Many of us can recall our firsts in CrossFit: your first “Workout of the Day”, rowing experience, successful pull up, or double under–the list goes on. Part of the reason why CrossFit is so rewarding is because no matter where you start, there’s always something to work for.

Sometimes when faced with the new challenge, say, a large set of double unders, or a dozen pull ups, it can be intimidating! We start wondering if we’re strong enough… capable enough… sometimes we shut the opportunity down right from the start. Sometimes we won’t even know until we give it a try.

When it comes to your first attempt (or few attempts), at a new skill, instead of getting frustrated or self-deprecating, try to take a step back and understand why you may not have been successful (because let’s face it, the majority of us won’t always get that high-level skill on the VERY first try). Here are some thinking or talking points you could consider:

Do I have the prerequisite skill or strength? Someone who is thinking about kicking up into a handstand, may first want to consider if they can hold a pike handstand with their feet atop a box, and shoulders stacked on top of wrists with ease. Someone who is attempting a ring muscle up may want to asses if they can support their weight in several positions of the muscle up: at the hang, the bottom of the dip, the top of the rings, just to start. Having a few strict pull ups is also a notable prerequisite for the muscle up.

Have I attempted this before, and if so, did I have success? If we are squatting, and we’re going for a “heavy set of 5” for the day, we may use previous performances to gauge our ability to perform a “new” weight for a heavy set. An athlete can look back into Wodify and see that a few weeks back into the strength cycle, they were able to squat with the weight of 135 for 8 repetitions successfully. This previous experience can inform the weight the athlete may attempt that day for a heavy set of 5 at a weight of 145 or 155 (depending on their feel off of previous sets).

Have I put in sufficient time, repetitions and well-intended practice in order to experience success in that skill? So maybe we now have nailed it! We got that first double under, snatch, or our first box jump! Now it’s time to put in the real work. Just like many aspects of life, our fitness also demands time, repetition and practice to improve. The benefit of doing so at CFDP is that your coaches are open to giving feedback on your practice. Sometimes this will be in a class setting. However, most athletes experience the greatest success from 1-on-1 sessions, OLY 101 (for olympic lifts), or skill sessions such as the Skills and Drills events; the instruction and feedback is much more focused and specific to the target skill and athlete. We can’t expect to be masters of anything without enough time, repetition and well-intended practice. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get to work this week!

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