Nick Jones, super intern, sent me a cool link to 10 books every coach should read.   I was glad to see that out of the 10,  I've either read them, or read a similar text.  One of the similar ones I've been reading, is the book Mastery, by George Leonard.

Drawing on Zen philosophy and his training in the martial art of aikido, Leonard shows us how the process of mastery can help us attain a higher level of excellence and a deeper sense of satisfaction and fulfilment in our daily lives; whether in your career, your relationships.........or even your fitness.....???

With the exploding popularity of CrossFit we get more people than ever interested in trying this new 'fad' training program out....  It is so common for people to want to bypass our Fundamental classes and jump straight into regular training because they either a) did some cleans when they used to row in high school, or b) are 'pretty fit' already, or c), "isn't The Open starting soon, I think I have a shot at getting to The Games, so I need to get started training asap........."

This is not the road to mastery.  No matter how good you are, you can always do more work on the basics.  And over the past year, we've actually been making it harder than ever to start training in our classes, without a significant amount of time spent developing the basics first.

Is this more expensive?  Yes.

Does it mean faster learning, better progress towards goals, and injury prevention?  Absolutely.

I often compare our CrossFit gyms to a dojo.  You are training with us to achieve your black belt in fitness.  To the outsider looking in, that might seem hilarious, but those of you who have been doing this for even a short while, now know what it takes to truly master movement in all the realms of gymnastic, weightlifting and monostructural.

And just like in a dojo, there is a lot of emphasis on consistent practice of the basics on the road to the more complex movements and heavier weights.

All respected black belts take pride in regular practice of their white belt drills and forms.  In fact, they consider mastery of the basics to be as essential part of attaining true mastery of the black belt level movements and mastery of themselves.

You should be doing the same.  We've been stripping back the movements lately and drilling things like the kipping swing, box jumps onto just a bumper plate, and pushups with hands on boxes.  Even if you've got these down, it's great to take the time to refocus on the 'white belt' moves.

PERFECT air squats, PERFECT pushups, PERFECT pullups, and eventually you'll have PERFECT muscle ups, overhead squats and snatches too.

NB: A reminder about our beginner CrossFit program, Fundamentals, it starts with PRIVATE training, moving into group classes when the athlete understands the program and can perform all basic movements.  This ensures that everyone can learn at their own pace, thus making the best possible progress in their first few months of training.

Darren Ellis