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"The Games is the least important thing that happens in CrossFit. There is nothing less important than The Games."

- Coach Glassman


Entries in checklist (7)

College Athlete Admission Standards

Every few years I have an eye-opening coaching experience. The first was The Meeting, the second was Carl Paoli's seminar, the third was the trip to San Francisco CrossFit, the fourth was coaching at the Day Care, the fiiiifff was the presenting with Coach T at the Michigan State Clinic, and the most recent one has come over the course of the past 6 months while doing private basketball coaching.

Since June I have been charging 60 bucks per hour to do basketball stuff with kids ranging from 7-16 years old. It is awesome; I am obsessed with game of basketball, I am obsessed with coaching, I get to recruit kids to do CrossFit here, and every cent that comes to me gets direct deposited into the Champions Club bank account. What is has also done for me is helped me realize that parents will pay SIXTY FREAKING DOLLARS FOR 50 MINUTES of sports training. And I am about to raise my prices in the spring. It is baffling. In fact, I've told more than 75% of the parents that I think they really should reconsider spending all that money on basketball training for numerous reasons, the least of which being that their son does not seem to like basketball (“but let me tell you about this thing called CrossFit” is what usually happens next). Surprisingly I get mostly positive reactions to this, and hopefully once basketball season is done I’ll be able to add a few New Kids to our regular ranks. The Babies session has already benefited from it.

What this and a few recent discussions with Champions Club parents tells me is that there is no ill-will behind anything – such as parents trying to live through their kids, or kids being arrogant. Instead, they simply don’t know what it takes to make the next level. They see their competition in the Greg Grant league or their middle school with a graduating class of 15 and they can’t help but think that private lessons are the way to a college scholarship.

Coincidentally this was a message to me as I was editing this editorial

All but 2 of the kids I have coached said they want to play at a D1 college, then play in the NBA. This is something I empathize with completely. As a 28-year old who currently has a public goal to be the best CrossFit affiliate in the world, you can probably imagine this was totally me at their age and older. I wanted to be an under-the-radar recruit who, after watching Rashad Phillips play (anyone know who he was?), chose U of D Mercy over Michigan, Purdue, and Illinois, then went on to an NBA career with 11 All-Star appearances and 7 championships. That is not a joke, and that lasted all the way until 8th grade when I saw Yancey Gates, and I found out that good 8th graders are 6’4, black, and dunking on fools. I was not any of these, so I started to work harder. Up until February 23, 2012 (The Meeting) I still had the idea that I could play professional basketball in some league, despite my college career being less than remarkable. And so when Andrew, who just got cut from a last-place 7th grade team, tells me he wants to play for OKC, I am not just being nice when I tell him that it’s possible. I’ve seen weirder things happen. I just think there needs to be some guidelines in place.

My two athletic claims to fame are: 1) being a benchwarmer on the best AAU program in Michigan, with Draymond Green as our team’s second-best player and  2) getting a preferred walk-on offer over the phone from Oakland University the summer going into my senior year. Despite the fact that I never made it to where I wanted to with basketball, I really, really think I had a mindset and work ethic that would reflect someone that played at that level, and coaches have confirmed this to me along my career. But I only refined this dedication because I was fortunate enough to be on the court with people who were already professionals or clearly future-pros. I saw where I was relative to them and I tried as hard as I could to make up the gap.

None of the kids I have coached through private basketball lessons have seen that, and their parents only see what their kids see. Most of the Champions Club athletes still in high school and middle school haven’t had that exposure either. So I figured having a formal checklist could help families see reality and decide how much they want to commit to their sport (shouts to Matt Fecht, Alyssa, and Sap for helping). The idea for this is simple: you must accumulate the allotted point requirement for your desired level (10 points for D1/D2, and 5 points for NAIA/D3). The factors are split into two categories: controlled and non-controlled. The non-controlled factors have a lot more to do with genetics and family conditions, and there is little any athlete can do to adjust those in a meaningful way. The controlled factors are the opposite; they are conscious daily, weekly, monthly, and lifetime decisions made by the athlete that slowly tip the scale in the direction they want to go. Here is the breakdown:

Division-1 College Athlete (10 total points needed)

*Give up your sport for 6 months, or keep your sport and give up everything else “fun” for 6 months?

