Posts Tagged ‘coaching’

There are thousands of people around the world who are “certified” to coach CrossFit. Does that mean they’re all good at it? Absolutely not!

Like any other profession in the world, you’re going to have some variation of a bell curve: A small few who are really good at what they do, some who are really bad at it, and the majority of others falling somewhere in between the two on that spectrum.

The difference with CrossFit coaching and other professions, however, is that a bad cue from a coach in the middle of class could potentially lead to an athletes injuring himself/herself, or others around them.

Let me be clear, this post is not about whether or not you like a cue a coach gives you. It’s intentionally about what you think should be done if a coach gives you BAD, and wrong, advice!

I’d love it if you’d watch my video below, and let me know what you think. Do you agree or disagree with me?

What would you do, or advise others, if they found themselves in the position of being given bad advice. Let’s chat!

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Did the 2018 CrossFit Games get you fired up and ready to improve more by next year’s Open?

Do you have an intelligent plan in place to get there? You should.

You don’t need a personalized coach to help you create that plan, but if you do it yourself, I suggest at least running over your plan with someone else that you know and trust. Let me know if I can help you in any way.

Train safe, train smart, and have fun out there!

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines an Ivory Tower as “a secluded place that affords the means of treating practical issues with an impractical often escapist attitude; especially a place of learning.” I think there are a lot of trainers out there making statements about fitness from a very similar place!

They read in a book that the back squat is taught one way, or learned a skill from a coach in a particular way, and from that moment on they live and die by the concept that no other way of teaching that movement could possibly be correct! Well, if you’ve ever coached actual humans in an actual gym, you quickly learn that no two people learn things the exact same way. If you only have one way of explaining, you will miss connecting with a variety of athletes.

In my opinion, as long as your athletes are safe, there is no right or wrong way to teach something. I believe it was Matt or Cherie Chan who once said to me, “the best cue to give an athlete is the one that works!” Instead of sitting back and commenting on how other people are teaching things incorrectly, open up your mind and consider that some people just need to hear the same thing explained in a different way for it to click for them!

Check out this episode of Drive Time with Smashby, and let me know whether or not you agree with me…. and why! Happy Thursday!

When a workout is programmed (or created), there is almost always an intended stimulus in mind. This means that the coach writing it likely expects the work to be completed within a certain time frame. When athletes complete workouts, they’re not always aware of these goals, or given specific things to strive for in their efforts. Does this matter?

If you walked in the gym and saw the workout of the day was Helen (3rds of 400m run, 21 KB swings, and 12 pull-ups), what would you think? Would you look at the movements and decide whether or not you could them, and do them at the weight they’re prescribed? Would you think about your previous PR and whether or not you’d be able to beat it? Would you simply think about whether or not you like the movements in the workout?

Does the thought ever entire your mind about how long a workout “should” take an athlete? Maybe some days are more or less important than others to scale up (or down) in order to finish within a particular window of time?

Should coaches play an active role in explaining those types of things to athletes, or is our role simply to make sure no one gets hurt?

These are questions that are really important to me, and I’d love to hear what you think about this topic. Check out the video below, and then…. let’s chat!

One of my favorite parts of being a coach/personal trainer is being able to see your athletes improve through their hard work!

A really funny part of coaching is when you give an athlete a cue on how to improve a particular skill, and then a few days or weeks later having them share “this brand new cue they heard” from somewhere else …. that is the exact same cue you gave them previously. It happens more often than you might think.

There are so many factors that explain why moments like this happen (information overload or ineffective cuing from the coach, athlete physical and mental fatigue, the list goes on), but they can each be used as a learning experience if you let them!

What do you think about what I have to say on the topic? I’d love to know!

The next week of Smashby’s Tip of the Week is live, and it’s the final of my four week handstand push-up progression!

Although the video is a bit long, I cover a lot of information.

