Tuesday, April 18, 2017

CrossFit Teaches Grit

I have been teaching middle school and high school students in the areas of biological science, physical education, and health for over 15 years now.  My perception has changed during this time concerning the teenage mindset.  For many many years, I must admit, I thought teenagers were lazy, entitled, and could not focus on any challenging task for more than 5 minutes at a time. Teaching CrossFit to teenagers has radically altered that perception.  Students in my CrossFit class are determined, goal oriented, and gritty.  They rise to new challenges, accomplish and set goals, they are extremely motivated to succeed,  and they push themselves to new limits daily.  Maybe, just maybe, this prior perception didn't have anything to do with teenagers? Maybe they were just a product of an outdated educational system that no longer challenges, stimulates, or motivates today's teenager?  What if CrossFit was an instructional model for our classrooms? Think about it, students competing with each other on infinitely scalable challenging tasks that are measurable and quantifiable.  Meeting the needs of this generation requires a shift in our mentality, a shift that has slowly taken place in my own mind over the last 15 years.  Does this look like a group of students who don't want to work hard? I think not!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Retesting Builds Confidence

At the beginning of the school year, I programmed the benchmark workout "Karen" (150 Wall Balls for time) for my CrossFit class.  I quickly realized that it was too much for them to handle, so we scaled the the reps down to 100 Wall Balls and gave them a 10 minute time cap to finish.  Most of them, with the exception of a few, could not finish 100 wall balls in under 10 minutes, weren't hitting depth, and were definitely not hitting the 9-10ft mark.  Fast forward to yesterday, all but 3 students completed the full "Karen" WOD, getting all 150 wall balls in under 10 minutes, hit full depth in their squat on every rep, and hit the 9-10ft mark on the wall. Some students even increased their rep count by close to 60 reps and did the workout 3-4 minutes faster finishing around the 7 minute mark! The 3 students who didn't finish all 150 wall balls still improved their rep count by an average of 35-40 reps within the same time domain.  After they peeled themselves off of the floor, they stood tall and were extremely proud of their progress.  It is so important that we re-test workouts so that students know their hard work is paying off.  Great job Vision CrossFit, keep up the good work!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Vision CrossFit Spring Highlights!

The 2017 Open: Snake River CrossFit graciously allowed 9 of my students (almost half my class!) to participate in their first ever CrossFit Open.  Considering many of them have only ever snatched or done thrusters with a PVC pipe, they did an amazing job and moved fairly well through the grueling Open workouts (some of them even liked thrusters, WHAT!).  Quite a few of them placed well in the teens scaled division and more importantly experienced the encouragement of the CrossFit community.  I believe they are now hooked for life!

Retesting Workouts:  The students are seeing drastic improvement in their scores/times from previous workouts.  For example, yesterday we retested the hero workout "Loredo" which is 6 rounds for time of 24 air squats, 24 pushups, 24 walking lunges, & a 400 meter run.  Student after student crushed their previous times ranging anywhere from 3-6 minutes faster on this grueling workout.  Even though we don't run the mile we test it, and students have improved their mile times by an average of over 2 minutes! The since of satisfaction I see on their faces after they PR a workout is truly priceless. They are showing more determination and more grit than I would have imagined after only 8 months.

Enrollment in the program:  This class has been so popular that they added a second section to the 2017-2018 school schedule for next year.  We will again partner with NNU to offer this class to our high school students for college credit. This means we will jump from 20 to 40 students next year, doubling in size.  This is posing some logistical and financial needs, but ultimately I welcome the growing process. Growth for my students, growth for the program, growing interest in fitness, and personal growth as a coach.