September 18, 2012
Untapped Potential: Lindsey Smith
By Andréa Maria Cecil

"Every minute of every workout means a lot to her." ~Doug Katona




Lindsey Smith is a wife, a mother, a full-time athletic director, a member of the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar staff and a four-time CrossFit Games athlete.

To say she’s busy with a 50-plus-hour work week might be an understatement.

The balance Smith keeps is “about as good as I’ve seen,” Doug Katona, her new, full-time coach as of August, says.

“That balance makes her a better athlete because she has to structure and organize herself,” he explains.

Smith can compartmentalize well, Katona says. So when she hits his prescribed workouts, she gives them 100 percent.

“Every minute of every workout means a lot to her,” he continues.

Another Year, Another Coach

Smith started working with Katona in the year of training leading up to this year’s Games, where she placed 21st. Previously Brian MacKenzie — who, with Katona, heads up CrossFit Endurance — was Smith’s full-time coach. When she visited MacKenzie in southern California, she stayed at Katona’s house.

“I got to know her. We talked about strength, weaknesses, technique,” Katona says. “We talked about the Games, strategy and how she was going to move better.”

Likewise, he had opportunities to coach her alongside MacKenzie. Now, Smith is no longer working with MacKenzie.

The 29-year-old says she chose Katona for a couple of reasons.

“Over the past year, we built a strong relationship,” Smith says. “Doug was able to watch me progress over the past year. He knows my strengths and he knows my weaknesses. This offers me a peace of mind.”

Also, Katona understands the balance Smith is trying to maintain with her personal and work-related responsibilities.

“I realize programming around my schedule is not an easy job,” the Central East athlete says.

Smith sometimes trains at Rogue Fitness, at her work place — the Columbus School for Girls — and in her driveway. She is unaffiliated and doesn’t have a gym inside her Ohio home.

“That is a little bit rare, but Doug gets it,” Smith says. “He understands my passions and individualizes my programming to help me maintain balance while continually moving forward. He also knows how bad I want to maximize my potential as an athlete.”

Smith, formerly of CrossFit Central in Texas, says she also greatly values Katona’s organization, dependability and communication skills.

Plus, she adds, Katona instills confidence in her.

“He believes in me and his ability to make me better,” Smith says. “This is incredibly important and must exist (in) a coach-athlete relationship.”

Smith didn’t immediately enlist Katona as her coach. Shortly after this year’s Games, she started working with Hyperfit USA’s Doug Chapman as her full-time coach. Although she later opted for Katona instead for her daily programming, Smith says she will still seek Chapman’s expertise. Smith and Chapman, who coaches fellow Games athletes Shana Alverson and Julie Foucher, see each other often during weekend Level 1 Seminars.

“He has great insight on helping me correct my movements,” Smith says. “I also plan to attend some of his athlete camps throughout the duration on of the year.”

“A Top 10-Er”

Meanwhile, she’s excited to hear Katona believes she has untapped potential.

“As an athlete, that’s really encouraging for me to hear,” Smith says.

While she has improved as an athlete, “now it’s time for refinement and building her engine a little stronger,” Katona says.

The emphasis will be on skill, technique, movement and midline control and stability.

“We need to make sure that on longer workouts, her engine doesn’t slow down,” Katona explains. “Everybody knows she’s capable of moving heavy loads, but she needs to move heavy loads fast.”

Smith finished fifth in 2009, 12th in 2010 and 16th in 2011.

She chalks up this year’s low finish to “silly stuff.”

“On the O-Course, there was this beam that you couldn’t touch and I touched it. On the med-ball throw, I forgot to touch the footpad three times,” Smith explains. “I did five or six (split snatches) on the wrong foot … before I realized it.”

She adds: “I was joking with my husband that if I go to the Games next year, I’ll have him give me math problems in the middle of the workout (during training).”

In terms of 2013, Katona says Smith has top-10 potential.

“That being said, you never know what’s going to happen when you crack the top 10 at the Games,” he adds. “There are so many intangibles.”

Still, what struck Katona about the athlete profile he had Smith complete is that she said she wants to be in the best shape of her life during next year’s Games.

“If she’s in the best shape of her life, she’s a top 10-er,” Katona says. “We text and email frequently throughout the day (and) I can tell in the tone of a lot of those things that she’s a very driven athlete and she’s not done yet.”