“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times” – Bruce Lee
No, this article isn’t covering kicks or martial arts, but the sentiment of the quote by the Jeet Kune Do legend holds true when it comes to CrossFit training. This weekend is the CrossFit Games Liftoff, and there’s going to be about half a million “#PRSZN” posts going up on social media as people hit a new personal record snatch or clean and jerk. These moments don’t happen by accident. These moments happen by practice (understand, that’s PRACTICE, not training), fine-tuning and patience.
As athletes, we get excited easily, when a barbell gets broken out we turn into a puppy when you fill up the food bowl. Personal records are sexy, they’re what we love to post on social media and tell friends about (even the ones that don’t have a clue and are more likely to make jokes when you mention your jerk). But when the bar comes out it’s time to ask a question borrowed from CrossFit New England’s Ben Bergeron: do you compete, do you train, or do you practice?
Competition is obvious and misunderstood all in the same. When you walk in the gym do you check Wodify to see what other people have done? Do you ask how much someone else did? Do you see 60% written on the board but think you have a shot at a PR because it just feels right? Welcome to competition. It’s good in the rare moment, the moment we’re called on to push to the next level. That level can’t be maintained when it’s repeated often. That level limits your growth.
Training is the middle ground. You follow percentages. You aren’t chasing numbers of others. You understand that the highlight reel of others isn’t exactly the daily work they put in. Training is great, training is what we truly want to ask of athletes. But training is the bare minimum…
Practice is where the magic happens. When there’s a warm-up before a lifting session in a class, do you take the movement prep seriously or go through the motions? Do you spend an extra moment feeling how your body moves and how the bar reacts? Do you spend your own time outside of class work playing with a PVC pipe or empty bar just to work on mechanics? You’re practicing. When you practice you get better. Practice is where you learn to do one kick 10,000 times. Practice is where the PRs don’t just happen by chance; they happen with confidence and continued growth in front of them.
Practice isn’t the highlight reel and it isn’t what you see on social media. But practice is the foundation for all those videos we see on Instagram. Put in quality work now and the 2018 “#PRSZN” will be bigger and better than you ever could expect.