Be a Student of Your Training Philosophy
The most successful teams and athletes adhere to the same approach. At West Point I have 23 men on our powerlifting team and all follow that same theory. We all train together yet we all also train for the needs of the individual. Understanding the theory that we follow and allowing that theory to develop a rhythm is how we continue to achieve success.
Pick out any successful athlete and look at their training: they all subscribe to a training methodology, not a magic “one size fits all” program. A CrossFit athlete needs to have the same approach. You can do group WODs but you must also address your individual weaknesses and needs.
You must subscribe to and understand the inner workings of your chosen training philosophy and stick with it or you will never realize your full potential. You must train within that philosophy and make the needed adjustments while still adhering to the methodology of your chosen training theory.
You must first understand the goals and expectations of your plan and then devise a way to approach them. There is no 3×3 or 5×5 “one size fits all” super program.
People change training programs because they feel the one they are doing is no longer working. Many people start altering the program and making changes even before they begin, switching key components of the program and replacing them with things that they think will be better. The reality is they have nothing substantial to base those changes on but they do it anyway – then after a while, they say the program doesn’t work and they look for another program.
What Is the Athlete’s Responsibility?
It is my honest opinion that most programs fail for two main reasons. The first reason for failure is a lack of understanding and proper execution on behalf of the athlete. Your chosen program probably worked well for whomever designed the program because they understood the philosophies behind it.
Coaches are not going to publish a program and put their name on it if it is bogus. When you are a coach you understand that you are only as good as the athletes you develop and your reputation is everything, therefore why would you risk putting out something that didn’t work? It would be counter-productive to your success. (Read Rick Scarpulla: So You Want To Be A Coach)
The second reason for lack of desired success in my opinion is due to a lack of intensity. Most people just do not push hard enough in certain areas. In CrossFit the Achilles’ heel is absolute strength. Athletes are simply not going hard enough in the pursuit of absolute strength. (Read Rick Scarpulla: Absolute Strength Is the Key)
If you train with that type of intensity (not just physical but mental as well) you will make gains with almost any program you choose. This is due to the fact that the body has to respond to that high level of demand from intense training stimulus. (Read Rick Scarpulla: Are You Working Hard Enough?)
Additionally, it is much easier to mentally prepare yourself when you are using only one methodology. You build mental strength through repetition and if you are constantly going in a different direction you make the mental journey much harder as well. Anyone who is familiar with me knows how strongly I feel about the mental game. (Read CrossFit Mental Training and Strengthen Your Mental Game)
My advice for athletes and coaches:
- Evaluate and understand your goals.
- Choose a program that fits those goals.
- Learn all the nuances of the methodology.
- Understand why you are doing what you are doing.
- Develop a training rhythm and allow time for your training to work.
- Do not jump ship at the first sign of trouble – take a look at why it occurred.
- Make the adjustments necessary to continue on the correct path.
- Each time you make corrections you make it easier to understand and identify future problems.