Division-2 College Athlete (10 total points needed)

*Same as above except for 2 months

Division-3/NAIA College Athlete (5 total points needed)

*If you sat the bench for your first month of the season, would you quit or stick with it?

While the metrics in here are not exact, the overall theme is important, and pretty accurate. The way to get your point total is slightly different for D1 and D2, and radically different when looking at D3. You can read the graphs from the top-down or bottom-up, depending on where an athlete and parent want to be. But here’s a few notes:

Being a college athlete is not hard to do. There are a ton of small schools out there that will take anyone. And I mean ANYONE.  Our 2012 Marygrove roster (which included your favorite new hip hop artist, Mike Jack) had 3 kids that had never made a high school basketball team. And we were middle-of-the-pack record-wise and in the upper 5% talent-wise for all NAIA schools. If you want to play at a small college, first check to make sure your heart is beating and then start sending emails and highlight tapes. It doesn’t take much. And it certainly doesn’t require lots of money pumped into kids travel teams. Save that for Albion, Hope, and Olivet’s tuition. It’s gonna be around 40 grand!

Recruit yourself. Alyssa Jabara is the best example I have heard of this. She played for a good travel softball team in high school but was not getting the college attention she wanted. So she took it upon herself and emailed coaches every weekend starting her junior year. She is at Concordia now (in the NAIA league with Marygrove, Madonna, Aquinas, etc.) and a lot of that has to do with the initiative she took. The extra controlled factors she put in that more closely resembled D2 is the difference between her just being on the team and her beating out 2 upper-class catchers as a freshman last year.

1-month quit test. Small school sports suck. There were bigger crowds at high school games. You get crammed van rides for hours and hours. Practices are at 6 am. In other words, you put in a ton of work and get very little publicity – especially if you are 1) a girl or 2) playing anything besides football and basketball. And on top of that, scholarships are treated differently at this level, so don’t be surprised if you came in with a handful of other freshman at the same position. There were 7 freshman quarterbacks on the football roster during my only semester at Albion. And the coach still asked me to try out. The more kids they bring in, the more enrollment goes up. Bottom line is, you have to love the game unconditionally.

Well maybe I’ll just go D2 instead. The Division-2 level is the most misunderstood tier of college sports in my opinion. These dudes (or girls) can play, man. Everyone thinks they are pros here, and to their credit, some of them are right. You’ll notice that there is a big jump from NAIA/DIII to the D2 level, and D2 is not that much different than the D1 requirements. The areas I have noticed the biggest difference in the D1 and D2 athletes are the non-controlled areas, which are just a tad lower than the D1 group. But where this can get tricky is with transferring. Take Glenn Winston, who had the makeup for D1 but didn’t get the playing time he wanted at MSU, so he transferred to Northwood and immediately played in front of Cam – who, by the way, had all the measurables and connections to make a really good D2 running back. Division-2 is loaded with talent, and it’s often people who shoot for D1 and miss that are standouts, not D3 kids looking to move up.

Non-controlled factors. Now we get into the Division-1 category, and this is where there are pretty solid factors that are not completely mandatory, but very hard to bypass. Measurables are simply the raw mass of your body. For instance, if you are 7’0, or over 6’6 with arms longer than your height, you have the right measurables for a D1 basketball player. If you are over 300 lbs., you can be a D1 offensive lineman. The specifics are different with every sport, the idea is the same. “Elite” skill means that your skill in that area is at a professional level. I knew Alex Marcotullio growing up at St. Dennis (he is good friends with my cousin Josh) and he played for The Family the year after I got there. By everyone’s account I was better at dribbling, driving, mid-range shooting, passing, defense, rebounding, and I was stronger and better conditioning than he was. But his 3-point shooting was – no joke – NBA worthy. Combine that with the measurables for his position (Jay Junkin’s height) and he played 4 years at Northwestern. Connections are the next thing, because with all that skill and genetics, a lot of it depends on who you know. All it takes is for one coach to like you.

Social Norms. Now we are into controlled factors, and this one comes directly from Matt Fecht. This means when the normal thing to do is party after you won a game, you skip it and sneak back into the gym to practice more. Or when it is snowing outside, you still get your training run in, regardless of the awkward looks you get. Your “process” takes precedence over what is considered normal by peers.

