September Monthly Mindset:
Greg Glassman discusses virtuosity in his August 2005 Crossfit Journal article, Fundamentals, Virtuosity, and Mastery. He defines it as “performing the common uncommonly well [in gymnastics].” He further explains this in the article stating “there is a compelling tendency among novices developing any skill or art, whether learning to play the violin, write poetry, or compete in gymnastics, to quickly move past the fundamentals and on to more elaborate, more sophisticated movements, skills, or techniques.”
What this means for us is that we may need to step back and reevaluate our own abilities to make sure that we are moving well before we move more. Are we squatting correctly? Do we have the proper dip-drive in our push press and push jerks? Can we do strict pull ups before we start to kip them? Rushing the basics is the same as a contractor who puts his house on a poorly constructed foundation. Sure it will hold the house up for a while, but eventually something is going to crumble or fall apart and the whole house will come crashing down.
I have felt this first hand the past several years with small nagging injuries becoming larger problematic ones. Anyone else who has injured themselves in the past (or are currently injured) can relate as well. It is generally not a single instance that lead us to being injured, but years of poor movement and neglecting the basics. This past year for me has been one of assessments, body awareness, and returning to and strengthening the basics. And you know what? Working on the basics actually helps us to get stronger and move better in the more complicated movements!
With the Festivus Games later this month this is especially important. Many of you will be competing and representing Crossfit Hakkapeliitta, and I challenge you to showcase your virtuosity. One thing I have always told my athletes that wish to compete is don’t give the judge a reason to no rep you. Make your movements so perfect that there is no question that you are performing the movement standards. Yes, I want you all to do well, but more importantly, I want you to move well. We’ve all seen that person that does really well in workouts but moves so sloppy that it looks like they are constantly about to hurt themselves. Don’t be this person!! As I said above, you are representing our gym at this event. I want people leaving to say that Crossfit Hakk people move really well and have great technique. The biggest compliment I have received at a competition was that myself and my coach/partner moved so well together that “it was a joy to watch you compete” and I believe she said that we made it look “pretty.” Did we win that competition? Heck no, but I left feeling great because of what she said. I also want you to have this feeling, so keep this in mind when you come in. Make everything perfect, especially the boring, un-sexy movements that tend to get overlooked.