What I have learned from this year’s Open. –Coach Pat


I will put this out there first – I do not like how Crossfit programmed the WOWs this year. I have read and understood all the posts regarding the hows and whys and find that while I agree with pretty much everything that was said – I still don’t like it. I could go on for a few paragraphs about my thoughts on the subject (in fact the first draft of this did exactly that), but it will change nothing and only delay getting to the point of this post.

This post is about what I have learned from this year’s Open so far and it deals with my own scores from 14.1 & 14.2. Now while I was able to post scores for both of these workouts, they were not good and I felt that they were not representative of my abilities as an athlete or as a crossfitter. I do not know what 14.3, .4 & .5 will be, but if they are anything like the first two, it will be a major test for me.

This past Sunday I came in to hit the day’s WOD and maybe do 14.2 again to see if I could up my score a little. As soon as I dropped off my bag, Viv asked me if I was a certified judge for the Open. I said I was and she replied that there was a drop-in that was looking to hit the WOW. He had never really done Overhead Squats before at that weight and had been in the Double warming up for the last 20 minutes or so.

I introduced myself to Roderick and started asking a few questions. He started crossfit about 6 weeks prior and since he was part of a team back at his own box, he wanted to at least get a rep or two in so that he wouldn’t be hurting his team by not posting a score. He had a barbell already loaded with the weight and I asked to see a rep so that I knew where we were starting from.

I will save you some time by not describing it and just say that based on what I saw – he was not going to post a score with the form he exhibited. In the short time we were talking, I could see though that he was determined not to let his fellow athletes down and it became my mission to help him any way that I could.

So we stepped all the way back to going through air squats and then adding weight. We tried some band stretches to work on flexibility; we did some other things to work on his range of motion. I pulled out every tool that I had in my bag and even made some things up in an attempt to get him ready to attempt the Rx weight.

We worked on this for over an hour without a single word from Roderick about rushing ahead to try the WOW. He put himself in my hands with the hope that it would work out in the end. We finally starting warming up the movement again – hitting some reps with the training bar, empty bar, 65 lbs, 75 lbs., 85 lbs, then 90 and finally the Rx weight.

They weren’t pretty but they were passable. We found some space in the Triple-wide, set things up and got Roderick prepped to hit 14.2. I knew it was going to be a struggle though to get more than three reps out in the time frame – but Roderick was determined and I think I wanted it for him more than I wanted my own scores.

3, 2, 1, Go! and the clock has started. I got a little nervous as I called “No-rep” on the first three attempts. The clock is ticking away and he is struggling to keep the weight in a good position overhead. The 4th one is close but still no good and one minute is gone already.  Finally the 5th one is below parallel and now he has to fight to bring it up again. Roderick manages to stand it back up keeping it locked out and I want to stop him right there and congratulate him – 1 rep in and a score to post. Roderick never changes his expression and just starts the downward motion to hit another. He gets a second and heads down for a third. He gets that too but it wipes him out and the bar drops to the floor. Two minutes gone – 60 seconds left. Determined to keep going, he takes the bar overhead again and try to settle in for a last push. Two more no-reps – 30 seconds to go. The next two are good ones to get him to five, but there’s no more gas left and too little time. He attempts two more but all the work of the last 2 hours have taken their toll. The bar drops down and his three minutes is up.

Five reps total for three minutes work may not sound like much – but it was a major accomplishment for him. I don’t think I could have been more happy and proud for an athlete that was a complete stranger to me 90 minutes prior. He wanted that score and was willing to do anything that would help him accomplish it.

Now you may ask – what was it that you learned from this experience and how does it carry over to the Open? The answer is this – Roderick wanted that score for his team. He wanted it so much that he came into a box he didn’t know and opened himself up to a coach he had never met before with faith that it would combine with his own drive to get him where he wanted to be. He WANTED it and set about to make it happen.

I have been crossfitting for 5+ years and two of the movements that have always been problematic for me were Double Unders and Chest-to-Bar Pullups. I’ve done them both in WODs but was content to have them be problem areas. I didn’t want to do the work truly required to get them. I didn’t want it as much as Roderick did.

I need to change that. My goal for March is to get Double Unders. I need to apply myself the way I did for the Cindy Challenge and for the 100 Day Burpee Challenge of a few years back.  Every day – I need to do 15 minutes of work on this. If you see me sitting around after class – ask me if I worked on my double that day. Poke me. Keep me accountable. After I get these – its will be on to Chest-to-Bar – and then I will need to find another suck that needs work.

What I learned from the Open -I learned I need to be like Roderick.



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