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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer 2019

See schedule here. Dancing, anyone?

New Graduates: The Family Heads to the Peach Jam

The current lineup for The Family 17U team I have been helping coach the past 4 years contains the top 3 ranked players in the state of Michigan and the top ranked player from the state of Ohio. The 5th starter is considered one of the best football prospects in the country and has his college choices down to Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, LSU, and Purdue. Our bench consists of two 7'0 kids and a point guard going to Wisconsin.

With all that being said, our record going into the last day of our Dallas tournament this weekend was 0-3 and we had to win both Sunday games in order to qualify for the National tournament at the end of July. It took two lights-out performances from our point guard to make that happen.

At the Champions Club, I'm either competing against our previous Summers, or the shit that goes on in a high school weight room (I should say, most high school weight rooms - my bad Coach T and Jacob!) And even if I have a bad session, or we miss on an athlete, or if we have The Summer of the Sumo Deadlift, what's the worst that could happen? I can't fire myself. 

But imagine if I had 40 Champions Clubs I had to compete with, or if our ability to have CrossFit in our name depended on how many of you pr in Cindy later this week. That definitely adds some tension on your part and mine, but it would also raise the performance level. Coaching with The Family gives me that sense of urgency I don't feel as much with the Champions Club because here at the gym we're playing the infinite game; if we don't have 100 people this Summer, we'll just do our best to have 100 next Summer. If we didn't qualify for the National Tournament (Peach Jam) this year, then our Nike contract might not get renewed.

Another thing this particular season has given me is a tiny perspective of the pressure major college coaches have. They spend their entire off-season recruiting a great class, prep them during camp, and prepare over and over at practices. The only problem is that every other team they face has done the same thing; some even better than you. As for us, our Family team with two top-100 guards in the country lost to a team with two top-15 guards in the country. There is a ton of talent out there, man.

One advantage I think I have over any other CrossFit gym owner I personally know is that I coach more athletes outside of the gym than inside; a high school track team of 60+, two high-school aged basketball teams, basketball and track camps, a football team, and private basketball clients. The variety of sports, age groups, and seriousness level really helps me relate everything back into the thing I care about the most: the Champions Club. Every practice, meet, or game I coach gives me something to come back to the Champions Club with.

The Family Basketball Organization is the model I have been trying to build the Champions Club into for as long as we've been around. In an often-crooked world of AAU sports, I am proud to say from both experience as a player and a coach that The Family does things the right way. And I'm really excited at the chance to play on the biggest stage in high school basketball and see if we can defend our championship from two years ago.

Memorial Day Times + Murph Vault

The times for tomorrow (Monday) are:

9 am

5:30 pm


Tuesday we resume back to our normal schedule. Some CrossFit gyms have a tradition to do a hero workout on Memorial Day; we usually just follow what's on the site. Last year we gave the choice between Murph or Michael, the year before was either Angie or Barbara (I forget which one). This year will probably not be Murph unless I am moved by some unknown force or spirit, but here's a video from Summer 2016 of Matt Fecht, Nicole Murley, and Shannon Marchant taking their shot at the classic hero workout:

New Kid on the Block: New Binno

Ladies and... ladies, we have another Binno on our mix. Nicholas Binno is the younger brother of Chris Binno (whom we just know as Binno, or Christophus Binnonovich III, of the Great BamBinno) and has signed up for Fundamentals at the Champions Club!

We've been through two days of Fundamentals so far and the similarity with his brother is exactly what you'd expect; he has all the basics of gymnastics skills and strength down and his endurance leaves much to be desired. He's also going to rival Evan Pugh when it comes to pure sweat gland productivity.

So far, so good, and we'll check back in after Day 5.

New Kids on the Block: Sibyl

Recent Fundamentals graduate Maria Dinh brought in her longtime friend Sibyl Pence to try out a session last week. After some deliberation and schedule conflicts, she finally signed up to start Fundamentals.

Sibyl is another Stoney Creek graduate and works full-time as a chiropractor. She's doing CrossFit because her regular gym routine is getting old and she wants to do a program that will hold her accountable.

So far so good for the sessions; we're two days in and she has picked up on the movements quicker than I expected, to be honest. She's also got a certain degree of sass that makes the sessions entertaining. I'll check back in after Day 5.

Welcome aboard Sibyl!

Beast Mode: Josie and DeMarrien

Two unlikely sources put in a very good showing at today's mex effort deadlift workout. The 6:30 session featured 9 people and Josie Junkin and DeMarrien Watson were two that I had pegged for the rounded backs club. But much to my surprise, they looked really good. Here's their final sets.

Josie - 125 lbs.


DeMarrien - 75lbs.


