So a little background, how did I get to be a coach at the CrossFit Games? Whisky. That’s the answer. When we moved CFI over to Outlaw programming we figured we should get Rudy something to say thank you. We got him Jameson. But, one can’t ship Jameson to the Americas, but if you’re travelling over, you can bring it with. Hence, I’d earned my coach’s pass.
And now, onto some of what I learnt:
First off, tiny little percentages make the difference in the end between these athletes. It’s presumed that everyone can run, lift, etc. So what separates people are small differences which mean being a contender, and being a champion. Like:
- Swinging your arms in a broad jump can increase it by about 10%
- How to perform a ‘jump stop’ for a fast turnaround on intervals
- How much of a backswing is required on a sledgehammer swing.
- Taping and chalking the heels of your Nanos to grip onto the perspex in HSPU. True story.
- Use a thumbless grip when cleaning a fat bar to do thrusters.
Every advantage you can gain is worthwhile, so while the above might seem trivial, they add up. Also, they help settle an athlete. Rather than relying on raw potential, you’ve now given them something to concentrate on in an event.
As the weekend wore on, you really saw how much of a toll the whole thing took on the athletes. As as people get tired, they start neglecting what they need to do to feel and perform better. They’re slow to eat, take ice baths, drink, sleep, etc. This is where game-day coaching comes into play. They’re relying on you to book them in for physio sessions, to hand them drinks, and to take their mind off the competition so they can relax between events.
From this you really understand the mental resilience of these guys. You can talk about, read about, and watch videos of people kicking ass despite adversity, and digging deep. But it isn’t until you witness it in the flesh you see how impressive these guys are and how strong the human spirit can be. We’ve all a lot more in the tank than we think we do. Somehow, these athletes have found a way to shut out those voices telling you to slow down or stop because of whatever circumstance has beaten you down. This is definitely the most inspiring part of it all.
Oh yeah, and seeing Talayna claim 3rd place with a win over Clever in Fran was awesome.