Scheduled down-time. For most elites in their field, down-time does not happen when they feel like it. It is built into their schedule. This includes family events, television, video games, cheat meals, and parties. Time away is a very important part of staying healthy. As Kobe Bryant said, “If the sun never went down, everyone would get sun-burned.” But even the sun does it on a schedule. So set a cheat meal to coincide with your grandma’s 90th birthday party, or plan on some father-son bonding whenever Michigan is playing on Saturday, and use that as an incentive/reward for staying on track during the time leading up. My personal productivity, both as an athlete and gym owner, really coincides with this.

No job. Your sport is your job. End of discussion.

S&C + Individual practice. One of the things I tell families is that if their son wants to play Division 1 basketball, they should not be relying on paying a trainer to improve their game. If the kid doesn’t have the passion to spend 2 hours per day practicing by himself, then no trainer is going to fill that void. On the other hand, having some kind of direction is good, but only to guide your individual efforts. Strength and conditioning is a different area of expertise, so having a coach is a little more beneficial, but a determined athlete can definitely get away with working out alone. Still, this is mandatory.

AAU. Okay here’s the deal: If your travel team is legit, they are sponsored by an apparel company. If you are not paying team dues, or travel expenses, or equipment fees, then you are probably sponsored (unless there’s a very rich parent). Also, apparel companies don’t sponsor youth programs, only high school. So just know that having Nike gear and having a Nike contract are two separate things. If you are not part of a sponsored team and you are a legit prospect, then you are either not paying the full amount, or not paying anything at all. Your payment is your coach getting to say he “coached” you. If you think you are a legit prospect and you can’t pull the juice card, then you are not a legit prospect.

School. You can go to school at any point in your life. On the other hand, you have about an 8-year window where you can make money on your athletic abilities. If 8 hours of homework per week is eating into sports training, then cut out some homework. You don’t need a 4.54 GPA, a 3.0 will work just fine. If you can’t get a 3.0, then just start turning in your freaking homework. That’s like a 2.8 right there! Then be nice to that smart kid who idolizes to you and it’s all set.

Food and bed. Nutrition is like religion, and sleeping remains to be one of the most unfigured-out things in the world of health and fitness. I have opinions about what are best practices. Your coach has opinions. Your grandpa has opinions. As long as you are making conscious daily decisions for both, then you get two checks.

November 2014 - right around the time Alyssa started recruiting herself and Matt was... well... still being Matt.

Now, the important thing to understand is that the more stock you have in one column, the less you need in the other. For instance, if you are 7’0 with an 90-inch wing span, then you can spend all the time immersed in your homework as you want; somebody is going to give you a free tuition to win points in the lay-up line. On the other hand, if you have every single category covered in the Controlled column, you might be able to get away with not being tall, fast, or big.

The idea is to have this reality check when setting goals. So if Andrew-who-got-cut-from-his-7th-grade-team still has dreams to play for John Beilein, he can look at the list and be like, “yep, I can see myself putting in that kind of commitment,” or “ooh… yeah that doesn’t look like something I’d be willing to do.” Either way, the information is right there and the decision to start pumping money and time and energy into that sport becomes clear. Or, at least a more educated guess. It’s the difference between asking someone what they want for Christmas and hoping they will use a $50 Whole Foods gift card.

...........

For this 2017-2018 season there are 7 D1 basketball schools in Michigan, which have a total of 114 roster spots:

  • Central Michigan: 18
  • Eastern Michigan: 16
  • Western Michigan: 14
  • Oakland: 16
  • Detroit Mercy: 17
  • Michigan: 17
  • Michigan State: 16

There are 9 D2 basketball schools in Michigan, which have a total of 138 roster spots:

  • Lake Superior State: 14
  • Northern Michigan: 17
  • Ferris State: 17
  • Wayne State: 13
  • Michigan Tech.: 15
  • Davenport: 17
  • Grand Valley: 18
  • Saginaw Valley: 13
  • Northwood: 14

This is a total of 252 roster spots for Division 1 (114) and Division 2 (138) combined.