The first three weeks focused on my process for teaching athletes how to safely get upside down and support their own body weight. This final week moves through progressions I use to continue to build confidence in athletes, along with timelines for when I think the next step should be t

Here’s a snapshot summarizing my 4-week series:

  • Learn and progress through the steps to safely learn Wall Climbs/Wall Walks
  • Learn and progress through the steps to safely learn a Headstand
  • Learn and progress through the steps to safely learn a Handstand
  • Build strength and control through the use of Negatives
  • Learn and progress through steps to safely apply Kipping to Handstand Push-Ups

What did you think of this series? Did you find it helpful? If not for yourself, do you think it’s a good way to teach other athletes?

Let me know in the comments, and let’s talk about this. If it’s good, I would love to share it with others. If it sucks, help me improve my content so it can help others.

Thanks in advance!

What a time to be alive!

Self-driving cars, sushi burritos, and billions and billions of armchair coaches (who watched seven Coach Burgener videos and three hundred slow-motion montages from “Hook Grip“) that are chomping at the bit to let you know what you did wrong on your last lift!

I’ve been in this game for a long time, and when I review my own lifts I can tell you what I’m doing wrong. I already know! I’m constantly working to get better because it’s a process. If it were easy, everyone would be perfect. That’s why I post so many of my training videos online, because I want advice and (constructive) feedback on how to get better.

Most people are not me, though.

UnsolicitedAdvice

When you’re scrolling through your phone looking to share your endless wealth of knowledge (especially to people you don’t even know), think twice before hitting “enter” on your post. If you’re actually in a gym but aren’t the coach, be extra careful!

Last month I wrote a post about the risks of giving advice if you’re not qualified to do so. (One wrong cue could lead to someone else getting hurt because of you.) This post isn’t about you being qualified, though. It’s about being aware enough to recognize when no one asked you in the first place! That may sound harsh, but it’s true. If a friend asks you to watch and critique, that’s one thing. But otherwise, let it go.

“Oh man, you missed that snatch. Extend your hips more, scarecrow tall, pull under harder, and punch to the sky next time!”

“Are you sure? I thought I was supposed to pull the bar up to my eyeballs and then fall on my back. Is that not how this lift works? Thanks so much for your help that I didn’t ask for…”

Moral of the Story

Don’t give someone unsolicited lifting advice if:

(A) You’re not qualified to do so.

(B) You weren’t asked for it!

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. But there are far more people giving advice than those asking for it! This is something I’ve had to get better with, myself. My intentions are always so positive in wanting to help others, but I need to remind myself that not everyone wants my opinion. If I’m leading a class, that’s one thing, as I’m literally being paid to help others. But outside of that scenario, I try to only give feedback when I’m asked for it!

Here’s last week’s recap and my goals for the upcoming week.

Last week:

  • Fitness
    • The 2018 CrossFit Games Open is over!!! We did ittttt!!!
    • For workout 18.5, I retested and got ten more reps. This was a big deal for me because I was a little bummed that “in six years I only improved three reps” (from my first attempt.) I paced the second go-round better, was a little bit more fearless, and trusted that I’d have enough juice in the tank to hang on. I’m happy with how this Open season ended, and I’m really proud of so many of the athletes I got to watch compete. Great job, friends!
  • Health
    • Another good week of meal prep in the books. I don’t think I went out to eat for lunch (due to lack of planning) a single day, and always had food relatively closeby.
    • Since I wasn’t staying up super late to record the Open workout strategy videos, I got quite a bit more sleep, too! I won’t tell you how much “quite a bit more” is, but hey… celebrate the small victories. I promise I’m working on sleeping more!

This week:

  • Need to fine-tune things on completing taxes, so when that’s done, I can breathe a little bit easier. Can’t wait!
  • Some of you might remember the speech I gave at the Annual Conference of Urologists in Florida last year. I was asked to speak at another event of theirs here in town, and the big day is this Saturday. I’m really excited, and flattered to have been invited back. It’s going to be a big weekend of work-related things, but at least I enjoy the work I do, right?