Josie is officially back for her second Summer with the Champions Club and she is way ahead of where she was last year despite being away at school. DeMarrien (and his brother Mark) are on the recruiting board for the Summer; DeMarrien has seen major improvements in his body control so far in his short time with us and hopefully we can carry that over for the next few months.

Good work kids!

Pose Goes to States + Rant

This past weekend was the Track & Field Regionals for the MHSAA and teams/athletes with Pose running ties performed really well.

First up, we have Stoney Creek High School; a group of athletes from the team did winter conditioning with me twice a week from November through the middle of March. We did the usual CrossFit stuff, but we also went over a ton of running technique and film analysis. I haven't coached them (other than occasional mobility work) since the season started, but it turns out three of those kids qualified for States:

  • Jessica Schamanek, 1600m run, 5:09, 6th place, automatic qualifying time
  • Matt Medaugh 4x800m, 8:02.42, 5th place, automatic qualifying time
  • Cameron Klauke 4x100, 43.52, 4th place, automatic qualifiying time

Jessica shown working out on a snow day here at the Champions ClubAbout 15 miles south, we have the secondary Pose trial grounds: Warren Mott. Shannon does a majority of the coaching there, and I will come in about once a week or do some work on the side. As of recent weeks, Shannon has been absolutely on point with her coaching and technique drills and it has paid off bigtime: we had 8 kids qualify for States!

  • DeJzon Aljahim, high jump, 6'3", 3rd place, automatic qualifying height
  • Trevon Madison, 100m dash, 11.06, 2nd place
  • Trevon Madison, Darius Willis, Carvin Coleman, James Murray, 4x200m relay, 1:28.96, 1st place
  • Trevon Madison, Darius Willis, James Murray, Daiyon Anderson, 4x100m relay, 43.10, 1st place
  • James Murray, Carvin Coleman, Jarren Hayes, James Chaney, 4x400m relay, 3:29.09, 2nd place

This is a video we used from practice for technique analysis. Also shows some of Shannon's older running videos for reference.


One thing I am always conflicted with is how exactly to use the phrase "I coach blank." For example, Harrison Steen and Adam Hilton were both part of my strength and conditioning group last year and the year before at Stoney Creek; Harrison was a regular and Adam had Jesse Junkin attendance. They literally own all of the school records and are now college athletes. They were state-recognized runners and Track People know about them and will continue to know about them for quite some time. I would not feel comfortable saying "I coached them."

The three Stoney kids this year, however, I would feel comfortable to say "I coach them" because of how much time we spent on technique and how much they bought into Pose. The Mott kids... well that's another story. It starts from the top; Coach Dias and Coach Mark have given Shannon the keys to the sprinters for the past four years. All they know is Pose. If Shannon isn't saying something, Coach Dias or Mark are trying their best to relay something in the lines of what she would be saying. And obviously if I'm there we're doing all sorts of drills that would give Mr. Z and Jacob a fantastic supply of ammo to make fun of. There are kids that think about it when they run and kids who just run. Tre, Darius, and James do for sure, and everyone else in the States crew is in the Mrs. Fitz During A Workout category: aware but not fully aware. I also abuse DeJzon any time we play one-on-one after practice. I feel that's important to mention.

The reality is, though, the Mott and Stoney kids are going to States because God blessed them with athleticism and a desire to improve; a coach's role is definitely under 50%, and probably closer to 35%. But, everyone needs a coach, or at least they seem to think they need a coach. And this is where the conflict happens. I could stand and take a picture with Jalen Terry from my Family team and be like I COACH HIM and come back with 20 new clients for my private basketball coaching. Or I could have Shakes pump out pictures of Myron Gardner (who just committed to Georgetown, by the way... congrats big guy!) on whatever social media stuff she's doing and get a new wave of Champions Club athletes. I just have a feeling the karma bug will come back around on that one.

As for Pose, the stuff works. End of story. The only person it ever made slower was a fat coach from Foley who never actually ran, himself, but was a thrower. We have done Pose with sprinters. We have done Pose with distance runners. Shannon has done Pose with high jumpers and hurdlers and long jumpers. And I continue to beat Pose into CrossFitters at our gym. Not because Tre Madison thinks it helps, not because Mike Rossman was a state champion 9 years ago, and not because I enjoy teaching running (I don't). It's because we have to follow the best practices at the Champions Club and from what I have seen in the past and what I understand about human movement, the Pose Method is the way to go. You don't have to like it the same way you don't have to like feet together on box jumps or reverse grip on pull-ups.

As my dad would say, "suck it up!"

Quote of the Week vol. 291

"...learning is best done slowly to accumulate lasting knowledge, even when that means performing poorly on tests of immediate progress. That is, the most effective learning looks a lot like falling behind."

- David Epstein