Capped.
Aerobic Conditioning – for your best time
100m Sprint, 1 minute rest
200m sprint, 1 minute rest
400m sprint, 1 minute rest
600m sprint, 1 minute rest