Authenticity AND Authority

By Coach Nathan

Alright tribe, this time instead of dazzling you with science, I’m going to get more real than vO2 max.  So here’s the thing, I’m weird.  Now I know that many of you are shocked right now and all of my awkward comments about eye contact, my stories, and good lord those frog pumps probably have your head swimming, but let’s be honest, you’ve known this for a while now…but maybe haven’t said the word out loud.  Weird. I like to think that it’s just another way of saying something is authentic.  I believe that CrossFit is as real as it gets – let me explain.  I don’t mean that it’s measurable, which it is.  I don’t mean that it’s effective, but it is.  I don’t mean that it’s scalable for anyone, which again it is.  What I mean in this context, and here we’re getting a little weird, is that toward minute 16 of a 20 minute AMRAP you can literally see into someone’s soul.  You know what I mean: during 18.1, the person you were judging crossed over into the spirit world and the entire fabric of their character was laid bare.  Our eyes glazed over, open wide but not seeing anything, our bodies were moving on their own, the movements cemented into our subconscious mind that was forcing the body onward.  We suffered, we hurt, we finished and then went on to cheer for our box mates.  To do this you have to be real, which coincidentally, is another way of saying something is authentic.

It’s likely that I’ve coached many of you at least once.  My movement explanations and jokes are so smooth that it may lead you to believe that I’ve spent a great deal of time on my routine.  It’s really only half true.  I do spend time looking over new movements before I try to explain them but the way it falls out of my mouth is completely a product of instinct.  It’s purely reflexive for me to add some extra flavor.  It’s quirky, another sign of authenticity I might add, but it’s all an honest product of my personality and the way that I understand things.  I’m smart enough to know that very few people are wired the way I am which leads me to my methods of explanation.  I might use a sound effect instead of a verbal que, it’s going to be goofy but the better the reaction to when I say “your butt goes back first during the squat” and during the demo I say “bing” when I stick my butt back to begin the squat, I feel more confident that I’ve communicated as effectively as I am able.  Honestly if when you read “bing” you stuck you butt back let me know.

While coaching I’ve been asked questions that I didn’t know the answer to, I’ve struggled through demonstrations, the Burgener warm up chronically.  When that happens I go back and research, I try to find the answers to the questions, I try to analyze my failure and take measures to prevent those same mistakes from happening again though I find new and inventive ways to make even more exciting mistakes.  I’m still learning and I love it!  I love that CrossFit is constantly changing, new movements, new loading schemes, new warm ups!  It’s fantastic!

I am grateful that I have the opportunity to get weird in front of a group of my box family a couple of nights each week.  That didn’t exactly sound PG13…but you all know what I meant and that’s just my way.  I hope that my choice to not take myself too seriously doesn’t lead anyone to believe that I don’t take coaching seriously.  I certainly do.  I’m going to do everything that I can to make sure that my “authenticity “ translates into authority.  Not like a tyrannical dictator but like someone who knows an awful lot about what they’re talking about.  See you at the box!


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