Some of my thoughts on the 2014 CrossFit Games.
2014 was a great year. As a coach, I learned more about coaching, programming and organizing a team than in the previous 5 years combined. As a program and as a gym, we discovered what it means to grow and develop talent at the level that it takes to compete on the Regional and Games stage.
There were highs and lows, as in just about everything we do, but I can honestly say that this year was by far the most rewarding year that we’ve had to date. It was also, in my opinion, the best show that CrossFit HQ has ever put on. From the Open to Regionals and through the Games, the organization, the workouts and the professionalism was second to none.
I will keep my thoughts specifically to the Games, because I have already written my thoughts on the Open and Regionals. This will be a three-part series. Today I will cover some of the lessons learned. The next topic will be things that we knew, but that were confirmed for us, and the third will be our direction for 2015.
1) You never know who will step up.
In moments of high-stress and high-intensity, you never know who will rise to the occasion to lead a team they way the need to be led on the field. This year, Reid Reagan stepped up in a big way, organizing, leading and keeping the team positive and productive. Reid is a great athlete in training, but had not ever had a real chance to show that side of himself. The Games gave him that opportunity and brought it out of him
2) Plans are great… but adaptation is better.
This year’s team was probably one of the best in the world at planning and executing. They are calm under pressure and confident in executing a plan once it’s laid out. One place we struggled was in our ability to adapt to changes on the fly – in the moment – in order to make the most of opportunities. Sometimes, things will not line up as expected, and you have to be able to modify, work, modify, repeat. In Regional competition, you have the ability to practice and plan for the WODs well ahead of time. You get to see what works and what does not and you can test them for each athletes’ ability and placement within the WOD. At the Games, no such planning exists. Much of the equipment was new to the team, and the WODs were ones we had never done before, so any kind of planning and preparation had to be “theoretical”.
This is where is pays to know yourself as an athlete and for the team to know themselves as a team. Who should go first, second, third? How many reps should each person do? Where should we line up on the Bob – the Worm – the Swim Raft?
It is never ideal to go into a workout without a plan. Plans are necessary and vital to success. But the ability to redirect, communicate and then succeed is equally, if not more, important.
When the plan fails (and it will at one point or another) the choice has to be made whether to stick to the plan and finish or change the plan and finish. One thing I will say though, all the plans they made and all the changes they made they did as a team and did so at 100%. Like any team should.
3) Training environment is important.
This might be better placed under the “Things We Already Knew But That Were Confirmed” category, but it was a big learning lesson nonetheless.
We train in the heat here in Texas. From March through October, we train in 90-100 degree heat and high relative humidity. That can be both a positive or a negative, depending… But one thing we don’t do much of is train in direct sunlight. Yes, when they’re outside running, or when they’re pushing sleds or carrying kettlebells maybe… But not when they’re doing pull-ups, HSPU or MU. The direct sunlight was by no means a deal-breaker, but it was one more thing that the athletes had to contend with and adapt to that was outside the scope of their training. And it was a factor.
All-in-all, I am extremely proud of our athletes and team. The earned everything they got, and with the caliber of athletes constantly on the rise, they should be proud of themselves as well. This season was the hardest they have had to endure, but I am sure they will return to the gym hungrier than ever and ready to prove themselves again in 2015.
Week 02 Training: 14.08.11
A. Back Squat: 6×6@70 + 10-15#
Notes: Remember, the 70% above is 70% of your “working max”, which is 90% of your true 1-RM. This week, you will add 10-15 pounds to your squatting weight (NOT 10-15%).
B. For Time:
25 Weighted Strict Pull-ups @ 30/15#
25 Butterfly Pull-ups
25 Weighted Depth Pushups @ 30/15#
25 Clapping Pushups
Notes: If you have weight vest, wear it. If you don’t, you will use a dumbbell, kettlebell or plates.
C. 10 Minute Walk @ 30/15# Weight Vest