When you go two levels lower to the NAIA (132) and DIII (114), you have 246 total roster spots:

NAIA*

  • Cornerstone: 16
  • U of M Dearborn: 18
  • Rochester: 17
  • Madonna: 17
  • Aquinas: 22
  • Sienna Heights: 15
  • Concordia: 17
  • Lawrence Tech: 10 (first-year program)

DIII*

  • Adrian: 12
  • Albion: 17
  • Alma: 24
  • Calvin: 16
  • Hope: 15
  • Kalamazoo: 17
  • Olivet: 13

*does not include roster numbers for JV teams, which usually carry at least 10 and fluctuate

Now when you take this down to the high school level, there are 710 school varsity basketball teams in the state of Michigan:

  • Class A = 188 teams
  • Class B = 180 teams
  • Class C = 170 teams
  • Class D = 172 teams

Assuming 13 kids per roster, there are 9,230 varsity basketball players in the 2017-2018 season.

That means that approx. 4% of all high school players will play college. Obviously there is a degree of variety to that, seeing as kids can go to college out of state, and Michigan schools recruit all over the Midwest (and world, see Mo Wagner, Stauskas). Also, basketball has the fewest roster spots of any sport, but it’s probably all relative with baseball, football, and track, which routinely carry rosters of 20, 60, and 100 kids respectively.

The specific numbers don’t matter as much as the overall message: a very small percentage of kids get to play a college sport. I, personally, think that is awesome. It’s something to be proud of whether it’s Alyssa Jabara playing at Concordia or Alan Wisniewski at Penn State. They are part of a select group of people who had a combination of controlled and non-controlled factors that gave them the opportunity to compete at a very high level.  If a formalized list is available to show the demands at each level, families will realize that playing college sports is not for everyone, but it is for anyone.

Beast Mode: 6:30 Session Downpour

A little over a week ago we were dodging a thunderstorm all day for the sprint/dumbbell clean and jerk workout. Then the heavens opened up at the 6:30 session; within a matter of 20 minutes all of Madison Heights was flooded - our running path included. Fortunately, that did not stop Alan, Jay, and Mrs. Pip from doing the workout as designed. Check them out:

I have said this over and over again, especially in the Champions Club Checklist, but we have somehow recruited the most tolerant workout folks I have ever seen. From the hill, to the snowfight, to this; I am spoiled with the crew I get to coach!

CFJ Feature: Don't Miss the Jerk

I have wrote about character traits in the gym before - most notably in The Champions Club Checklist. But a recent CrossFit Journal article goes at it from an outside prespective. A few gym owners, including Doug Chapman who owns CrossFit Ann Arbor and provided our gym with the black mats, bars, and white rope, talk about how they deal with members who are clearly not a good fit in their program.

Don't Miss the Jerk

Sometimes you can tell right away when someone is gonna be a goot fit in here. So far, Simon and Vince seem to be making themselves right at home with Cap'n Jack and the rest of our crew.

The Champions Club Checklist

“Youth drives the Champions Club. But youth has nothing to do with age; it’s about mentality. Unfortunately becoming an “adult” usually comes with boredom, over-complication, and realizing most things are too good to be true. We’ll have none of that. The Champions Club is the cure for adulthood. We exist because we don’t know any better.” – True in the Game



Thanks to Jim Cawley and Bruce Evans of Dynamax, there are ten general physical skills that CrossFit recognizes. They are: Stamina, Strength, Endurance, Flexibility, Speed, Power, Coordination, Accuracy, Agility, and Balance. In other words, those are the things that can be developed through a strength and conditioning program. Coach Glassman took that a step further and said that he/she was as fit as they were developed in those 10 general physical skills; and a deficiency in any one of the categories was a deficiency in one’s overall fitness.

About a month ago, I realized we had our own rating system. I call it, The Champions Club Checklist.

...........

In 2009, there was an article in the CrossFit Journal called The Asshole Barrier. While it may sound like something from a site Jacob and Faust peruse at 2 am, this article talked about the natural ability CrossFit had in the earlier days of weeding out bad-character people and keeping quality individuals. And I think this is still a thing even though public perception may say otherwise. In reality, someone who is not willing to work hard does not last very long at a CrossFit gym. Neither does someone who does not make health a priority. It definitely attracts quality, like-minded individuals.

And then there’s The Champions Club: a strangely obsessive group of people in an unsightly warehouse where parents act like kids and kids… also act like kids; a group of people so unique as to garner the praise of some of CrossFit’s royalty. I have been giving a lot of thought recently as to what exactly makes our community so great(other than our website). Why is the quality of individuals so obvious to everyone? Why are the people here so easy to get along with? Why is this so much like a family? Why do people hang here for hours at a time? In the end, nobody will ever know for sure but I think I have a good idea.

