The following post was written by Coach Scheppler, it is at best incomplete at this time since the topic will require several postings from several parties before it can be condensed into one article. Please email responses ready for editing to firstname.lastname@example.org
If the CrossFit model has taught us anything with its relatively recent rise into popular culture, it is that more often than not athletes crave competition and statistical validation in their approach to fitness. Watching the incremental and sometimes dramatic increases in performance numbers stimulates increased motivation, and participation. While it is true there is a large number of “box” members with little to no organized sport and training background, this population often finds validation and acceptance to the community through the recreation of a locker room bond. Individual accomplishments are celebrated and recognized, gym ownership is made to feel communal, and a sense of pride and bonding is developed through mutual shared adversity and conquest.
As kinetic awareness is developed, and healthy lifestyle patterns start to emerge a thirst for knowledge is instilled in young members. Members are introduce to nutritional plans like the Zone Diet, and the Paleo Diet by a coaches with a wide spectrum of experience. Some coaches have degrees in nutrition and possess a practical working knowledge, while others can only speak from personal experience or from reading a book. The new initiates are encouraged to adopt a policy of investigation and self discovery. Websites and professional volumes are introduced as easily accessible wells of knowledge, and vast quantities of information are flushed across the brain.
Here, maybe, we begin to see a flaw in the CrossFit model. Quantity of information processed should never be the objective, and striving to expose yourself to as much data as possible is not necessarily the best strategy to developing a personal approach to healthy life. Rather we should strive to encourage quality of information, and only steer newly exposed athletes to such sites and publications that can provide valid and proven performance concepts appropriate for the individual and their current fitness status. I will be the first to admit this is easier said then done. This can not be standardized and regulated universally so it behooves each athlete to adopt a policy of “buyer be ware” and make sure the coaches they are working with possess the prerequisite qualifications and experience base.
There is a thought within gym cultures that persons who by sheer number of years experience, or performance result, are validated as regional experts. There is something to be said for longevity in an industry or sport. it is also important to acknowledge athletes that were capable of accomplishing high levels of performance, and that experience from a high level can be extremely beneficial in developing young raw talent. However, longevity and past individual performance do not necessarily a good coach make. Many athletes struggle to articulate and pass on knowledge gained from past experience, or hold their current athletes to the same performance standard they employed which may not be realistic or appropriate. To the longevity argument I would say this, bad strength coaches have been breaking people for decades at the high school and college level with out losing their jobs. If you have the credentials and proven elite performance elicited from your athletes then your longevity becomes a valuable asset, but with out the performance output longevity may actually be a hinderance in that they may be wed to outdated concepts.