For most S&C coaches, Crossfit is a taboo subject. It’s about time we got over that. When it exploded in popularity 6 or 7 years ago, most of us were horrified by the number of “Crossfit fail” compilations that appeared all over the internet. Now it’s had time to establish itself as a dominant force within the fitness industry, it would be nice to think that a few things have changed. As I’m currently touring Crossfit gyms round the world (#crossfitworldtour if you didn’t know already), I hope I can provide a little unbiased perspective.
If you’re a happy human, great! Keep smiling and share your happiness with the world.
If you’re not, it’s ok. In my experience there are a lot of unhappy people out there. A lot of people fighting their battles in silence, trying to deal with shitty circumstances, emotional trauma and what life’s thrown at them. A lot of people who don’t feel fulfilled in life and a lot of people who are just drifting along, existing without really living.
This is a short article as much about my experience as it is mindset. I am extremely proud of how far the Andorran Alpine Ski Team has progressed over the last 2 and a half years. Leaps and bounds in all areas including ski performance, physical capacity, training mentality, nutrition, discipline and more, but I’ll openly admit that I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way and we still have a long way to go. After all, they aren’t world champions YET.
Enabling athletes to be better at doing what they do best is why I’m in this and learning from failures, however big or small is a huge part of that process.
Lots of people talk about “just wanting to be happy”. I’m not going into anything deep here, I just want to mention the easiest first step towards daily happiness and something you can do anywhere, anytime. SMILE! Actively smiling can positively effect your mood and make you happy!
If you’re not familiar with the sport of Alpine Skiing, it is essentially a race down a snowy mountain with continuous changes of direction around poles and on skis of course. From technical to speed disciplines (SL, GS, SG & DH), gates get further apart, skis get longer and speeds get much faster. In my opinion, this makes it an agility-based sport. As recent definitions of agility seem to include the “response to an external stimulus” aspect alongside the “whole body change of direction” I’d understand if you were to argue against me. (Again if you’re not familiar with the sport, athletes do inspect the course before the race so they have the opportunity to memorise and visualize each turn, thus you’d think most movements are preplanned.) However as athletes speed toward each gate, I’d argue they are still adjusting to what’s in front of them, it’s unlikely that every turn will be perfect, snow moves, you can lose balance for a split second or make a mistake and thus reaction speed is also a huge key to their change of direction ability when competing or even training for that matter.
Working in elite sport or any sport for that matter is an extremely rewarding career. I consider myself very fortunate to have the position and experience I hold and consciously appreciate it every single day. I’m all about pursuing your passion and doing what you love in life. I understand why it appears so attractive to young individuals/aspiring coaches. I would like to offer some simple advice and an honest perspective.
In the last post (part 1), I tried to highlight the importance of being adaptable as an S&C coach by illustrating some examples and exercises based on my experiences. Mostly this was focussed around adapting to technical coaches. In this post I’m going to focus on the athlete and try to illustrate that whilst theoretical case studies are great at university, in the real world nothing ever goes perfectly to plan and physical development is a messy non linear process.
Rob Walsh is Head of Physical Preparation for the Netherlands Ski & Snowboard Federation. This role encompasses working with all snowsport athletes, both adaptive and non-adaptive alike. Rob largely discusses how he’s built a programme that caters for everyone and give some specific examples of how where he believes he can have the greatest impact when working with adaptive skiers. I review Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and round up all latest CPD and job opportunities. Enjoy
One of the greatest things I think I’ve learnt from working in Alpine skiing is the importance of adaptability. Or even what it really means to be adaptable. I can’t say that this has been the easiest of lessons for someone who likes structure, processes and effective organisation; for most of my experiences have been gained from sports with regular schedules that rarely change and work towards fixed events that aren’t likely to change (Rugby and Diving). So what does it really mean to be adaptable and why is it so important? Well hopefully I can illustrate that through a few short stories of my own experiences. For the sake of making this easier to read (and write!), I’m going to break this down and publish it in two parts.
Part 1: Adapting to the coach
Homemade soups make for great nutritious meals and snacks. And by far my favourite way to make soup is by roasting the veg first! I’ve got a few decent soup recipes that will be appearing on this site soon, first up though is this delicious roasted cauliflower and parsnip soup, garnished with fresh mint and pomegranate seeds. Give it a go and let me know what you think.
- 3/4 cauliflower inc leaves
- 3 large parsnips
- 1 red onion
- 6 garlic cloves
- olive oil
- almond milk and water for consistency
- seasoning: black pepper, chilly salt and paprika
- garnished with fresh mint and pomegranate seeds
Serves 6-8 people