Alright, your turn. What’s going on with all of you?

Pic of the week is of the newest addition to our home gym… our very own Concept2 Rower! I still haven’t even touched it yet, but it’s here! Excited to hopefully get in a bit more cardio when life slows down a little bit.

WE DID IT!!! We survived the 2018 CrossFit Games Open!!!

As someone who has done every single Open, no matter how much the workouts change, one aspect of the event remains consistent year after year. There are always first-timers, athlete’s doing it “just for fun,” those looking to compete against their friends, and individuals sincerely hoping to make it to the next level of competition. Regardless of which group you identify with, when coach yells out, “3, 2, 1, GO!” every single person in the gym gives each workout their all. It’s so much fun to watch, and even more fun to coach!

In a post last week, I talked about intelligent ways of planning out how to structure your next year of training. (If you haven’t already, I really think you should check it out!) A lot of athletes have put in countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears into preparing for a five week competition. Between sleepless nights, sore muscles, and redoing workouts, our bodies are tired! If your Open season is over, I’m here to encourage you to give yourself time to relax. It can be tempting to jump onto a new programming or add in a ton of accessory work, but your body needs a break!

Today, I think it’s important to take a step back and breathe.

I often talk about the impact proper nutrition and adequate sleep can have on your performance, your brain needs some time to recover, too! In every other sport, there’s a clear “Off-Season;” a block of time where athletes are almost forced to take a break. In CrossFit, we don’t really have that. Since “going to the gym” is such an integrated part of our lives, a lot of athletes refuse to acknowledge the fact that resting for a few days, or even weeks, might make you better! The whole “No Rest Days” philosophy is something I’ve written about in the past, and will certainly write about in the future, but not today.

Today, I want to ask you to pause, take a few minutes, and reflect.

Really think about what has happened over the last five weeks of your “fitness” life.

And only allow yourself to think in positive terms.

Reflection

 

What did YOU get out of the Open?

Did you finish any workout faster than expected? Were you able to complete a movement for the first time? Did you go “Rx’d” on your first Open WOD? I know several people who are simply happy with how positive they kept their mindset, and how well they kept their nerves under control. The happy things are easy to identify!

Now, it can be easy to look back and only think of the negative aspect of things. But not today! Were you frustrated about anything? Did you not hit the weight you were hoping to on your heavy clean attempt? Did the handstand push-up rule impact your results in workout 18.4? Were your double-unders a disaster for 18.3? Fine. Now, shift your mindset and let’s rephrase how we look at those scenarios.

  • Disappointed in weight for clean
    • “Over the next year, I will work on challenging myself to hit heavier weights when I’m tired.”
  • Handstand range of motion
    • “By devoting time to slowing down and ensuring I’m in complete control of my lockouts, it will make me much more effective at that movement.”
  • Inconsistent double-unders
    • “A few days per week after my workout, I’ll spend some time practicing my doubles. That way I’ll be used to jumping when I’m tired, and when Castro programs that workout again next year, I’ll be fine!”

Today, I want you to think about THREE THINGS you learned from the Open that are POSITIVE. They can be things you’re legitimately proud of, or areas for improvement that you’ve been lucky enough to identify for yourself!

Take a few minutes and really think about your three things. Then, share them in the comments of this post. Let’s help congratulate and encourage one another to celebrate these positive moments!

Only positive thoughts.

