The Team (Part 2)
Team sports have complex dynamics that individual athletic events do not. While one or two people may be stars, it takes the efforts of everyone on the field or court to win. For the most part, CrossFit is designed for the individual: it is a General Physical Preparedness (GPP) program that increases an athlete’s capacity so they can improve in their sport. However, as the “Sport of Fitness” grows, adding the complexity of team events is getting more popular. Making the transition from an individual athlete to a team member requires some mental flexibility.
The unit I commanded in Iraq had 38 aircraft and about 430 people assigned. We provided reconnaissance and security, moved personnel and cargo, and conducted air assault missions and intelligence driven raids. Of those 430 people, only about 68-72 flew on any given day. The remainder were there to support the flight operations: they armed, fueled, fixed, fed, planned, briefed, or conducted other support activities so that we could get 20 aircraft off on time, loaded with the right equipment and information, and home again each night.
The support crews often did not appreciate the importance of their contribution to our team. The men and women flying the missions received the accolades, awards and recognition from outside the unit for what they did. The accomplishments of the team though, were dependent on the time and talent the support crews invested. Not “frequently dependent” or “often dependent”, we were entirely dependent on the unseen backbone that kept things running every day.
We consistently had to reinforce the reality that their level of importance was not related to their proximity to the target. Everything that everyone did each day contributed to the success of the team and our assigned missions. Just as a football team cannot function without a long-snapping center or someone to care for the equipment, a military organization requires the accomplishment of less glamorous tasks so the team can complete its mission. These metaphors apply to CrossFit team WODs.
When we do a team WOD, it’s important to remember that the workout is designed to stress a team with each team member maximizing his output to the best of his/her ability. They aren’t necessarily designed so that each member contributes exactly the same number of repetitions or completes the same work. You need to realize that the 2, 3 or 4 of you are a team and you may have different “roles” to complete the WOD that day. You may not be able to rip off sets of 20 thrusters, but the load you do carry lessens the burden for the others on the team and enables your team to complete the task. Everyone has a burden and everyone contributes to the team’s accomplishments to the extent she can. You do contribute. Focus on what the group has to accomplish, not how much you feel like you have to do “to be equal.” If you do all you can, then you are helping your team. With all of us, there is nothing that can beat one of us.
Once you are familiar with CrossFit’s basic movements I’d encourage you to come out to a Saturday Team WOD session. We’ll continue to adjust and adapt the Saturday team WODs (and steal ideas from other boxes) to provide new facets of fitness development. I won’t lie- they are hard, but provide a break from the traditional programming and an opportunity to insert some team/partner dynamics, strategy and tactics into your workout session. And if you need another good reason, they’re fun! See you there!
20min to 1RM Snatch
Internal Rotation Smash
(yep, that’s all you get for now…)