The Open From a Coach's Perspective

March 4, 2012

Kyle Smith

Coaches across the world are prepping their athletes for the Open. A few of these coaches in New York City are making big plans for the Sport of Fitness in their neighborhood:
Keith Wittenstein – CrossFit Virtuosity, Brooklyn – CrossFit Level III Trainer
Sara Carr – CrossFit NYC, Manhattan – “Mean, Hardass Coach” (Self-Proclaimed)
Christian (Chris) Fox – CrossFit South Brooklyn – Eat Well, Move Well, Recover Well
Anthony (Ant) Lucic – CrossFit Queens – Marine
I Love the CrossFit Games
As the CrossFit Games move into the limelight, all of these NYC coaches are yanked out of the fast paced, hectic environments of their crowded boxes and forced to remember the big picture: CrossFit is a global phenomenon. “I think it's inspiring for me as an athlete, coach, and a fan. It brings the community together,” says Coach Keith, a very experienced competitor. 
The CrossFit Games are knocking down the boundaries of old humdrum fitness; inspiring not only elite athletes but the 99 percent as well. Coach Chris promotes fitness for everyone off his R Train stop in Brooklyn. “The Games are inclusive, as fitness should be,” he says. “We want everyone to stay active and healthy, to promote fitness in children and sedentary adults.”
CrossFit, Open to All
Over the next six weeks, NYC coaches will be encouraging their firebreathers to step up to the plate – local competitions and daily workouts have all led up to this – the ultimate test of fitness. 
Coach Sara acknowledges that not everyone will see their name on the Leaderboard. “As for my beginners, it will be a good way for them to see how they do this year so they can make improvements and move up in the rankings next year.” 
Encouraging newer, grinder-level athletes to compete in the Open is of utmost importance to NYC coaches. They want to see some PRs and are excited to see how the Open changes their athletes for the better. Coach Chris adds, “CrossFit South Brooklyn is made up largely of regular ‘Janes’ and ‘Joes,’ many of whom never played competitive sports. The giving and receiving of support in a competitive setting between athletes is always a positive, and sometimes transformational, experience.”
Coach! Coach!
NYC coaches realize the importance of respecting the movement standards, which is tricky while pushing the athletes and encouraging hard work. Leading up to the Open Workouts, NYC coaches have focused on stressing full range of motion and have tailored programming to promote maximum performance on judgment days. Managing a packed box will be an exercise in teamwork. From this will come camaraderie and a renewed sense of community across the board.
Coach Ant discusses his unique coaching style, which hey says is a perfect fit for CrossFit.“Being a Sergeant, I found transitioning to coaching natural. My commands were short and crisp, my intensity was high, and my desire to transform a person into an ideal was immeasurable,” he explains. “My style is thorough. In my explanations, from toe to head, I ensure my athletes understand the components of a lift, from setup to execution. Once I'm confident in their abilities, I wean them off the words and keep my cues loud and quick. I've drilled into them a set of words that instill a rapid response, correcting without interfering.” 
A Penny For Your Mantras
Coach Keith: “The only true wisdom lives far from mankind, out in the great loneliness, and it can be reached only through suffering. Privation and suffering alone can open the mind of man to all that is hidden to others.” Igjugarjuk, Caribou Eskimo shaman.
Coach Sara: You are never as tired as you think you are. Stop thinking and move. Nobody gives a fuck how you feel. We have all been there before.
Coach Chris: Right now, be the best athlete and teammate you can be. Push hard, be fierce, rest when we're done.
Coach Ant: Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.