Here are my three:

  • This year, I reestablished a healthier personal relationship with CrossFit.
    • I’ve been doing CrossFit for almost a decade. In that time I have gone from working out in a Bally’s (globo gym) after work, to training nearly three hours per day to try and qualify for Regionals (never did, by the way!), to simply viewing CrossFit as a fun way of working out.
    • I workout by myself over 90% of that time, and while that can be really hard for me, I’m starting to appreciate those moments more. That’s where I get to recharge. It’s my hour to push myself. And it’s a block of time where I can make myself better through this crazy workout program. I’m back to liking CrossFit again.
  • I may have conquered one of my GOATS!
    • In CrossFit we call skills or movements that we aren’t good at, or just don’t like, our goats. Thrusters have always been a goat of mine. I’m not great at squatting OR pressing, so when you put them together, I’m double-excited to work out! With the final workout of this year’s Open, though, a workout presented itself that I had already done four times in the past! Instead of letting it ruin my week, I simply made a plan of how to break up reps, stuck to that plan, and survived! Yep… I did a movement I didn’t like, lived to tell the tale, and realized that maybe I’m not as bad at it as I used to be! Just imagine if I trained to get even better at it one day?! I probably won’t, ya know… because it’s thrusters… but just imagine if I did!
  • The Open has sparked a renewed interest in my blog!
    • I put my heart and soul into trying to provide valuable content for people who decide to visit my blog. My “Open Strategy” videos started way back in 2012, and although it’s a (self-imposed) stressful time of the year for me, it’s so rewarding to see messages from those who feel better prepared to attack those five workouts each year. My goal is to keep giving people a reason to come back here week after week! Whether it’s how to approach a workout, general fitness advice, something cool I’ve come across, or just some insight into this crazy brain of mine, I hope you like what you find here!

So…. what are your three? I’d love for you to share them with me!

There are two predictable behavior patterns that CrossFit athletes show every year. The first is the feeling of sheer panic people get in anticipation of the CrossFit Games Open… which usually starts 2-4 weeks before the competition begins. (Oh no, I still don’t have muscle-ups! Better try to learn them in a week, even though I’ve had a year to practice!) The second thing we can expect is a verbal commitment to improve weaknesses that are identified during the Open over the next year. (Next year I WILL have stronger handstand push-ups!) Many athletes end up falling short of their goals, however. They’ll pick something, work on it for a few weeks, get bored, and then stop.

While anyone can watch athletes on Instagram and follow their accessory work, promise to “add in a few reps of pull-ups after every workout” to get stronger, or run five miles per week to not hate cardio as much, there are more effective ways to ensure steady progress.

Over the years, I’ve created individualized programming for dozens of athletes ranging from mobility progressions, to race training blocks for the Concept2 Rower, to “functional bodybuilding” style work that simply increases raw strength. By having someone you trust provide you with an effective training plan, give you the regular feedback necessary to make adjustments in technique, and help keep you accountable week after week, you’ll be positioning yourself in a place where success is much more likely!

Another thing I’ve discussed on this blog (here, for example) is acknowledging that we can only really focus on improving a few things at a time. If your goals for the next year are to get stronger, faster, bigger, leaner, more gymnasty, more flexible, sleep more, become more mentally tough, improve your lung capacity, clean up your diet, collect more neon-colored workout gear, run a faster mile, and grow a killer beard… maybe you should take a step back and prioritize a few of those things to start. (I’ve written about that here, too.) A good coach can help you do that! This fitness thing really is a marathon, not a sprint.

AfterTheOpen2

Pick one or two things off of that list at a time to improve, get a plan that works for you, and dedicate yourself to it. After some time, move on and attack the next thing. Rinse. Repeat. But whatever you do, don’t say you’re going to get better at something, spend zero time improving it, and then get mad when Dave Castro programs it next year in the Open. You had an entire year to get better!

How can you put yourself in a place to not let a full year pass without improving on those movements and skills?

ACCOUNTABILITY. That’s how.

Let me know if you’d like to chat about how I might be able to help you! While many gyms have great programming and coaching, in order to accomplish goals that apply to you, specifically, it often takes a more personalized approach. Prioritizing goals, then creating a program (complete with effective periodization, structured training cycles, etc) can be a challenge, but they’re really fun to develop.  Let’s get better together!