Listening – a valuable CrossFit skill

When 09's a rocking, you got to work a little harder on the listening skills.....

When 09's a rocking, you got to work a little harder on the listening skills.....

As we move another day into our baseline testing, I thought a replay of this post from last year was a good idea.  We know it's got to be tough dragging your butts in here before sunrise, or dragging them in here after a long day of stressful work.  It's awesome that you choose to spend what little free time you have with us.

You can be a zombie on a machine, but not with free weights....

You can be a zombie on a machine, but not with free weights....

We take that responsibility seriously, and want you to get the most out of your training session.  But you can't switch off completely.  You're lifting heavy weight overhead and near other people, and performing complex, dynamic movements; these can't be done on autopilot.

Listening and observing can be passive activities—in one ear and out the other, as our mums used to say. Or they can be active, focused experiences that lead to serious learning.

The difference lies in our intention: the purpose and awareness with which we approach the occasion.

You know what I'm talking about don't you?

The workout brief.

We pride ourselves on giving you more than just a workout.  We want you to learn how to move more effectively and perhaps more importantly, why we we do what we do, and the way it all ties together.

It's incredible how often we hear from visiting CrossFitters, or from our own members who visit other affiliates, that an explanation of the workout, what it will target, how it will feel, strategies on how to tackle it, and technique/skill work to prepare you for it, is actually quite unusual.    My theory is that while there may be some coaches that are not educated enough to do this, that this is a minority.   It's actually more likely that they are simply not committed enough to continually reinforce the basics, especially when faced with disinterested, grumbly or self-appointed elite athlete clients.

We're lucky not to have many of those, most of the time, we're just trying to forge ahead through the excited, weekend catch up, gossip....

That's right, we notice you at the back of the group, chatting away like a school kid.  If you're not too noisy, we'll probably leave you to it (because you're NOT a school kid, you make your own choices now).  Just please try not to disturb the brief, and be sure the person you're chatting to, isn't quietly wishing you'd shut the heck up, so that they can actually do some learning.......

Apparently, the way we learn a second language shows that effective listening involves more than simply hearing the words. Instead, it’s an active process of interpreting information and making meaning. Studies of skilled language learners have identified specific listening strategies that lead to better comprehension. 

Skilled learners go into a listening session with a sense of what they want to get out of it. They set a goal for their listening, and they even generate predictions about what the speaker will say. Before the talking begins, they mentally review what they already know about the subject, and form an intention to “listen out for” what’s important or relevant.

Once they begin listening, these learners maintain their focus; if their attention wanders, they bring it back to the words being spoken. They don’t allow themselves to be thrown off by confusing or unfamiliar details. Instead, they take note of what they don’t understand and make inferences about what those things might mean, based on other clues available to them: their previous knowledge of the subject, the context of the talk, etc.

All the while, skilled learners are evaluating what they’re hearing and their own understanding of it. They’re checking against their own knowledge to see if they’re correct, and coming up with questions, so they can check the answers later.

How about the movement demos?  Are you sick of seeing the break down of a pushpress for the hundredth time??

Well it's obvious that we learn by doing. But we also learn by watching.  Observation accelerates the learning process because our brains are able to map others’ actions onto our own mental representations, making them more detailed and more accurate.

In a 2009 study, researchers asked participants to rehearse a dance sequence set to a music video.

For five days they practiced the routine; on each day they also watched a different dance sequence without trying it out for themselves. The subjects’ brains were scanned using fMRI before and after the five-day period.

The second round of scans revealed that the dancers’ action observation networks showed similar patterns of activation as they watched both videos—the one with a dance sequence they had practiced, and the one with a dance sequence they had simply watched.  That's right they got better just by watching the movements, rather than practicing them!

So skills no longer just mean handstand pushups and triple unders, listening and watching count too.... :)


Hang Power Snatch 3RM (10mins)

2km Row

Optional Finisher

50m FR Carry

10-15 Weighted Situp

3 x


Snatch 1RM


2km Row

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