Today we have a guest post from Blair Smith!

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Some numbers that have meant a lot to me recently:

1, 3, 22, 29, 10+10+10 & 4

What do these numbers mean?

1 - Getting my first Double Under

3 - The maximum I could get in a row

22 - The fluke when I strung 22 in a row

29 - My new PB of 29 DU’s this week

10+10+10 - Now doing consistent sets of 10 where I stop at 10

4 - It took me FOUR years to get this

So lets talk about frustration, I can clearly remember starting Crossfit and quickly realising that there was a huge amount for me to learn and get better so I thought “How do you eat an elephant?” - Answer: One spoonful at a time.

So I needed to break things down to smaller and more manageable “portions” so I wanted to get some quick wins under my belt so I saw everyone doing DU’s like it was the most relaxing and simple thing so I thought to myself……. thats what I will start with, I will master that skipping thing first.

So I tried to study every Youtube video about DU tips and was hoping that the miracle was just going to happen like a lightening strike one day….. but it didn’t even get stormy, let alone lightening. So what could I be missing? The obvious thing was a speed rope! EVERYONE who did DU’s in WOD’s had their own special rope that they got out of their bag and laid it on the ground like it was their most treasured possession. So I went out and bought a speed rope…. (I bought a total of 6 over 4 years) and all this did was make practising DU’s so much more painful… wicked.

I would often think that I would turn up to the gym 20 mins early and practise DU’s for 15 minutes before the class started, but I would get my string of three and then muck it up and I would IMMEDIATELY get frustrated and walk around the gym for about 3 mins then try again and then repeat….. and as people arrived to the gym for the class I would talk to them as I would make excuses to practise as it just made me angry.

So then I ignored them, bugger it, I will just do the single skip option in the WOD’s and  focus on other things. A brilliant plan! Until they introduced DU’s into The Open! WTF??!! Now I can’t even compete in The Open because of my inability to do this stupid skill…… bah!!

Everyone gave me tips and hints that helped them but I was overloaded with frustration so nothing worked.

I knew that I was skipping to fast and needed to slow down but I could not adjust my rope speed in the small incraments that I needed to do, I would get my first DU then my whole body would tense up in panic and I would think that I needed to skip faster to keep it up, if I tried to slow down it would slow down to half speed and that was way to slow….. (Thanks to Coach Joe who videoed me with the app Coaches Eye and was able to slow the video right down and show me why I would always fail on the third or fourth rep)

I would even see people who were starting out at Crossfit and were also struggling with them and I would offer to practise with them. Then they would get them in a week or so and I would be left alone in my DU attempt hell and get even more frustrated.

But then this week (when I had offered yet another member to practise them with) I got struck by lightening and I just “got” them…….! Everything I just got told previously just fell into place and they happened. I cannot even tell you what the magic “thing” was that let me get them, they just happened!

I honestly felt like I had just passed the hardest exam after attempting and failing it so many times before.

So when you are next getting frustrated with something in the gym, take a breath and remember that every person in the gym travels a different path to achieving goals so try not to compare yourself with other peoples improvement rates and keep going at it. The hardest earned victories are the sweetest - just ask Coach Lesa with her awesome Pull-up achievement recently.

And the next time you see someone struggling with a skill, sometimes a coaching tip is not what they need, they just need that extra bit of encouragement so they can pick their shoulders up and give it another go and keep on the path to success.

Darren Ellis