Separate intention from impact

Warning: I’m going to vent. Leave is you so choose. You can always visit another time. I won’t vent until the end of this blog, though, so feel free to continue reading until you get angry.

Jeff and I watched the women’s Olympic weightlifting finals. For the first time in my life I actually knew what the athletes were doing. Jeff excitedly said, “They’re doing snatches? I know what that is! They’re doing clean & jerks? I know what how to do that!” I couldn’t help but yell at the screen, “Lock it out! Lock it out!” I also had an opportunity to watch some of the men’s gymnastics. Again, I know so much more about gymnastics than I did just four years ago.

CrossFit. Yes, CrossFit.

A very bad stormed passed our way last night and took down a pear tree in our front yard. First thing this morning Jeff and I spent about two hours removing the tree, including sawing, throwing, heaving, cutting, clipping, sweating, and swearing. The two of us work well together. It was actually somewhat fun to accomplish this task. Fun, but exhausting…

Luke was impatiently waiting for me to finish this task so that I could then take him for his Sunday walk. As the weather was cooler than it has been, although still quite humid, he had no interest in walking, and we began our 4-mile foray with a 1-mile all out sprint. We did fartlek the next 3 miles, usually running but sometimes walking between sprints. I love to run, but Luke loves to run. It was a very fun run. Fun, but exhausting…

I immediately went to CFZ for skill building, working on snatches and, for a change of pace, clean & jerks. There were quite a few present. I only offered assistance when I thought and/or felt like it was wanted. This included wall ball coaching for Brooke and Claire and kipping pull-ups coaching for Brooke. By the way, very nice job, Claire and Brooke!

Michael Kelley observed a few lifts and recordings of lifts that I shared with him, and provided much appreciated guidance. For whatever reason, I’ve been forgetting to look straight ahead when I do snatches. That one thing, looking at a fixed target on the wall, immediately helped my performance. I showed him a recording of a 125# clean & jerk. He said, “You need to open your hips a little sooner. You need faster elbows.” I said, “If I were a coach I’d say, ‘You’re showing significant improvement, Paul! Your timing is much, much better, you’re waiting to bend your arms, your squat depth is incredible, and you’re very explosive on the jerk. You could improve by opening your hips just a little more and by getting your elbows under the bar just a little bit faster.’” He replied, “At this point in your lifting you only need negative comments.” You are so very, very wrong. Nonetheless, I appreciate the fatback. I mean feedback.

I don’t say it often (or perhaps often enough): Thank you, Michael Kelley. Now shave that damn beard, as it makes your face look that much fatter.

I treated Michael Kelley to dinner last night. He had a salad, a porterhouse steak, a lobster tail, a grilled chicken breast, green beans, and a sweet potato. I kid you not. I took the opportunity to broach a topic that I’ve been reluctant to discuss with him, specifically my concerns regarding CFZ. He’s the head coach, and I don’t want to tell him what to do. Okay, that’s not entirely true. Nonetheless, I thought he was going to react negatively to my suggestions when in fact we were in complete agreement.

Thus, going forward I have permission to state to all in attendance that only coaches may offer coaching, particularly doing metcons. Quite a few folks have taken it upon themselves to coach others. Yes, I know their intentions may be sincere, but it can lead to confusion and contradictory information for the athletes.

I’ll take yesterday as an example. During the 10:30 WOD that I coached there were a few people who had attended the earlier session who were milling about during the metcon, i.e., in the midst of the athletes. I found myself often having to walk around them. I said, as I’ve said in the past, “You my cheer, but you may not coach.”

Thus, going forward only folks who are participating in the session will be allowed to be in the area where people are working on skills or conditioning. As there is plenty of space at the entrance to the box, athletes will be asked to wait there. Again, everyone is welcome to cheer.

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However, not everyone wants to be cheered for – including yours truly. For example, when I was doing the metcon yesterday quite a few people provided encouragement. My immediate thought is always, “This isn’t a competition. It’s just a metcon. I know what I’m doing here, and I don’t need anything from anyone but perhaps the coach.” Going forward, any athlete may request that they not be provided encouragement. This would include encouragement from folks attending the same session as well as folks standing by. You merely need to shake your head “no”. Coaches, of courses, will continue to coach. Coaches, of course, will continue to provide direction and support.

I have visited quite a few CrossFit boxes and I’ve never been coached by anyone who wasn’t a certified CrossFit coach. As a coach, I’ve never offered coaching at any other box unless it was explicitly requested, e.g., a Running Clinic.

I know, I know, everyone means well. We need to separate intention from impact.


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