Monday, April 29, 2013

The Coach's Dilemma

As a CrossFit athlete, or any athlete for that matter, your job is to show up to the box, put in your work, record your triumphs and less-than-triumphant numbers and go home. Sometimes you hang around and cheer others on and hang out with your friends. For a coach, things are a bit different!

Being a coach requires a delicate balance between coaching your athletes and still maintaining your own physical conditioning and strength. Leading by example versus doing what you want. You have to carry and hold yourself to a higher standard. For me, I have to balance working out and coaching. I coach evenings during the week and schedule myself to get into the box and WOD before my athletes arrive. On the days I do not coach, I join in on an evening class.

I encourage all coaches to workout at least twice a week with your athletes IN CLASS! They look to you for guidance and safety and learn through your own struggles in complex movements. Not to mention, participating in class builds camaraderie and allows the competitive juices to flow. Without a doubt, the biggest issues being a coach is losing time to workout. I have to maintain a very strict schedule in order to be able to complete a workout before the first class I have to coach. Sometimes, I have to forgo part of a WOD in order to prepare for class. Additionally, since I mix in several other lifting movements on a weekly basis, my actual WOD time is shortened even more.

I feel that as long as my athletes know that I not only use the same programming as they do but also know that I am working to come up with varied workouts and testing them, they'll have greater confidence that their coach is looking out for their best interests!

Open WOD 13.5. Photo by Joe Kelley

Monday, April 1, 2013

Open WODs 13.3, 13.4 and Some Higher Education Care Of CrossFit HQ!

Open WOD 13.3.......err.......I mean 12.4......... Whatever
Before 13.3 was announced on Wednesday, I mentioned to one of the athletes in the box, I wouldn't mind seeing a mash up of "Karen" and "Grace". I thought that could be a nice way to smoke the crap out of us and provide a challenging WOD that would really test me. I must have lost my mind because when they announced a redo of WOD 12.4 from last year's games, a sudden cold sweat rushed over me because that was a dreadful WOD.

Once again, "Karen" plus 90 Double Unders plus 30 Muscle Ups....... I decided to come up with a strategy for the WOD as opposed to my normal attack without strategy method. My Karen time is generally right around 8 minutes. But I wanted to have as much time as I could possibly have for the double unders. Admittedly, I do not practice double unders and am pretty terrible at them. Once again, the Open points out our weaknesses and what we, as athletes, need to work on. My strategy for "Karen" was to do sustained sets, ensuring small breaks intermittently throughout. Bad idea! This "strategy" added 2 minutes to my time which had the opposite effect in that it decreased the time I had for double unders.

With wrecked quads from "Karen", I redid the WOD again on that Sunday, increasing my score by 14 reps. I attacked the wall balls the way I normally do. Normally, I do as many wall balls out of the gates as possible then try to stick to sets of ten or more for as long as I can. This strategy worked much better, as expected, however I was just too tired to concentrate on the double unders.

As I mentioned before, the Open is about finding my weaknesses and setting forth a plan to work on them. 13.1 encouraged me to join our Barbell Club to work on my Olympic Lifting. 13.2 highlighted speed int he box jumps; can you say high tuck jumps!? And 13.3 has pointed out my double under work.....or lack thereof.

Enjoy the video CrossFit HQ shot of adaptive athletes performing 13.3:
13.3 at CrossFit Rubicon

Video of Matt Ramsey and me discussing gaming options for 13.3:
13.3 Strategies

Open WOD 13.4.....

By this time in the games, I'll admit two things.....

1. I am a bit tired and the games WODs are getting in the way of my normal training schedule. Not to mention the need for me to do the same damn WOD multiple times.....

2. Being the affiliate manager is for the birds...... Well, it isn't that bad except for tracking down people to get their scores submitted.

Soooooo......... Wednesday night, they announced 13.4. Clean and Jerks and Toes to Bar; starting with 3 reps and increasing by threes for 7 minutes. Easy, right......

No gaming this one. Just pick it up then get on the rig. I am actually really good at toes to bar and kip them pretty well. Chris Spealler has an excellent video for anyone who struggles with this movement. Kipping K2E/T2B I kip the movement differently than he does but a lot of people have picked up the movement from his video.

So, what weakness did 13.4 uncover for me? I'm glad you asked.... Most crossfitters rely on the mechanics of the movement to get them through when they get tired. Not me. At least not with the Clean and Jerk or the Snatch. I am strong enough to reverse curl 135 lbs and to press it out. So, after the first 12 or so reps, I went to what I know vice the mechanical advantages of the Olympic Lift. Gotta stop dong that.....

Higher Education!

It's no secret that I have skipped drinking the Kool-Aid and have gone straight to main lining it! I have enjoyed every CrossFit course I have taken. This weekend, thanks to Team RWB, I attended the Coach's Prep Course at Trident CrossFit. I also attended the CrossFit Kids Course at Trident. Great gym!

What an awesome course. I highly recommend it to any coach who is looking to improve upon their coaching and learn more effective ways of queuing and correcting your athletes. It's a great weekend of coaches coaching each other and learning from the outstanding CrossFit HQ Seminar Staff.

As with every CrossFit Course I take, I always come out of it with a certain exuberance towards building a better gym and applying new tools to better my athletes. I don't consider those I coach as clients. I consider them all to be athletes. They've already taken the hardest step and showed up. It's up to me to coach them and convince them they can do what I know they can do!