How Crossfit has made me a better coach

I did my first Crossfit competition Saturday. In a tutu. I have been Crossfit-ing loosely for 18 months but really started to focus on it this past September. One of my goals for 2015 was to do a competition; and life got in the way once and "I can't I have swimming" kept me from my second local opportunity.  No way that was going to stop me in 2016.  I'm currently in a virtual competition and Saturday was my first experience at a partner competition. 

It was a lot like a swim meet. I spent most of my time hanging out with my teammates in our "team camp" area, eating, listening to music, and cheering on my teammates during their heats. (Must be why I like it so much!).  I was absolutely terrified.  I didn't even know my partner; when I found out about the competition all the tickets in my division were sold out. I got lucky and someone's partner dropped out and I was in!

When you signup for a competition you don't get to pick your events. You sign up and then a week before, they say "Hey, here's what you're doing!" Talk about scary!  I can totally relate now to when I spring a "don't worry, you can swim a 200 fly" on a swimmer ;) 

In all seriousness, yesterday put me way outside my comfort zone--and that is how we grow. 

Being a Crossfit athlete has taught me so much about myself, but most importantly it has made me a better coach. It's given me a plethora of new ideas and concepts to work with, ideas on how to give our swimmers ownership into the Piranha program, and ways to scale and adjust workouts. Our athletes love the pre-workout mobility work with the balls and PVC.  We also have "SwimWOD Wednesdays" which are super fun, fast swimming where the kids earn points (and sometimes bubble gum!) for their performances.  It's about swimming fast, having fun, and improving. 

Overall, I'm a little more empathetic when our athletes don't "get it" right away because now I can relate to the struggle of trying to learn a new gymnastic skill or hit a PR on a lift.   I struggle daily with certain aspects of my own fitness....It reminds me sometimes our brains want us to do something and our body just can't quite figure it out. It also reminds me that technique is #1; and always #1. If I have poor technique, my long-term growth will suffer because of it. I've learned to say to the coaches "I need help with this" or "Hey, come watch me. Am I doing this right?"  I've been reminded I am in charge of my own growth, failures, and successes.  If I just show up but I don't work as hard as I could, if I skip a day because I'm "tired" or I let work (school) get in the way; my performance suffers.  I like the leaderboard and I like being at the top; but some days I'm at the bottom and it humbles me and reminds me I'm only as good as my biggest weakness.

Nutrition....I've never been more aware of what I eat than I am now.  I learned a lot of bad eating habits through swimming because I could "eat whatever I wanted." Also in my "era" (yes; I'm officially old!) we carbo-loaded and basically lived off of pasta.  I wish I knew then what I know now about nutrition. I should have been eating more meat and vegetables. I was lean back then, but I can only imagine how much my performance would have improved had I been eating more for my body type.

My Crossfit journey has helped me keep perspective that our swimmer are just on a journey learning new things. They're out there every day trying to improve, learn and grow. To be better than yesterday. To fail-and get back up and do it again. To try again. To keep at it until you get it. And these are the most valuable lessons sport can teach our kids about life. I have always said that was what our program was about; and I hope through my own Crossfit journey I am emulating that as I "practice what I preach".

Besides....coming into the pool and showing kids my handstand push-up I just learned earns me cool points! Even when I about fell on my face on the last one.

I can never say it enough: Thank you to all the parents and supporters of the Piranha Aquatics program. Without you, we wouldn't be here, teaching kids to be in charge of their own success.

- by Coach Caroline; February 1, 2016  

#piranhapride    #riseofthepiranha

Here is a picture of Coach Caroline...in a tutu! 

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