“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
– Bruce Lee
We have some really great coaches at CrossFit Kent Island. They can all command a big group, can teach and motivate individuals, and they genuinely care for others’ wellbeing and their success. Those qualities alone would place someone at the top of a Best Coaches list anywhere. But one more thing that I truly appreciate about our coaches, and that I know you all appreciate too, is that they move really well. Have you ever watched one of our coaches do a thruster or a handstand push-up and thought to yourself, “Wow, that looked like crap.” Nope, neither have I!
Have you ever wondered how that happened? How did Jason’s deadlift technique get to the point where his setup on the bar is bulletproof and he can lift almost triple his bodyweight? How did Lori get every one of her kipping pull-ups to look exactly the same, knocking out more reps after everyone else is beyond tired? How did Alyssa figure out how to snatch so much weight over her head? Maybe they were born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline. But I’d bet (because I know it to be true) that they have spent hours working on those skills, watching others that move well and imitating, practicing and asking for feedback, and mastering each component until they were satisfied and ready to move on to the next progression in that skill.
I’ve heard from several people going through the On-Ramp program, “Man, you made that look easy” as we are working on stringing together Double-unders or Toes-to-bar. And my answer is generally that it is easy for me now, but it wasn’t always! All of our coaches have gone through the frustrating struggle of learning new skills, and we are incented to do that constantly so that we can make it look fluid and mechanically correct for those we are coaching. The side benefit of all that self-development work is an ability to move flawlessly and efficiently for as long as possible, and thus an increased level of fitness.
So if you want to look like Tristan when he does a perfect air squat, or Denee when she does 20 strict handstand push-ups, you have to follow the process. It’s simple, but not easy.
Here we go:
1. Be coachable. If a coach zeroes in on you in the warm-up, asking you to get lower in that squat or to lock out the barbell over your shoulders and not out in front, don’t take offense! They have identified something for you to work on, that’s a gift! Take on that feedback and make a point of thinking about that one improvement as you train. The more you continue to move correctly, the easier it will become!
2. Make an improvement plan. If what you need to improve on is not currently possible, due to mobility or strength deficiencies, then you know what the gap is. Put together a plan to address it. A coach can help you with that! I think you’ll notice their eyes will even light up when you ask for help. The plan could include some extra work that you need to do outside of class time, in Open Gym or before/after class. It could also just mean a targeted scaling plan for future workouts, using your improvement goal as the scaling reason. For example, if I need to improve on my squat mobility, I am going to go super-light or even just go to air squats in weighted squat workouts so that I can focus on perfect technique. If I need to get stronger pressing overhead, then in a Thruster/Double-under workout I am going to scale back the number of double-unders to accomplish, and make sure I have a heavy-ass barbell in my hands for the thruster.
3. Put in the work. Here comes the “simple but not easy” part. Everybody loves making plans, putting together lists of things to accomplish. Actually checking those things off the list is where many fail. It takes discipline and dedication to get it done. It’s going to involve some frustration, and require heavy doses of patience and toughness. I know I already threw a quote at you up top, but here’s another one from Jocko Willink. “If you want to be tougher, be tougher.” Developing mental toughness simply requires you to be tougher in situations that demand it. Decide to be tougher than your excuses to not put in the work. We’re all tired, and we all have way too much work to do. For some people, the tough people that get shit done, those things just don’t matter.
To close this post out where I’ve asked you all to get in here and put in work, I’d like to announce that effective immediately we are expanding Open Gym time for an extra hour on the front end. Open Gym is now 11am to 1:30pm each weekday, and I hope you can find some time to make it in!
In 2018 we will also be hosting a Double-under clinic with some professional jump-rope instructors, as well as offering some gymnastics skill seminars with our own Coach Alyssa! Stay tuned for more information soon there.
Until next time, train hard, have fun, and practice those skills!