Practice Excellence (Mon 3/29/10)

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Sports teams have practices on a regular basis to hone their skills, plays and strategies again and again until everything runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible in the game. They spend millions of dollars on the best coaches and spend hundreds of hours each year on the practice field to teach, rehearse, evaluate, adjust and then rehearse some more in preparation for actual competition – which actually only comprises a small fraction of the total time they spend practicing.

It’s easy to get to the point where you come into the gym each and every time looking for that rush that comes from the competition inherent to CrossFit, but it’s important to realize that unless you practice the components involved in the workouts (the movements, the speed, the intensity, etc.) then your improvement (and therefore results) will be minimal at best. I suggest a new approach to your regular visits to the gym – separate the WODs into two categories: Practice Day and Game Day. One way (though certainly not the only way) to approach this is to view days where a benchmark WOD is posted as Game Days, and everything else as Practice Days.

Practice Day

This is an opportunity to practice some component of your performance that is holding back benchmark PRs. That component could be an obvious one (like refining your mechanics for a particular movement) or it could be a less obvious one (like minimizing your transition time between movements). Of course, it could also be a combination of a hundred things that may be holding you back, but it would be wise to focus on only one or two things rather than on everything. Also, you should make sure to focus on the biggest and most important faults in your performance before even thinking about going to the more subtle ones.

Game Day

On Game Day you would come in amped up and ready to rock a new PR. This is not the time to focus on the things you’ve been practicing and it’s certainly not the time to learn something new – this is the time to put what you’ve been practicing to the test. In true CrossFit style, Game Day could be a benchmark WOD or it could be something totally random. It could also come around once in 3 weeks or 3 times in one week.

The key here is to treat Practice Days as Practice Days, Game Days as Game Days, and to never let one bleed into the other.

Today’s WOD:

“80’s Arcade Game”

5 (or so) rounds of the obstacle course you’ll find at the gym today