I would be lying if I said I never had a poor reaction to a coach’s critique during a WOD. There have been a number of times when a coach (poor Mikey) has given me a friendly reminder, a correction, or a cue in the middle of a workout and I reacted badly. When he has reminded me to fix my shallow wall ball or stand up my box jumps all the way, I have responded with an evil side-eye, an excuse, or sometimes a snippy remark. Not my proudest moments.
It is understandable that we feel frustration or anger when a coach corrects us mid-WOD. During workouts we are vulnerable: we are suffering, breathing heavily, and preoccupied by fatigue. And just at the moment when we are trying not to die, someone tells us we aren't moving to standard or that we are moving poorly. So in addition to physical pain, we have a bruised ego to contend with. We have thoughts like Isn’t what I’m doing enough? Can’t you just leave me alone and let me suffer in peace?
But who are we if we aren't coachable? Being coachable is an integral quality in CrossFit and (you guessed it) in life. Being coachable means that even in our most vulnerable moments we accept that we can be better, graciously take the help others are offering to us, and hold ourselves to standards that are better than just mediocre. It means that we put safety before ego and that we welcome growth. When we ignore, disregard, or challenge a critique that is meant to make us better we are shorting ourselves quality of experience and the potential to change. We are telling our bodies that we prefer speed or the weight on the barbell to safety and virtuosity of movement.
Decades of fitness begins with mindfulness in our movement, taking critique graciously, and holding ourselves to high standards every day. Our coaches are here to help us with all of that. It is a team effort to make sure we are healthy enough not just for tomorrow’s WOD, but for a lifetime.