Bedford Days: CrossFit & Barbells on the Waterfront, July 2nd



Date Posted May 12 2016

Written By:  Coach Lynch

I’ve been in sport for so long I sometimes forget that others have not.  I forget that not everyone has had that same exposure to teams, coaching, structure, goals, training and philosophies.  I forget that sometimes I need to more clearly articulate the expectations I have and requirements for athletes to deliver in order for me to want to spend time with them.


Weightlifting is a sport.  So is CrossFit.  Rocky Lake is not a general fitness facility where we all pay a membership and do what ever we want.  You pay a membership to be part of this team, this community, to have access to coaches who have decades of experience at the highest levels in multiple sports and who know how to coach athletes to those levels or at the very minimum, coach people to improved levels of fitness.


I want to address this because the environment in weightlifting is very critical in allowing the coach to deliver and the athlete to develop. 


My expectations are:


1. Be there for others.  When someone approaches the barbell, encourage him or her.  When they lift, motivate them to push harder, move faster and correctly cue them.


2. Know your team’s goals.  I mean pay attention to your team, your friends – treat them like family.  You should know their PRs, you should encourage them if they are going for a new one.  Recognize the importance of this – maybe take a photo or video the lift for review.


3. Be on time.  If you aren’t that tells me you don’t value the coach’s’ time.  There are always exceptions to this and I appreciate when people let me know why they are late.  You don’t have to tell me repeatedly if it is a consistent reason you can’t remedy like work/family commitments. 


What infuriates me is when people leave early without a discussion about why this distraction needs to occur.  It takes a lot of effort to program, to plan trainings, to set up, to create a productive environment and coach the lifts.  The entire training is on the board for a reason and I don’t spend time putting accessory work on the board for people to choose not to do it and leave.  I put it there to develop athletes.  It isn’t an option like you have an option at GoodLife to jump on the 9 machine circuit one more time before hitting body pump with your hung over friend and sweat out the boos from the night before… The option is do the work or don’t come – this isn’t a fitness buffet and we're not here to work off the Willy's Poutine you just remembered scarfing down.  We're athletes and we take weightlifting seriously.  We live weightlifting and desire increased work capacity.  Skipping work you don’t feel like doing creates deficiencies in the lifts in the long term, which are harder to diagnose.  If you absolutly need to leave talk to the coach about how to do so without detracting from the class. 


In all my years in Taekwon-Do I never, not one time, left a class early unless I recieved explicit permission from my coach to do so.  I’ve had thousands of hours of class time being coached.  I never once left on my own accord.  We didn’t do it.  Showing up late…  We had to stand on the side in attention stance (a formal waiting position) until acknowledged by the coach and instructed to join in as a sign of respect and so not to distract the athletes who made it a point to be there on time.


I hear a few justifications (some variations) from people as they are putting on their shoes and about to leave:

  • I did squats earlier I don't need to do those again. 
  • I did CrossFit earlier and it had that movement in it.
  • I'm injured I can't do that.
  • I work in the morning and need to sleep.


All of those excuses come from people who consistently use these reasons as ways to get out of the monotony of weightlifting accessory work versus the varety they get in CrossFit WODs.  They are also the people who are consistently injuried or suffer from overuse and mobility issues.  They also neglect to understand that the CrossFit programming and Barbell programming are seperate and doing both will absolutly lead to issues with over reaching on their capacity for volume.  Doing both necessitates additional accessory work and recovery time on top of solid nutrition which is also a subject that is considered as seriously as the accessory (a.k.a - not serious at all) work by those who consistently leave early.  


It's not my intention to make people feel bad but to point out the correlation I notice between the attitude of those who participate in partial training sessions and the faults in their training due to their behaviour.


4. Don’t bring drama into the gym. You have problems, I have problems, we all have problems.  This is the one place we can let it be for a little bit and just enjoy each other.


5. Be Chill. I’ve trained with World Champions and Olympians and they were all humble, so it always rubs me the wrong way when I train with or coach someone that hasn’t done much of anything in any sport and has an attitude.


6. Be a resource. New people might be too intimidated to ask for help and will just keep their heads down.  Give them a hand or a couple tips. Make them feel welcomed and comfortable.


7. Clean up after yourself and everyone else. Showing respect for your space goes a long way.  It shows your coach and your team you care and are committed to he box.  Having a clean environment is also less mentally distracting when trying to focus on a lift. 


Some people didn’t like the burpees I imposed on an entire class for an individual’s mistake in not cleaning up because they felt as an individual they did a sufficient job in cleaning.  This shows me a lack of team mentality.  You need to get on board and take responsibility for the community as a whole.  We are Rocky Lake – not Joe Blow who doesn’t like to pick up Sally’s mess.  Remind your team to clean their shit up before everyone has to do more burpees.  It’s easy when you have a whole team to remind you.


9. Support competition. If your teammate is competing and you are not and it’s possible for you to be there, then make an honest effort to get there and support them and most likely help out.  Some of us are lifting for fitness and some of us are lifting to compete.  Just because you don’t want to compete doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support those that do.  I can tell you that no one who is humble and competing looks at someone who is weightlifting for fitness and thinks less of him or her because their goal is to improve their fitness.  It’s a two way street.


10. Be “That” Person. The last one, and it’s the most important: If you are having a shit day—it’s going to happen—Don’t make everyone else’s day like yours. Be the person you would want beside you while training.  It’ll come back around. 


- Coach Lynch

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