Going to a CrossFit Uffda to get a workout is awesome. The music is loud, the people are cool, there are no mirrors TV’s or treadmills to be found. Most people seek out CrossFit gyms for the chance at finding “something different” or to break up the monotony of going through the motions in a traditional “big box” gym. Some people come to have fun and hang with their friends, and some come to get better at CrossFit. Some people like to be coached, and others, not so much. Some people actually know how to BE coached, and others, not so much. These following simple tips can help you get the most out of your CrossFit Coach!
1. Check your ego at the door. Being coached is all about getting you to do the necessary things to advance your goal. Those things are typically things you really don’t like or want to do, or even see as beneficial. Heavy lifting day? What if coach asked you to go over to another area of the gym with a PVC pipe and work on a drill for 15 minutes instead of heaving big weight around. Would you meet this request with skepticism, or would you look at the bigger picture and sacrifice part of todays gainz for a longer term goal. Stepping back to step forward is often a tough thing to do, but it’s usually what needs to happen.
2. Come with the right attitude. Be open to coaching and the process it takes to develop and advance skills. A big cause of frustration for coaches is when you tell someone to do something and they immediately say “ I can’t” or “I’ll never be able to do that” or the like. If your coach is asking you to do something, they obviously have a reason for asking you to do so. If you can’t, don’t say it, show them. Give them an opportunity to see what you CAN do, and work from there. Telling yourself you “can’t” has psychological effects that you want to avoid. Approach all challenges with a can do attitude!
3. Focus. Don’t talk so much. Listen and focus on what your coach is saying; “Focus on focusing”. If something is causing you sketchy pain or you really feel like you are in danger, communicate that. Your coach does not need to hear that it is “really hard”, or is “so different than what you are used to” or “this feel so weird”, or my personal favorite “I’m trying”. Developing new movement patterns is hard, especially when you’ve been doing it wrong for a long time, and will take a lot hard work. If you do not understand the instruction, pay attention and focus first, ask second (or third or fourth). If you are not getting the coaching you need or want, by all means speak up! Asking to be coached is one thing, being a good student is another.
4. Keep you head in the game. Many times people get frustrated and want to give up after a couple of failed attempts. If getting better, more efficient or even learning something for the first time, doesn’t happen right away, focus on what you can learn from the attempts. Many people forget that the things we are doing at CrossFit is about virtuosity, not just checking the box. A perfect air squat takes a lot of time and effort to even get good at much less perfect. The air squat is the basis on which 90% of what we do is based upon. How good is your air squat? Or are you just worried about getting your Snatch weight up. Just because you’re doing it, doesn’t mean you’re doing it right and chances are you could be doing it better.
5. Don’t take it personally. I can’t count the times I’ve offered coaching tips to people only to have it met with aggression. “I AM” or “I’M TRYING” or even worse ” I CAN’T” are common responses. Others hang their head like a pet who has been scolded. Coaching is not meant to make you feel bad, it’s meant to make you better. Your feelings are not a part of the equation. Just because your coach is giving you que’s, doesn’t mean they think your not trying hard, it just means you have room for improvement. There is no faster way to stop receiving coaching than to snap back at your coach. Listen, adjust, try harder.
Working on your ability to be coachable can help your progress come much more quickly. Rebutting, arguing, and especially ignoring your coach will cause limited progress and even injury. Remember, the reason we do these movements in a coached environment is to get the help we need to improve. Improving requires an open mind, the right attitude, focused work and keeping your eye on the long term.