Thursday, October 6, 2011
Workout of the Day
Snatch 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 reps
The Making Of An Expert, (pdf download) K. Anders Ericsson, et al., Harvard Business Review. This is a fascinating article for anyone interesting in improving any area of their life. The article examines the factors that have gone into making the top performers in a wide variety of human activity: music, chess, art, business, math, sports, medicine, etc.
"Consistently and overwhelmingly, the evidence showed that experts are always made, not born. … The journey to truly superior performance is neither for the faint of heart nor for the impatient. The development of genuine expertise requires struggle, sacrifice, and honest, often painful self-assessment. There are no shortcuts. It will take you at least a decade to achieve expertise, and you will need to invest that time wisely, by engaging in “deliberate” practice—practice that focuses on tasks beyond your current level of competence and comfort. You will need a well-informed coach not only to guide you through deliberate practice but also to help you learn how to coach yourself. Above all, if you want to achieve top performance as a manager and a leader, you’ve got to forget the folklore about genius that makes many people think they cannot take a scientific approach to developing expertise. We are here to help you explode those myths."
Several points in the article resonate with the CrossFit approach. One is that you should focus on improving your weaknesses rather than always working at what you are good at, a mantra that every CrossFitter should be familiar with. If you suck at something, that's what you need to work on. Another is the value of "deliberate practice." We have often heard that "practice makes perfect." This has never been true. If you practice bad technique, you are just digging yourself into a deeper hole. Instead, think "perfect practice makes perfect." Lastly, the article discusses the value of coaching, having a coach that can spot flaws and correct you, which is what our coaches at CF ATL excel at. I recall hearing Coach Glassman say, several years ago, "We teach people to move correctly. That is what we do." So, if you get called out for "no rep" because of inadequate range of motion, or if the coach is hollering "hook grip", "stop pulling early", don't get mad, stuff you ego where the sun don't shine, and get serious about fixing the problem. The path to good performance begins with mastering correct movement technique, only after that has been done can you expect to go heavy, fast & far. If that means you have to slow down, do so with confidence that your performance will eventually benefit.