If you have kids, have ever been around kids or were a kid once yourself (read: EVERYONE), then you might recall teaching (or learning) something for the first time. Let’s use playing catch as the example. You throw the ball a few times to your young child and he actually catches it once or twice. “I did it!” Fast forward a few years to t-ball. You kindly suggest that perhaps it would be good if he practiced in between games. But “daaaaaaad” or “moooooooom,” I already know how to do it. Huh. Guess it’s time to reinforce the importance of “practice makes perfect.” And whether it truly takes 10,000 hours or 20 hours to master a skill, the bottom line is takes time, finesse and the desire to improve in order to become good, perhaps even great, at something. This is the thing, people, we want everyone to become proficient at tackling any WOD that comes their way. But it takes time and furthermore it takes the smarts to know when to slow it down. The following article titled In Defense of “WOD-ing” Less from Tabata Times articulates this point better than we can. Please read this and consider how it can apply to your CrossFit experience…or even to other aspects of your life.
When learning a new skill, we go through four distinct phases of competency:
4 Phases Which I Like to Think of in These Terms:
1. Introduction to New Skill: First time seeing a skill (e.g. a Snatch)
“WTF is this? Like this….? Do I really need this skill?”
2. Theoretical Understanding: Ability to see how it works “in theory” but inability to replicate it correctly.
“Well it makes sense in theory, and when (s)he does it…”
3. Focused Competence: Ability to do the skill with concentration and focus.
“I got this….just let me set up…hang on…”
4. Confidence/Proficiency Under Pressure: Ability to perform the skill well enough to do it safely in a WOD and meet the movement requirements.
“Well, it wasn’t pretty, but I got the lift…”
The thing is, once we learn a skill and are able to do it Rx in a WOD, we often consider it “mastered” and move onto bigger/more exciting things. Except that getting better isn’t always about learning new skills; it’s also a matter of improving/fixing the foundation.
For most of us, our CrossFit starts in some sort of an OnRamp or Foundations program during which we are introduced to the basic CrossFit movements. At this point it’s not so much about perfection as it is about the ability to replicate movements safely, and once we can demonstrate that, we are allowed to proceed to more advanced skill(s) e.g. move from the air squat to the wall ball, thruster or back squat.
However, even as we progress and become
- fitter, and
- more bodily aware,
it never hurts to go back to the basics and apply our increased knowledge and skill to become more efficient at them.