So today was my first day coaching unaccompanied at CFD. I’ve been shadowing the other 6:15 bootcamp coach for much of March. On Wednesday I led the session while Chad participated. Today was my first day solo. It’s been a while since I was this jittery about a workout. Like I said on Facebook earlier, when the session was over every one was healthy, sweaty and smiling, so I think it was a good day.

I made a couple of mistakes. That’s to be expected, but as in all things we improvised, adapted and overcame. Everything worked out fine.

Case in point, the first of the day’s two METCON’s included wall ball tosses. Before we got started, I demonstrated the movement to the class explaining that it’s basically a standing chest level pass back and forth between partners.

If you know crossfit and you’re familiar with the exercise, you already see the hole in my explanation. None of the athletes spoke up or questioned my explanation, but once we started the more experienced athletes executed the proper squat then stand and THEN pass to their partners.

We had an odd number of athletes, so I did the WOD as well. My partner caught my first pass squatted and passed it back. At that point I realized my error. I looked down the line of pairs and saw that most teams were already doing it properly in spite of my faulty direction.

There were a couple of very new folks, so I hollered out, “OK! For all of you that added the squat on the catch, thank you. You’re right! Sorry I didn’t explain that. For anyone not doing that squat, you have a choice. Catching, squatting, standing and passing is the prescribed correct motion. If you can’t squat, then consider the standing chest pass the scaled version and that’s fine.” The next time, and every other time, I checked after that everyone was doing the full range of motion.

Coaching Lesson Number 1: don’t assume you know the exercises. Google them or check with the coach that programmed the WOD to ensure you’re clear on the expectation.

The other challenge was more of a communication breakdown. The second METCON on the day involved ball slams. One of the athletes called out to me once we were underway saying, “I need something different. My knees are popping.” With everything going on, my first instinct was to get a lighter ball. We were outside so I told her I would get a different ball. I didn’t wait around to discuss things. I took off back inside. On the way back with the lighter medicine ball the thought hit me, “she needs a different activity, not a different object.”

By the time I returned the athlete had come to the same conclusion and was doing air squats. She said, “these feel ok, is it all right if I substitute with these?” I told her, “Sure if it’s more comfortable for you, then it’s fine.”

Coaching Lesson Number 2: Take a moment to think. Talk things over and ensure you understand what your athlete needs.

Even with those glitches, I think the day was a success and I’m pleased with how it went. I hope the athletes are too.

I’m very impressed with the spirit of today’s crew. The second METCON was a partner WOD in the playground behind the gym. Partner 1 was required to sprint across the playground and climb the 25 foot playground structure. It’s basically a spider web rope structure. Meanwhile partner two was doing an AMRAP of kettle bell swings and ball slams. Once partner 1 climbed back down, they had to sprint back to their partner tag off and switch places. The intent was to complete three rounds of this rotation.

At 6:45 am it was still mostly dark out and there was a just a hint of rain (kind of a mist) in the wind. No one balked at climbing that structure!

In fact, when I realized that we were running out of time, I let folks know they had 2 minutes left to finish up, or I was stopping us. A couple athletes who were doing the AMRAP realized they might not have time for their final climb. They interrupted their AMRAP and took of for the rig announcing, “I WANT that CLIMB!” I like that spirit!

I accept that they abandoned/interrupted the AMRAP in order to face the bigger personal challenge. That’s great spirit.
Totally unrelated to bootcamp:

I watched the 6:15 Crossfit crew finish up Open WOD 15.5. I wish I had not. I am completely dreading doing that at the end of the day. I think the round of 21 thrusters is going to be my personal hell. If I clear that without quitting, then I’ll be well past the halfway point in terms of reps and expect that I will be able to will myself to continue on forward. My goal is sub 15 minutes Rx. We’ll see.