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.
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.
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.
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.
Everyone’s scared of bread these days, personally I love it! For those of you who want a delicious alternative to conventional bread or are just looking to try something new, here’s a “gluten free”, “dairy free”, “soya free”, “paleo”, “vegetarian” and any other food fashion trend you follow, simple recipe you can make at home. I promise this recipe really is awesome and the reason there’s only 1 photo is because it got devoured before I had a chance to take another!
- 2 ripe avocados
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of almond flour
- 1/2 cup mixed seeds
- 1 tbls chia seeds
- large splash of olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1/3 avocado seed (ground)
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
Mmmmm I love hummus! I also prefer to make my own because I know exactly what’s going in it, nothing but wholesome fresh ingredients! Here’s a recent batch I made with some added red pepper, give it a try and let me know what you think.
- 500 grams pre-soaked chick peas
- 1/2 red pepper
- splash of olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 lemon juice
- 1 tbls tahini
- pinch of salt and pepper
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
This is an open letter to everyone who’s been listening to The World-Class Coaching Podcast.
So far I’ve had some great feedback, some helpful constructive criticism and one fairly amusing troll on YouTube (I know who you are!).