By: Coach Justin Tamane
The workouts in the CrossFit Games Open are designed to challenge each individual to overcome obstacles. Some people who have never done certain movements before (pull-ups/toes to bar/bar muscle ups) managed to put some together and perform when it "counts". There are barriers put in place so that people overcome them. While many people surpassed their expectations during 17.2, others were disappointed.
Disappointed ones often blame the workout standards for being "too easy" or "too hard". Last year we heard people talking about scaled options being too easy, and this year there are pull ups. Members put in work for months and months before the open and may not consider how far they have actually come. But remember that improving in CrossFit as a sport is a long process.
To everyone, no matter what level, I would say simply this: Master the basics. We spend a good amount of time working on the little things that will help make you better at the big things. Some people have the misconception that, for example, by just doing more pull-ups they are going to get better at pull-ups. However, it's the little movements and the work you put in to strengthen your lats, work on your mobility, find the weaknesses and work on those, etc. that are going to strengthen the pull-up movement as a whole.
Mastering the basics is going to continue to be a message of mine over the next few weeks and months. I think people are seeing how their performance in the Open is being affected by being able to do the basics really well. People who have laid a solid foundation are able to perform tasks under pressure. Those who have rushed through the process or have skipped steps along the way are finding it much harder to perform while under fatigue.
I think this is a good time of year to reinforce how slow progress and good, quality movement lead to greatness, and how skipping the basics can cause a disappointing performance. During longer stretches of skill development, stay engaged in the process of improvement. Stick to the movement stream that is best for you for where you are today, and keep moving towards the next skill.
If a coach challenges you to do something that may be difficult, take that as the coach seeing your progress and not that they are just trying to make the workout more difficult for you. If a coach asks you to take a step back (go lighter, do a different progression of the movement, etc.), know that we are doing it because we see a gap in your foundation and want to help you build it stronger. We don't want to see you get stuck at the next progression because you haven't mastered the basics of that one.
Also, by strengthening the basics, you will find it easier to improve on the bigger movements. It's truly like magic. Put the time in, focus on small things, and the big things just happen.