Part 3: Direction for 2015
There are definitely some things I want to try on my athletes – one simple and specific example: incorporating weighted vests more into training. As far as programming and performance goes, I think the results speak for themselves. I guess the logical question would then be “Central finished 21st this year. How do you finish on the podium next year?”
I wish I had the answer written on a piece of paper folded up neatly in my pocket. But I don’t.
One of the things I have tried to get the Central athletes to do is take a bit of time off. I pushed for four weeks. Four weeks of rest and relaxation where they could let their bodies heal, mentally detach from training and come down off the emotional high of the Games. It’s hard to do when you’re still hungry from this year, when your entire life revolves around training and especially hard when you see and hear of other people training hard, PRing and making progress. I think it’s one of those things you just have to learn through experience. This will be a key part of our season and my program in the future (having an actual “off-season”).
Another concept I will be employing this year is a more regular use of deload weeks. We had regular deload weeks this year, but looking back, they were too far apart. This year, every 4-6 weeks will be a deload week.
I will also be looking into having our team compete in several more “off-season” comps. The team that we took to the Games this year had only ever competed in one competition as a team before that (Regionals). This will be crucial to their success next year.
Although we did so this year, in years to come it will be very clear from day one what is to be expected of anyone wishing to compete as an individual or on the team. This is not an ordeal that involves six people on a team. To be successful at the Games, you need the understanding and support of your training partners, your gym, your community, sponsors, spouses, nuclear family and extended family. We nailed it in some aspects, but not in others.
While were on the topic of success… There are many factors that determine the success of a team at the Games.
1) The athletes themselves. What caliber of athlete are they? Are they at the level of a Games Podium Team? In other words, even if all 6 members PR’d everything — had a dream weekend, would this be enough to beat the best teams in the world?
2) Athlete preparation. Are the athletes primed, peaked and ready to fulfill their potential on game-day? Even the best athletes in the world can come in overtrained and underperform. In this column I would include recovery practices, warm-up and cool-down practices and most definitely, game-day and recovery nutrition practices.
3) Team unity and teamwork. Do the athletes work well as a unit? Is there a clear, obvious leader that the other five follow into battle? Even the six best athletes in the world can fail if they do not perform and communicate as one. Understanding personalities and personal interactions are crucial. The six athletes literally have to be willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the team and for the five others at their right and left.
4) Coaching. How does the coach manage each individual’s and the team’s expectations? What does their physical, mental and emotional preparation look like post-Regionals and leading up through the first workout of the Games? Does the coach have a co-coach or a team of coaches? How does the coach lead, manage and direct warm-ups, strategy sessions and last-minute advice/pep-talks? Does the coach have experience as an athlete or coach in previous competitions or Regionals or Games? This is a huge advantage when it comes to being able to do most if not all of the above.
5) Programming. Has the programming prepared the athletes for the CrossFit Games? While there is no way to know what will happen at the Games, if you train for the Games
a) in a well-rounded and inclusive manner
b) building athletes from the ground up
c) using systematic and progressive adaptations
d) across broad time and modal domains
there is a good chance you will be prepared. CF Invictus won this year. What got them to the top of the podium? For one, it was years of consistent dedication following a very specific program set up by CJ in an environment of integrity and excellence. Was it the athletes? Their preparation? Their teamwork? Their coaching? Their programming?
I don’t think it was any one of these things by itself. It was the whole package. It was all the things. No special pills – no magic bullets – no shortcuts. Just excellence in all things.
Week 02 Training: 14.08.13
A. Back Squat: 7×5@75 + 10-15
B1. 3 x 10/10: Alternating Dumbbell Curls
B2. 3 x 10: Banded Tricep Extensions
C. 400m Sled Drag @ 90/60# (60% RPE)