There are 10 character traits that have to be present for an individual to last in The Champions Club. I call it The Champions Club Checklist and they are: Patient, Unselfish, Confident, Nice, Tolerant, Smart, Driven, Tough, Humble, and Youthful. In the same way each component of Fitness plays on the other ones, each trait is influenced by the others. A major deficiency in any one of CrossFit’s 10 general physical skills could cost you your game, your mission, or your life. And if a major deficiency is present in The Champions Club Checklist, let the countdown to departure begin.

Here’s the breakdown:

1. Patient

To be patient, you are constantly thinking and operating in the present. Although it seems looking ahead is the key to patience, doing so will often skew your present thinking – which can cause you to doubt yourself and act impatiently. Look at the picture above. The Freaks are what they are at that exact snapshot in time. What they did in the past made them into that snapshot and having an idea of where they want to go will dictate what they do after the snapshot. But that moment is concrete. Someone who is patient understands that there are good snapshots and there are bad snapshots and trusts in the process to get through both of them. Good example: Jennifer Banet. Less good example: Jacob

2. Unselfish

As I mentioned before, being unselfish is the single most important trait I look for when analyzing coaching. But since we operate similar to a team, it also spills over to the athletes. We don’t have the means to give everyone what they want so you need to act accordingly. You may have to share your favorite bar. You might get stuck with the floppy med balls. The session that is the most convenient for you may not be the best for the other people in it. But in the big picture it’s not about you, it’s about the Champions Club. When the Champions Club does well, so will you. There is also a loyalty factor here. Unselfish athletes stick with the program even when things aren’t going well because of the domino effect around them (which also takes patience). Good example: Murley. Less good example: Binno.

3. Confident

When people think of confidence, the most popular name that comes up is Kanye West. Why? Because he tells you (and everyone) that he is confident. In fact, Kanye West is one of the two Wests that inspired the confidence I have now (Coach West is the other). But what’s interesting is Kanye’s words had little influence on me compared to his melodies; to make the kind of music he does requires a supreme level of confidence. I could do an entire editorial on Kanye West that nobody but Matt Morrow would read, but the point is actions reflect confidence more than words. Someone who is confident also does not take themselves too seriously. They are comfortable being the butt of a joke, the runt of the workout litter, or the lone adult in a group full of kids. They are comfortable because they have confidence in the group around them. Good example: Elizabeth Banet. Less good example: Jacob

4. Nice

I do not know how to define nice other than to give examples of the nicest person in the world…

…and the least-nice person in our gym…

5. Tolerant

The two keys to happiness are 1. Being able to change things to make you happy and, 2. Being able to tolerate things that make you unhappy. The second element is the point of emphasis here. Running in the cold doesn’t make anyone happy (including myself). Being crammed for space doesn’t make anyone happy. Having to use old, worn down equipment doesn’t make anyone happy. Not being able to hold on to a slippery bar does not make anyone happy. In fact, they all do the opposite; they can hinder your workout experience. However, they are all things out of your control at that exact moment and if you have some confidence in your abilities, you will realize that it's not the end of the world. Being tolerant of these conditions is especially important when you are working out in a gym that is hovering at the poverty line. It is also a glimpse into the world of “convenience.” Those who only do things that are convenient suffer in the tolerance area. Good example: Bubs. Less good example: Lil Kim.

6. Smart

We could argue forever on this. If "smart" has to do with grades, then we have that covered (lots of of 4.0 students, three Salutatorians, two future teachers, one professor and one future doctor). If "smart" has to do with just accumulation of knowledge, Brian the Trainer has no peer. For street smart, Alex Faust runs these streets. We also have Ryan Richard, who fits in the category of Wow He Doesn't Look Smart But He Built A Gym Out Of Wood. We also have people who are not "smart" in any sense, but, oddly enough, are smart enough to realize they aren't smart. The one thing we are absent of, however, is idiots. While the 5 pm goons may tiptoe that line every now and then, they learn from their misfurtunes more than most other kids their age. Good example: Aaron Sabal. Less good example: Master P.

