CrossFit Open 15.3
50 wall balls
In part 2 of our discussion about the article below I’d like to give my two cents on her statements about multi-sport athletes in high school and basically show her that she could not be more wrong.
I’m going to do this by adding in my comments about her statements in bold italics for ease of reading.
The Death Of Sports: How Competitions Like CrossFit Are Weakening America
The straying of Generation-Y and Millennials from defensive and zero-sum games presents a weakness that bleeds into other aspects of modern society. Generation-Y and Millennials are presented with so many options that they are unable to make a decision. Ask any high school coach his opinion on multi-sport athletes.
With very few exceptions, you can only be average when your focus is divided across three sports. You can only excel when you focus on one with prescribed strength and conditioning.
WRONG – In fact, the opposite is what we tend to see to be true. Just off the top of my head we can talk about LeBron James, played football and basketball in high school, I’d say he’s above average. Michael Jordan, baseball and basketball; Jameis Winston, the likely 1st pick in the upcoming NFL draft also played baseball at Florida State. The list goes on. In fact, even Urban Meyer, head coach of the National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes prefers to recruit multi sport athletes. He prefers it so much in fact that 42 of the 47 athletes he recruited this year played multiple sports in High School. These are likely not average athletes either.
But parents want their children to earn sports scholarships to expensive colleges. Basketball only allows five players on the court at once. Baseball only allows nine at a time. Football allows the most and often receives higher funding and participation in public schools, depending on the district and its history.
Many parents and their children hedge their bets, play three sports and hope for a scholarship in one. Chances of a scholarship for the truly gifted and deserving athlete would be much higher if he focused on just one sport.
OR, they improve their childs chances to develop a well rounded athletic capacity that would lend itself well to many sports, while at the same time fending off repetitive use injuries and general burn-out often associated with year round single sport athletes.
CrossFit does the same for the young adult. Rather than pick one discipline, or even rotate them seasonally, they try to do ten things at once. You cannot perform optimally at all ten domains concurrently. They use different energy systems and you cannot have your best performance in all, together.
You cannot be both the strongest (measured by maximal effort/weight lifted and fueled by the ATP-CP system) and have the most endurance (measured by time in a distance run/row/bike/swim and fueled by the oxidative system). Practically speaking, you cannot compete in a power lifting meet one week and a triathlon the next and expect to win at both.
As usual, the author completely misunderstands the goals we put forth as CrossFit trainers. In fact, I completely agree with her statement here, it’s practically part of our mission statement. To be the BEST in any one physical capacity means you’re near the WORST in a host of others. That’s not what we want. We want to help CrossFit athletes to develop a general physical preparedness that would lend itself well to any and all tasks life might demand of them. It doesn’t do football players any good to the the strongest either, they also have to be quick and fast. Likewise basketball players can’t just have the most endurance, they also have to cut and run in short bursts of sprinting.
These trends have now hit our most impressionable group of young movers. Many youth sports leagues no longer keep score. Everyone receives a high five and certificate of participation. There are no winners and losers.
We learn through losing. We excel through specializing. Losing does not mean we are done playing. It means we figure out what went wrong and innovate to do better next time. Specializing does not mean that we do not share information for systemic improvements. It means we take the necessary time to learn something in detail so we can explain it to someone else and make more informed decisions.
Today, we see large turnovers in employees. Despite the unemployment rate, Generation-Y and Millennials, compared with earlier generations, are more likely to leave their jobs if they’re not happy, even if another offer isn’t immediately available.
So what does all this mean? We are overwhelmed with options and unable to make decisions. We think more about the present than long term and we play heavily on our emotions. We want to feel good now, rather than risk and learn more, later.
We are missing out on learning some of the greatest lessons of life through sports. Sports are the safest ways to learn at a young age. Kids do not have to risk food, shelter, or family to take a risk. Everything, but the lessons learned, are left on the playing field. The lessons are limitless, but include:
-Learning to be adaptable
-Working as a member of a team
-Separation of personal life from task at hand
-Learning the relationship between leaders and followers
-Performing under pressure
-Responding to loss
-Understanding that yelling will result in being kicked out of the game
-Having the ability to shake hands, win or lose
Parents, tell your toddlers’ coaches to keep score and teach your youngest children the lesson of loss. Encourage your high school athletes to pick one sport by their junior year. Allow them to play pickup games of the others, but to focus on getting really good at one before they graduate. As for CrossFit, just leave it alone. It’s a trend and its fire will burn out on its own.
Yes, teach them to keep score, and teach them how many different sports keep score in many different ways. As a former tennis coach I can tell you that some sports scoring systems work differently than others. Encourage them to play as many sports as they can for as long as they can. It will only serve to foster an appreciation for physical activity and a well-roundedness that is often lacking in today’s youth. AND, have them do CrossFit so that they can build an underlying physical competency that will allow them to be successful at whatever life or sport might throw at them.