Over the last few months I have really begun to appreciate the value of having a good, no scrap that, having a GREAT coach in your corner. I consider myself very fortunate since I commenced CrossFit to have worked with the most amazing coaches. I know that’s not always the case and I have heard of friends who haven’t had the ideal relationship with their coach and therefore didn’t have the support to go and achieve their goals. I’m also very fortunate to have started training with my running coach because her support has given me a whole new lease of life when it comes to my attitude towards running.
A good coach can be the difference between success & failure. Their ability to connect with you & bring out your best is critical. I like to work hard when I train and enjoy being challenged & pushed. I need to feel like my coach is invested in my goals and outcomes. That we are a team and working together towards a common goal.
Whilst I know that it is through me buckling down and doing the hard work to get to my goals I have realised I simply can’t get there on my own. I need the direction & focus my coach gives me. I need their input and guidance, at times to be a voice of reason when I come up with some wildly concocted goal which may not be realistic. I need their perspective & clarity. But most of all, and perhaps most importantly, I need their belief.
As you read this many of you will possibly snort with disbelief at that last line and think ‘pffft Lisa can do anything’. And well that may be the case that given the right opportunity or environment I can do anything. The thing is I don’t always feel like that. I don’t always see the possibility or the potential. Rightly or wrongly I am quite often guided by the plan put forward by my coaches. In my mind if they say I can do it then I’ll give it a crack, and in fact work my butt off to prove them right.
When you work with a great coach, and you know they have your best interests at heart, you are willing to step up and take the challenge. The beauty of a good coach is one who makes it ok for you to try and risk failure. They make it ok to learn from that, and to be honest in that environment it’s not really failure, just part of the process to develop the requisite skill set to nail it next time.
A prime example was working on my overhead lifts with James 2 weeks ago. Totally failed at the movement he expected me to do. But that moment showed a strength deficiency that he then put in place drills to rectify & is already showing benefits. And I didn’t feel bad or less of a CrossFitter for not being able to do that movement. I simply became focused on the work I had to do in order to improve.
When it comes to running there is no greater void of self belief that exists than that within myself. Battling an entire lifetime of being told you shouldn’t run, you can’t run, you aren’t cut out for it, running is bad for you etc. Every time I put on my shoes to go out on the street I have to push these thoughts to the back of my mind, a conscious effort that in the past I never used to make. I focus on the fact that my coach believes I can run, I do run & I am improving. I don’t question what she asks of me nor the reasons behind the program, I simply do. I borrow her belief in the times I lack my own. I couple of weeks ago I needed to prove to me that I could push myself by myself as it was feeling like the only time I ran well, was with her next to me pushing me along. So quietly I took myself out to do 5k. My first solo run long distance effort. Ok, ok I know to many of you 5k isn’t a long distance, but to me it’s my version of a marathon. I wanted to test the new mental resolve I have found since joining CrossFit, where I am a bit kinder to myself and not punishing myself for the entire run. And I ran, and it was hard. Harder than I thought it would be, showing me my brain isn’t where I thought it was when left to its own devices. But that was ok because I managed it and controlled it enough to get through the run. I finished with an almost 5min PB doing in 34:59:93. Breaking 35m by the barest of margins, but I don’t care what the margin was, I did it.
So many times I have second guessed myself on a weight to use for a workout, every time erring on the side of too light. Not because I am lazy or want the easy option but simply because I can’t see that I could possibly go heavier. My coach will walk past and give me a weight to put on the bar, usually I will give a quizzical ‘you sure?’ and the answer is always ‘yes’. I put the weight on, they come & check my movement and if they’re happy, that’s the number. So many times I’ve still doubted my ability to complete the workout at that weight, with the required intensity. In the back of my mind though I know I have the option if they see me struggling they will knock the weight down. But you know what happens on 100% of the time? I get the workout done, with the weight as is, no failing, no knocking down. I simply just do. At the end I am always surprised by my capacity to do it.
Maybe people will judge me for my attitude regarding the trust & faith I put in these people. That I don’t question I just do. Maybe people will say it’s not the best way to engage in your life or be responsible for your decisions or outcomes. Maybe they will say I’m being lazy or not having the guts to stand on my own 2 feet and push myself.
For me it’s about none of those things. For me it is reflective of the trust I put in their knowledge, skills & experience to guide me to my goals. For me having a good team behind me is like having a sat nav to my goals. I program where I want to be and they come up with a way to get there. If the route doesn’t quite workout to plan then we recalculate and find another way. At the end of the day I’m the one driving the change I want to see in my life. My coaches can come up with all the plans under the sun but I don’t get off my arse and do the work, whether it is hard ugly running drills or boring painful mobility drills. If I don’t turn up ready to go & give 100% in every single session then I’m not going to keep moving towards my goals.
At the end of the day it’s no impact on my coaches life if I do nothing, sure they might feel disappointed for me or even in me, but they will continue to coach others to be successful. The biggest impact if I don’t work to the plans is to me. I’m the one who will have to deal with feeling like a slacker or under achiever. Forever reflecting on what could have or should have, or the million if only’s.
I have been given some unique opportunities in my life over the last couple of years since I embarked on this adventure to change my life & become who I always wanted to be. I have received amazing support from those I trust the most both personally & with my training. A lot of what drives me is not wanting to disappoint those who have invested time, belief & effort into my development. The best way I can repay the borrowed belief is to keep pushing through, working hard and becoming the person they already see me to be.
As this quote says if I believe I can do something, I will acquire the capacity to achieve it. And for me, just because I need to borrow some of that belief doesn’t diminish the achievement