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Coach Skeds 2018 Reflections

Coach Skeds 2018 Reflections

I started off 2018 with a lot of opportunities and a vision. On December 31, 2017, I officially separated from full-time military service with no clear landing zone. I had a vision, though, and an opportunity and that I held tight to. My intention for 2018 was to become a CrossFit coach, and I feel confident that I achieved that intention.

Becoming a coach, truly becoming a coach and not just filling a title as a coach, is at the center of everything that I did in 2018.

Early 2018

I came into 2018 with a lot of certificates from both schooling and a few organizations. Because of these certificates, I could title myself a coach but where the rubber meets the road, schooling does not a coach make. Don’t get me wrong, personal and professional development is always valuable and at times certification is a required first step down that path.

I also came in with an unrelenting desire to foster the culture and community that I’d discovered at Icehouse. I’d walked through the doors about 6 months earlier and had experienced that personal transformation that having teammates again had created in me. I definitely experienced this at Icehouse through spending time with a diverse cross-section of people who all want the best for themselves, and the best for the athletes that they spend time with.

So with education and enthusiasm, my first tactical step was to develop the tools to be a serviceable coach on the floor. CrossFit HQ breaks coaching down into seven aspects: teaching, seeing, correcting, group management, presence, attitude, and demonstration. I spent hours upon hours in the early part of 2018 practicing each of these aspects. Practice, practice, practice; by myself, one-on-one, then being on the floor shadowing and finally leading.

Every day since I coached my first class I’ve done my best to do better. The tactical part of CrossFit coach development; seeing movement, correcting, demonstrating, and teaching never stops. Repetitions make the tasks easier and feel more like second nature, but make no mistake there are opportunities during every class for me to do just a little better.

Middle 2018

The middle part of 2018 my focus surprisingly shifted inward. When teaching, demonstrating, correcting, and seeing movement became more natural, the next step turned out to be bringing my depths as a person to my everyday. It was easy to navigate most of my adult life without ever having examined who I was as a person. I made a lot of small-talk, checked a lot of boxes, and kept a very clear line between my professional life and my personal life.

In order to be effective, in order to tap into the art of coaching, I needed to become real. This profession isn’t one where I am able to clock in and clock out. This profession is based on real, authentic human connection. I had to become real, and I couldn’t do that by reading a book or listening to a podcast. I had to do work. It has taken a village to help me with this aspect of coaching development, and I am very fortunate to have a number of people help me work on this every day. They ask questions and allow me the space to process and uncover my answers. Just like seeing, teaching, demonstrating and correcting, becoming real gets easier with repetitions and time, and each day provides me with an opportunity to improve.

Late 2018

I spent the last part of 2018 trying to put the tasks of the previous months together into a complete package, call it building a toolbox. I learned skills in the early part of the year, I learned about myself in the middle part of the year and by the end of it I started working on using the right tool for the right circumstance:

  • sometimes athletes need a kick in the butt and sometimes they need a hug
  • sometimes they need a shout of encouragement from across the room and sometimes they need a quiet whisper of encouragement from right next to the barbell;
  • sometimes they need to put five more pounds on the bar, sometimes making it to class is enough for the win.

2018 was a year of development for me and I couldn’t have done it without the people in my daily life. They inspire me, they challenge me, they support me, and most importantly, they love me unconditionally.

Here’s to what 2019 will bring!

Confessions of a Recovering Robot

Confessions of a Recovering Robot

“Breath in, breathe out.  Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in.”

A couple of my favorite songs play during a super tough workout are “Machinehead” by Bush and “I am Machine” by Three Days Grace.  It’s this singularly focused mindset that I slip into, for four to nine minutes, where nothing matters but efficient movement and the prescribed work.

Four to nine minutes… for a few days as week, at most, that’s the “optimal” time to become a machine on the training floor.  What if that bleeds into your everyday life? What if you think and prepare and execute as though you were a machine, all the time?  Is it really that bad?

Routine

I’m a big fan of routine; in fact, I thrive on routine.  There’s a lot of science out there that suggests that the more we can automate our daily tasks, the more energy and brain power we’ll have to give to novel (not daily) tasks.  It takes extra energy that you have to spare in the present moment to pay forward to your future self when you either don’t have time or brain power to spare. So what kinds of things do I “automate”?  

  • Meal prep – I have batch cooked the exact same breakfast (pumpkin baked oatmeal) since august, and generally eat it 5 times a week.  For reference, I ate the same lunch for 75% of my 4 years of high school (turkey sandwich with mustard and pickles)
  • Prep for the day – Before I go to bed, I lay my clothes out for the following day and pack my gym bag.
  • Prep for the week – Sunday evenings I make sure to review my calendar for the following week and make note cards for all of my classes.

Perfection

Truth be told, as much as I automate to make my daily life seamless and predictable, I automate to make my life as ideal as possible.  I try to be prepared in order to be of service to the people in my life, and I find it real hard to ask for and accept help when I need it.  I have learned that being an “ideal friend” who doesn’t have needs, isn’t ideal. Help, support, love needs to bounce between people like an electrical current.  People need to feel needed and useful, all people. Being able to help is as much for the helper as it is for the person receiving help. Allowing myself some grace for having bad days, and having needing help is still a work in progress, but I understand why it’s so valuable and worth breaking the habit.  

Predictability versus Novelty

As big a fan of predictability  as I am, I have learned that there are limits to the effectiveness of it for life.  I err’d on the side of routine for a long time; I could automate, pre-load, and prepare for just about every part of my day.  Everything turned into a boxes to check and “to do” lists to clear; becoming really good at checking boxes is where I derived my value.  That mindset resulted, for better or worse, in me becoming far less capable of dealing with change and appreciating the novelty of life.

There’s the kicker…life, real, wholehearted life, is nothing but change and novelty.  

I got real good at checking boxes, I was really good at being EFFICIENT in my day to day life.  I wasn’t any better, and go so far as to say that I was worse, at ENGAGING in life.

The Way Ahead

I still have a fair number of robotic tendencies.  I am being more mindful to keep the ones that serve me (meal prep, preparing for the day…), and letting go of the ones that do not (seeking perfection, never asking for help…).  It is challenging work, but absolutely worth it.

‘Real isn’t how you are made.  It’s a thing that happens to you.  Sometimes it hurts, but when you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.  It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily or have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept.  Generally by the time are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and are very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.  Once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.’ – Margery Williams “The Velveteen Rabbit”

 

Meal Prep 101

Meal Prep 101

Nutrition is the foundation of performance inside and outside the gym.  It fuels your training and your life. Here at Icehouse we encourage taking the whole foods approach to nutrition that sounds a lot like, “eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar” ~ Greg Glassman, or the abbreviated version, “eat real food, not too much, mostly plants” ~ Ben Bergeron. (more…)

From “Gym-timidation” to “Gym-powerment”

From “Gym-timidation” to “Gym-powerment”

So there you are, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, right before bed, again.  You know something has to change, but where do you even start? There are just so many options.   (more…)

Coach Skeds “Top 4” Mobility Movements

Coach Skeds “Top 4” Mobility Movements

I’ve compiled a list of my Top 4 mobility movements that I do weekly.  I have been working for months to develop a deeper squat.  After spending almost 20 years in the military walking around in nothing but combat boots I have developed some pretty tight ankles.  I also like to spend some quality time making sure my hips and glutes are flexible enough for squatting.  Check out my favorite mobility movements below. (more…)