I have had heaps going on lately with taking on a full time coaching role at CrossFit Brisbane, every week I am lucky enough to be challenged on concepts that I use day to day and it is one of those concepts that I want to write about.
I was also prodded into action again by a post that I really enjoyed by Jacob Tsypkin – The not-so-evils of high rep weightlifting.
I will often read one of the anti CF or anti high rep articles or discussions on the net and and get frustrated at the repetition of the obvious statement which is basically:
“Poorly executed movement carries with it a higher risk of injury and this risk is further exacerbated the more times the movements are executed.”
JT opens this article with three statements that could be rewritten around the most commonly performed physical activity – running, try these on for size:
“Running should not be done for distances greater than 1-5 hundred meters.”
“Running further than 500m is dangerous.”
“There are safer ways for novices to achieve a conditioning effect than longer duration running.”
These statements are ludicrous because everyone can run more than 500m. It is running and the lack of uproar ( at least in the circles I frequent) around prescription of high volume of running to non runners that sparked more thought on the matter.
I have witnessed hundreds of runners participate in 5km, 10km half and full marathons where the technique or form with which they run could quite easily be part 2 of the diamond dave youtube series. Valgus knees, collapsed arches, overextended torsos they are all there. Some of those runners may get injured but many of them will survive some will even achieve personal best results or win the day over runners with better form.
In the last month my perspective on coaching changed, I am, as those who know me can tell you, biased toward technical coaching – biomechanics and human physiology dictate most of my coaching behaviours. I have a tendency to believe that athleticism is all about precision and accuracy but there is much more to it than that.
If we consider that technique just one aspect of a good athlete then the ability to teach and communicate technique it is just one aspect of a good coach.
Good athletes also display tremendous effort and have the capacity for intuitive learning or self adaptation. A coach/coaching team needs to be balanced in their ability to monitor technique, inspire effort and encourage adaptation.
There are more than just three qualities of a good athlete and by extension a good coach so the trick is to continually expand your tool kit without letting yourself be deluded that anyone tool is better than the others.