7. Driven

Driven is a little different than hard-working in the sense that there is a precise end-goal. It is having a vivid image of the future while maintaining a patient focus on the present. Part of it comes with a weird autistic-like obsession with something. While hard-workers just generally enjoy working hard and feeling accomplished, the driven are a different breed. They will find something and latch onto it like teenage girls latch onto Ricky Carey. The other the part of being driven comes with tricking yourself in a way. You have to be smart enough to know that you are not the best, but you also have to be stupid enough to know that you will be one day. And then that sense of obsession gets you past any obstacles and speed bumps you encounter. Good example: me. Less good example: Murley.

8. Tough

One of my most sincere desires is that the Champions Club was some team (preferably basketball, football, some made-up co-ed sport…anything but CrossFit really) and I got to coach you guys in that sporting environment with wins, losses, cuts, competition, and physical contact. This is where I could really see who is tough and who is not. But toughness does not always have to do with who can foul the hardest or make the biggest tackle. I quoted MGoBlog editor Brian Cook on being tough before, but it is worth repeating. “If I believe in toughness it's an ability to keep your head on straight when put in a bad situation, which is related to intelligence and organization, two qualities Michigan is also sorely lacking.” That makes sense to me because if the mental aspect is on point, the physical will follow. It also applies very well to our gym. Since the Champions Club is not a contact sport, you guys show off your toughness (or lack thereof) by how you accept criticism. How you react when I give you a harsh reality check or hold you to a seemingly impossible standard illustrates your level of toughness. Good example: Katie Bromm. Less good example: Emma.

9. Humble

Being humble sometimes comes with the connotation of talking yourself down. But that, to me, is false humility. I think being humble means you have a realistic sense of your abilities and where you stand, but also understanding that nobody really cares. A humble person proportionally celebrates good achievements and quietly regroups when they fail. Good example: Matt Fecht. Less good example: ??

10. Youthful

The spine of the Champions Club Checklist, and the Champions Club in general, is youth.

The Freaks, the McGonagall Rule, the Calendar, the Handsome Gentlemen's Club, sledding, Theme Workouts, the unprofessionalism, the website, the sassing (see Aly above), dodgeball... it all revolves around preserving and encouraging the youthful vibe that makes this place electric.  The importance of that can be explained by the other categories in The Checklist, but illustrated by the most youthful group I currently coach.

When we do precision jumping at the Day Care, all of the 3 year olds tell me they are going to fly, and they literally believe it. So their turn comes up and... they don’t fly; in fact they crash face-first harder than Carter diving for Matt Morrow’s rope. Then they bounce up, laugh and make choo choo train noises, and do it again. And again. And again. Then I’ll give them a specific color on the mat to jump to. Once they realize flying is out of the picture (for now), all of their attention goes to the pink, blue, or yellow (furthest of all) segments of the mat. When they miss their mark, they waddle to the back of the line and try again and clap for others while they wait. When they finally land on their goal color, they laugh, make choo choo train noises, give me a high-five with less accuracy than Mr. Wonsil… then waddle to the back of the line to see if they can do it again and clap for others while they wait. Within three minutes, every kid demonstrates every character trait in the Champions Club checklist.

We are not 5 years old any more. In fact, a lot of you are not teenagers any more. And there are frames in your real life where acting like a kid could cost you your game, your mission, your job, or your life. But the Champions Club is not real life; it is an exaggeration of reality – a place to develop things that help you in real life. Your perception of yourself can slow you down more than fatigue or technique ever will. It could be avoiding an awkward situation, ignoring your creative side, being unenergetic, or not trying something you aren't good at. But when you have the ability to think like a kid, you become free of those restrictions. Every day we combat adulthood in here moves us closer to youth – which naturally develops a better foundation for the nine other traits above. Best example: Mr. Wonsil. Worst example: ??

...........

I wish The Checklist was a master plan from Day 1 where I have been secretly screening new kids on the block every time they come in. But it didn’t work like that. Instead, The Checklist was shaped organically and snowballed as a byproduct of my coaching methods, our location, the equipment, and most importantly our team. Those factors serve as a net that naturally sifts through the dirt and finds the diamonds. If you could somehow genetically merge all of those traits into one person, he or she would really be a pleasure to be around. Now think about our gym. Everyone in the Champions Club has every trait on The Checklist to some extent, otherwise they would not be here. That is why we are so dope.

We exist because we don't know any better

Track Home Opener + New Editorial Alert

Katie Bromm and Ricky Carey are running in their home opener tomorrow at 4:30 pm at Foley. As far as I know, whiny little girl is running in the 400 and 2 mile, and Katie Bromm is doing the 4x8 and open 400 (rofl). Foley will be hosting a bunch of schools in their division so I'm not sure when the events will start. We'll just peek over the fence every now and then to get an idea of where they're at.

