January 31, 2017
Joined at the Hip Crease
By Mike Warkentin
Athletes, rely on your coaches in the Open.
Athletes, rely on your coaches in the Open.

You need to email your coach today about the Open.

Do it now. Before the burpees and in advance of the anxiety, here’s what you need to say while everyone is calm, cool and collected:

Hi, Coach.

The Open is coming, and I’m fired up to participate! I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to listen to everything you say no matter how nervous or excited I am and no matter how competitive I become.

I realize that you have a lifelong fitness plan in place for me, and it goes beyond any single workout—whether it’s in the Open or not.

I hereby promise to:

- Understand that the Open is part of the training plan, not the end of the plan.

- Accept recommended scaling because Rx is not always best.

- Graciously accept a no rep and improve the next rep.

- Accept your decision when I ask about redoing a workout.

- Do my best, be proud of my effort and hold my head high at all times.

- Smile and cheer for my classmates.


<Your Name Here>

Cut and paste that into an email to your coach and hit “send.” Then register for the Open if you haven’t done so. It’s going to be a great time.

The Buddy System

Most athletes get a bit tight when competitions come around. A rare few can joke around and rock a cowboy hat at the CrossFit Games, like Sean Sweeney did in 2016.

The rest of us? We get nervous, and we forget to pull up our knee sleeves before the workout starts. Or we suddenly can’t remember if the snatch is “the one where you use a wide grip.” Or we take pre-workout as post-workout and get amped up to run to the car.

Which is why your coach is your best asset—at all times, but especially in the Open. Your coach is invested in you and has been since you started working together. He or she is your confidante and your most trusted adviser. When a workout is announced and you feel your vision tunnel like the Millennium Falcon going into hyperspace, your coach is Chewbacca in the shotgun seat with a map and a furry high-five.

So send the email above right now and get the conversation out of the way. You’ll feel better about it. You don’t have to worry about deadlift bars above your PR, scores you aren’t happy with or a no rep on a double-under. All you have to do is show up, listen to your coach and have confidence that the workout is just another step toward improved fitness. Settle in and prepare to have a really good time participating in the world’s best fitness competition.         

Your coach knows you well, and he or she will make the best plan for you.

If you think you’ll struggle with chest-to-bar pull-ups and your coach thinks you’re A-OK to go as prescribed, have some faith and pull for all you’re worth. If the coach tells you to make only one attempt at the heavy bar and then call it a day, try your best and then work with your coach so the “heavy bar” is the light one next year. If your coach recommends you redo a workout because it clearly wasn’t your best effort, do it. But if he or she suggests one attempt would be better, move on to the next challenge.

If your coach tells you to chill out and smile, do that immediately. In fact, do it anyway.

In every class at your CrossFit gym, you work with your coach to improve your fitness.

So don’t change a thing before the Open, during the Open or after the Open.