Coach’s Corner: Paralysis by Analysis

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Is it just me, or are some folks in CrossFit becoming obsessed with analyzing every breath, muscle twitch, and thread of any information even slightly close to the sport? Some information is good — useful, even; also, some technique work clearly is needed for proper development. Yet somehow things are getting a little over-saturated. Some things are best learned by playing the game and not by reading about it from every possible angle.

Take hitting a Major League fast ball, for example. You can read about it every which way from Sunday, yet if you want to become a good Major League hitter, sooner or later you need to get in the batter’s box and start swinging. Thousands of swings later you may be a good hitter. Great hitters don’t analyze every swing or every pitch — they evaluate every so often and make some adjustments and go back to swinging.

Just Do It

Just do it!

Most of the best athletes I work with or know spend far less time gathering information and more time with “on-the-job training.” Hands on is better in many cases than computer on.
Here’s a huge difference I find between working with younger athletes and working with grown CrossFit athletes: the kids can’t wait to try something new. They are fighting to go first, and if they screw it up they are all set to try again. No analyzing, no evaluations, no articles with lines and arrows diagramming this and that.

What a revelation that we are all built differently and will move slightly differently in any particular movement! Come on, folks, isn’t that one of the beautiful traits of being human beings? We are supposed to be different — each beautiful and gifted in our own way.

If you want to learn about your own personal bio-mechanical nuances at doing something, you need to keep grinding at it. Yes, we all will do things slightly differently, and you can bet any top athlete in any sport has figured out his or her own preferences through good ol’ trial and error, not through an article describing why if your foot is bigger than the next guy you will need to get a bigger shoe.

I am the first one to say that some information can be useful, but too much information is information overload and can get in your way. We all need to learn how to do something before we begin and many of you may not have the benefit of a support crew to do that, so you need to get it any way you can. In many cases the web is the only option. Yet you don’t need to read every single article and watch every video clip of everything under the sun on a particular subject.

When you learned to ride a bike, did you need 14 articles with multiple charts explaining that if you are taller than your little brother you will need to raise your bicycle seat up more than his? Wait — a revelation — some of us have longer femurs than others and that means our legs will be longer and we will be taller. Simply amazing.

Seems we are knee deep in the information age — I got that part, and I am right here beside you — but sometimes we need a little less. Most of the best athletes I work with or know spend far less time gathering information and more time with “on-the-job training.” Hands on is better in many cases than computer on.

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