25th October 2014
WCCF and Virtuosity.
WCCF And Virtuosity.
In 2005, Greg Classman penned an open letter to all of the CrossFit coaches of the time. In this he described and promoted virtuosity, defined in gymnastics as “performing the common, uncommonly well.”
In gymnastics, if you executed the perfect routine you would not get the perfect 10, you would get a 9.7. To attain the last three tenths you would have to have demonstrated risk, originality and virtuosity. Unlike risk and originality, virtuosity is elusive, extremely elusive. Yet it is readily seen by judges and audiences alike.
All of us a WCCF are guilty of wishing to attain a certain skill that eludes us. A muscleup, a boxjump, a snatch. And we are yet to attain mastery of an air squat. Not just the ability to complete an air squat, but to complete it with virtuosity.
Fundamentals and basics are often so over looked by coaches and programmers all over the world. I scour the pages of other boxes and see what they are programming and it is often, and increasingly, more elaborate. Rarely do we see the couplets and triplets that got us there in the first place. The crossfit games is still very good at keeping it raw and fundamental despite the spectacle that they put on. Rarely do I see the short, fast and intense programming that is the corner stone of the crossfit principles. Open gym time can be ones guilty night out. WOD’s often pop up with multiple exercises and over a large time domain, seemingly in an effort to ‘get a huge sweat on’. While we should never dismiss the importance of these approaches, more time should be spent on the fundamentals. Only then can we complete movement with virtuosity.
Rich Froning is often credited with being the best mover (amongst all of his other talents!) in crossfit. We watch him train on youtube and see the volume of his work. Do we also look at the construction of these workouts? They are, by and large, couplets or triplets. Mikko Salo also has the same approach. Completing a workout with one, two or three exercises, presents a unique demand on the system that was untested before CrossFit. Can you show ‘fitness’ while under fatigue in the same planes of movement? Ask yourself, when was the last time you opted to do a 2 minute workout in open gym? How good are you at certain movements? And of course, of the duration of an entire event, most of these functional movements will be tested and the fittest will rise to the top.
I understand how wishing to attain a muscleup occurs. I am guilty of the same process. Trying to learn a muscleup with Mark Fraser before even understanding what a kip was. It is natural to want to teach people advanced and fancy movements. Some of this is necessary as it gives the members a sense of achievement or demonstrating what is yet to attain. A very important facet of successful coaching as after all, play is important too! But all efforts should be made to direct the flow of advancement through fundamentals and basics.