The cute couple flirting in December. Ricky stole Katie's books mid-candlestick roll.


I have just finished my next editorial called The Champions Club Checklist. It started as a small post then just expanded into a full-length feelzfest over the course of a few days. It's not nerdy and technical like What is Strength, instead it's pretty personal to our gym and should be something everyone can enjoy. Here's a sneak peek.

Thanks to Jim Cawley and Bruce Evans of Dynamax, there are ten general physical skills that CrossFit recognizes. They are: Stamina, Strength, Endurance, Flexibility, Speed, Power, Coordination, Accuracy, Agility, and Balance. In other words, those are the things that can be developed through a strength and conditioning program. CrossFit took that a step further and said that he/she was as fit as they were developed in those 10 general physical skills; and a deficiency in any one of the categories was a deficiency in one’s overall fitness.

About a month ago, I realized we had our own rating system. I called it, The Champions Club Checklist.

It will be released next Monday at 6 pm.

To Do(n't) List

Last time we assigned homework like this it turned out pretty good for everyone. This week's assignment is slightly different, but similar in the sense that it requires us to be honest with ourselves.

Hopefully, you guys all have goals - whether that's in CrossFit, in your sport, or life in general. For some, their goals may be more on the ambitious side. I, for one, encourage this because it will keep an athlete from getting satisfied and settling for being mediocre. Now understand, when a challenging goal is set, a new view on priorities must be taken. Here's one thing you can do to help set things straight. Once you lock your goal in, make a list of everything you are currently doing that does not directly help you get to your goal. Here's what a shortened version of mine might look like.

  • Television
  • Working out
  • Playing Basketball
  • Coaching for The Family
  • Pokemon
  • Mario Baseball
  • Listening to music

If my goal is to help make the Champions Club the best CrossFit affiliate in the world, then I have to understand that sacrifices have to be made. Most of the time, the things listed above aren't going to directly make the affiliate better. However, everyone needs a break sometimes (whether physical or mental) to keep from getting burned out. For instance, if my sanity were to depend on me watching  Michigan football games on Saturdays in the fall, obviously it would be okay to indulge. I also know that I have to be extra dedicated during the week to make up for my day hanging on the couch.

There are some cases where listed items can help too. For example, I tend to think clearly when I am shooting by myself. And I pick up a lot of coaching points from The Family's coach Durand "Speedy" Walker - not to mention that it gives me the opportunity to talk up our program to perspective athletes. But with that being said, I have to understand that these help indirectly, and that were there ever to be a conflict between the affiliate and the "To Do(n't) List", the affiliate would have to take priority.

Here's another example. In high school, my goal was to play professional basketball, plain and simple. Although playing football and running track didn't directly help me in basketball, the different sports gave me a change of scenery and helped keep me fresh.

However, I never let them take time away from my main goal. My junior year, there was a conflict with our Regional track meet and a tournament in Ohio being on the same weekend. Although the track meet was more "significant" with a trip to States on the line, I had to keep my goal in line and go to the tournament and accept the consequences of missing the most important track meet of the season.

If you want to be good, keep doing what you are doing. Now if you want to be great (at whatever), then things have to change. Make a list. Cross off the things getting in the way first. Then see what else we can eliminate. If you need help, bring it in to a coach and get it analyzed. I know this kid did. It was his idea in the first place.

Important: Flexibility Standards

"If you have no standard, you cannot teach". - Dr. Nicholas Romanov

Having a standard for movement or execution is crutial for an athlete's assessment. Standards give us a baseline to see where we currently stand. In Pose running, the "Figure 4 Running Dude" is the standard. Small deviations from that standard are called "mistakes" and large one are called "errors". Anyone that has been through our fundamentals sessions or watched one has seen a thorough explanation of our movement standards.

But what about all of the mobility we do? The only standard we have sen is the Leopard Man/Woman test - which nobody here can do with a significant amount of weight. That is until now.

Flexibility and Stretching Primer - Carl Paoli.

Homework: Make a checklist.

  • Bridge
  • Middle split
  • Right leg split
  • Left leg split
  • Pike
  • German hang

Can you get into these shapes? If not, you know what you need to work on.