Every year the CrossFit Open rolls around to much fanfare, excitement, nervous and endless anticipation about what Dave Castro has planned for us. Note if anyone can tell me about the Koi fish please do!!!
As an athlete, coach & affiliate owner I am able to see the Open from many different perspectives. I understand the nerves and apprehension of an athlete and wondering how the hell I will do the WOD, I feel the expectation of being a coach and wanting the best for my athletes and the pressure of keeping up with everything as an affiliate owner.
Today though I want to share some thoughts as a Coach and how I see athletes reacting pre and post WOD.
I totally understand the feeling of nerves and possible loss of bodily functions with nerves, I truly do. I wrote a post about my first Open experience in 2013 and my concerns about even overcoming my own body’s specific bio mechanical challenges.
However something I learned it that I was not defined by that WOD result. Me as a person was far more than just 5, 10, 20mins of my day and a heaps of exercises. What defined me as a person is far more than that, how I treated others, how I treated myself, was I good to animals and kids, was I healthy and happy and so much more.
When I walked out of that box, good bad or indifferent the greater world truly did not care. I had to let go of defining myself by my physical capacities. As a coach this has been a massive learning for me. If I expected that I should be better than my athletes and if not I was a shit coach then this was going to be a long hard road. I’m not the greatest athlete and never will be, but that doesn’t define me as a coach. I won’t be able to enter a score for 17.2 due to my biomechanics, which largely can’t be changed for some movements, the athlete in me thinks that’s shit, and as a coach I wish I could, but I move on and be the best coach I can be. It doesn’t define me.
The one aspect I don’t enjoy seeing during the Open season is amazing people feeling less about themselves because they compared where they are at to others. Comparison is the thief of joy…end of story. Where you are is where you are, and that is just at this point in time. In 12 months you will have moved miles forward.
Many of my athletes have been training for less than a year. And if I had said to them on day 1 in March they would do 50ft of walking lunges with 10 or 15kg dumbbells, a heap of hanging knee raises and then some dumbbell cleans followed by a whole other round of this, and THEN more lunges and THEN they would have 4 or 5mins to try to a pull up they would have not believed me. Most could not even hang from the bar for a few seconds, and handle more than a 3kg Dumbbell let alone lunge to standard.
If I had put an athlete in front of them on day 1 who did this very workout they would have stood in awe and thought that person was incredible. Yet now it’s them and they don’t see how far they have come, they just see what they couldn’t do. As their coach my heart bursts with real and genuine pride, admiration & respect for their efforts, and at the same time it breaks because they don’t see it themselves.
Any skill requires time, effort and work. Those committed to being better will set a course of action and allow me to guide them and put in the extra work needed.
At the end of the day, the Open for most of us is truly just another WOD. It is simply a place marker for where you are today in your fitness journey, not your life journey. That’s an important separation to make. In another year you WILL be fitter, you WILL have new skills and you WILL have grown on many levels.
Don’t lose focus team, don’t give in because of one perceived ‘bad’ workout. To give some balance there are many people in the world that would give anything to just have the opportunity to do a simple WOD. But because of factors they can’t change like health or physical incapacity they can’t but they would give anything for just one moment to feel like you do and have the chance to try.
So switch your focus from what you can’t to what you DID, celebrate the win for what it was. And use the can’t not as something to dwell or or be down about but to fuel your focus and drive to continue to grow.
You’ve Got This!! I believe in your infinite potential.