Learning From Mistakes


Through competing and training to compete I have made many mistakes and learned a lot of lessons along the way. Some took longer than others to learn, but all been valuable. Here are some mistakes I’ve made and hope to help you avoid:

  1. Competing too often: Training is just that, preparation for competition and it should follow a logical progression. Like most new competitive CrossFitters, I’ve fallen victim to the trap that every day needs to be “won”, but the reality is that each day should be more preparation to compete.

  2. Training with not enough variety: In all sports and at every level, the basics have to be mastered. In the NBA, players still have to master free throws, NFL players have to master their start and stance. Time should be spent mastering the fundamentals. However, there needs to be enough variety of non-sport specific training to build general endurance, overall athleticism and developing lacking physical skills.

  3. Training with too much variety: There is a balance between general training and sport specific training. Where do you spend your energy? I’ve screwed this up by swinging the pendulum too far in both directions. Feeling burnt out from competing too much, I added way too much variety and progressed at nothing.  I know that in CrossFit you are supposed to be “prepared for the unknown and the unknowable”, but if you’re a competitor trying to advance movements that you are likely to see in competition should still be a staple in your training.

  4. Ignoring holes: To quote George R.R. Martin: “Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it.” In other words, it is easy to fall in the trap of training what you have the most aptitude for. Naturally, this catches up with you. Spend time on the things that you do not do well. It’s almost too obvious, but it still gets ignored or avoided.

  5. Rushing progress: Use appropriate progressions to improve. For example, in my case, I’ve had more trouble with handstands than should be admitted, but for a long time I misunderstood that I really needed to take steps back and improve the foundation needed to get better at these movements. More volume with poor quality is the wrong approach. Instagram followers don’t care if you work on wrist flexibility and shoulder extension, but it may be what you need. I neglected this, kept kicking up on the wall and wondered why I wasn’t getting any better when I was “working so hard”. This lesson holds true with all movements. If you can keep your ego in check, there is fun in finding the specific physical limitation and then addressing it.

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