For those of you that were unaware, I'm a teacher. I teach high school English to mostly seniors. Moreover, mostly really smart seniors. But this semester I my schedule changed a bit and rather than the Advanced Placement class (which I'll teach again in the Spring), I'm teaching an ACT Prep class. Specifically, I'm teaching kids with a wide range of ACT scores and I'm only working with them on the English portion of the test.
You can imagine the excitement when kids enter my class and I spend the entire period on conjunctive adverbs and faulty or illogical conclusions. Heck, this week I spent two days on the comma.The freakin' COMMA! And to quote Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting, "I teach the $hit, I didn't say I know how to do it," for those of you now inspecting my use of punctuation throughout the rest of the post.
But I'm noticing a parallel between my students and my athletes at the gym and it's worth bringing up. When my kids showed up and saw that I was spending an entire class period on the comma, or when we talk about subject/verb agreement, or any time we discuss things they should have learned in elementary or middle school, they just sort of tune out. The prevailing thought is easy to recognize, Oh, I know this. This is easy stuff. I don't need to really pay attention here.
A lot of times we get to the gym and see the WOD on the screen and see things with which we are readily familiar. Hell, we see movements and skip right over them thinking, Oh, this part'll be easy. I can make up some time here on the squats or here lunges.
Point is, we treat certain movements like commas. We discount the need to think about them or focus on them because they're basic, because they're familiar, because we think they're easy. And we couldn't be further from the truth. A WOD might include pushups and squats and any coach at any class can walk through and see chests not hitting the deck and asses above knees. We should have learned and mastered these things long ago, but after a bit, we quit paying attention to them. When the coach starts to go over the squat during the workout description, most of us see that as a great time to run and fill up our water bottle, or run out to the car to grab a jump rope or to talk to the guy next to you. Because they're squats! Who needs to listen to talk about squats, right? Then people wonder why they struggle with keeping their chests up during a front squat or why they can't get to the bottom of an overhead squat. It's because you didn't take the time to really master the basic air squat when it was introduced earlier. Like the comma, you didn't give it the attention it deserves.
And if you think I'm talking to you, I am. And if you think I'm not talking to you, you're likely wrong. I'm talking to a lot of folks. Beware shallow squatters, half pushupers and muted hip burpeers, your time has come.
Yesterday I gave a kid a practice test in my ACT class and he scored 4 points better than his last one. That's huge. I asked him what was different and said, "Commas Sollars! They're were like 15 or 16 questions that dealt with commas." Master the little stuff. Go back to the basics. You'll be infinitely surprised by how much better the rest of your movements get. Good, luck, to, you, all.
Dustin Sollars - CFN Coach