In Kids

January 23, 2012

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The Games’ first CrossFit Kids Teen Challenge exemplifies what the youth program is all about. Dan Edelman explains.

We are near the end of CrossFit Brand X’s Teen weightlifting class. Fifteen-year-old M. tightens his belt and steps onto the platform. In pursuit of a one-rep max back squat, he has already PR’d, so this 285-lb. attempt is gravy. He positions himself under the bar, lifts it and steps out of the rack. Jeff Martin spots him from behind. M goes for it. Nothing looks right. He is wiggly, buckles and gets buried. To the naked eye, it appears he bit off more than he could chew.

Martin helps him back to the rack. “You want to try again?” he asks as M. undoes his belt. The young man blinks, nods.

A few minutes later, M. belts up, unracks the bar and backs out. Big breath, hips back and down. Rock solid. Boom. M. explodes out of the hole and stands with a huge PR.

“Nice lift,” Martin tells him.

Later, with a nonchalant fist bump, I tell M., “Way to get back under the bar.”

“I knew exactly what I did wrong,” he tells me, smiling, “and how to fix it.”

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2 Comments on “What Can Your Kid Do? Are You Sure?”

1

wrote …

That's a great job once more, Dan, bringing the community up to speed on the depth and breadth of CrossFit Kids' methodology. The 'mastery climate' reminds me of a lesson I learned long ago as an educator: the number one indication of success - in any endeavor, the next WOD, your job, a relationship, etc., is self image, namely whether or not you believe you're up to the task.

Though I was a high school teacher at the time, I did not pick this up in a classroom. Rather, it was during summer break and at a training camp with the Judo team from japan's Tokai University. At the onset, they thrashed us within an inch of our lives, but those of us who didn't quit found ourselves deliriously happy in a few days' time, driving home every day giggling with excitement instead of feeling as sore and beaten up as we probably should have. That's when I realized they had absolutely played us - and magnificently so; they empowered us, teaching us all kinds of new movement and variations in technique. They had us believing that if we could survive the crucible, we could learn anything.

That remains one of my proudest and most enjoyable athletic memories. This is also how we should be formatting the CrossFit experience, especially for kids, whether it's helping a nine year old girl reach the top of a rope for the first time, (a big victory here recently) or letting that 'big dawg' sort out that 285 pound squat.

It's got to be rough; it's got to be brutal to be worth something, but you also give them the concrete skills to achieve their goals, and their belief in themselves just takes off.

2

wrote …

Thanks, Thomas, for the comment. Really appreciate you taking the time to read the article and then adding insight from your own experience.

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