While coaching a Team WOD a few weeks ago, Coach Ben tossed out a casual comment that holds a ton of weight for our community. It’s something that I’ve thought about at least a 1,000 times since writing this article.
The introduction. We started the morning working on Hang Power Cleans, then transitioned into a powerful, quick burst of conditioning, then finished with some pull-up accessory work. The warm-up, the cleans, and the workout were all formatted from start to finish. Timing, structure, cues, goals, mindset, logistics and barbell weight percentages where are discussed and thoroughly planned out ahead of time. Not atypical by any means, this is what we do as a coaching team week in and week out.
The structure. We had about 8 minutes left in class which was a perfect amount of time to get some additional pull-up work done. It also served as an effective cool-down from the intensity. I told the athletes to grab someone to work with and do anything they wanted to on the pull-up cage as long as it was productive toward improving their pull-up game. I did not discuss progressions, regressions, rep schemes or anything else. I just asked everyone to be productive for the next 5 minutes.
The outcome. Everyone got right to work and took the opportunity to try different things. Ring rows, jumping pull-ups, banded pull-ups, holds, negatives, kipping, chin ups; everyone figured out their level of movement to execute and crushed the work. Subtle, yet very powerful peer to peer coaching conversations took place, and everyone smoothly rolled into their game plan. It was beautiful to watch. Coach Ben sat back and said, “We are kinda like parents, we have to let them go. As long as they are safe, we just have to let them figure things out.”
Sometimes I worry that the CFD community leans a bit too much on the coaching staff to tell them what to do every step of the way; this 5-minute Saturday observation (along with subsequent others) have proved me wrong. The coaching team at Defined sets the tone, motivates by example, develops the culture, educates and guides our athletes to where they need to go. They do not hand hold, they lead.
Learn from your experiences, embraces new challenges, be courageous and don’t be afraid to fail.