Everything I write here on topics will be off the cuff, no research books, no referencing or boring material that will make you feel like you are back at school (and make me sound really clever) just discussion on points I have learnt from hands-on practical experience.
Remote coaching is quite a new initiative, but something that definitely has its place for athletes looking for an individualised approach to help them develop at their chosen sport. This is something I learnt years ago in football when I moved back to Jersey from UK, where the standard of coaching was way below par, and thus so were their training methods.
I would turn up for ‘team training’ during the ‘in-season’ on a training night (of which there was only 2 x per week) and be told we were going for a 5 mile run….why the fuck would I do that? I was a striker, my attributues generally consisted of acceleration, sprinting over 5-30m, being explosive, COD, having quick feet/movement, yada, yada, why would i want to jog for 5 miles, how will my game improve here?
Lets say this was an active recovery session from a game/intense period then I would be in, but this is chosen on the foundation that this will help me build aerobic capacity…on one of my two main ‘football training’ nights…therefore will aid my ‘fitness’ for a 90 minute football match…Fuck Off! I basically said in front of the team that I was sacking this off, and told the manager that instead I would be working on some Sprint/Speed/Agility work & Repeat Sprint Conditioning on my own…see ya!
The point of the story is I individualised my training based on a) the quality of the program at my disposal b) what would be beneficial for MY position c) what was going to improve MY needs and achieve MY goals in football.
Now the downside to this is I was in charge of myself. So when you have a remote coach imagine how beneficial it is to have someone who is respected, qualified and experienced at your chosen sport giving YOU 100% undivided attention. How much better would my workout that day been if I had a program ready tailored for me, one that I could share thoughts, results, videos, anything that would enable feedback to help my game further? Not only would the program have been progressive and periodised as well, I could of visibly see my performance improvements week upon week.
In my view anyone who follows a generic program/training pattern will only get so far in their sport. When it comes to CrossFit life gets even more complex. The moves that must be learnt, the fine-tuning of lifts or gymnastics, the concurrent nature of training fitness attributes, trying to train so many elements without negatively affecting others. Let me ask you…how do you build so much strength when your testing yourself through insane WOD’s everyday and burning out your CNS? Ill answer….your not!
In addition, what if YOU need to work on one specific skill, what if this never comes up in your group training or the stimulus and minutes spent in this skill is so low that it would take you years to get it to a half-decent level. Are you in a position, or hold enough knowledge of programming and planning, to then go of your own devices…and do you know the right progressions/technical elements that you need to be working on if you do go solo? These are all important questions to ask yourself as this is exactly where people slip up, put hard work into training with no focus or thought, and find themselves demotivated and moaning to the world.
Here is one of my remote clients Lee who wants to develop his skills in CrossFit, and was coming from an endurance background. The great thing about Lee he follows the program to the book, he is determined to learn, he knows what needs to be done, and he knows it will be a long journey. This sample session below has specific attention to his need to develop strength in double-leg activities, improve stability/strength on the rings, whilst at the same time working on technique drills for muscle ups. When we transition into full muscle-ups he will have the strength necessary, he would have built up volume/reps in various phases of the movement, and will just be a case for the brain to synchronise and co-ordinate all this together. Give it a few weeks and he will be hitting out muscle ups for fun, just because he prepared and trained the movement in the right way, rather than just jump to the rings and hope for the best. We finish this session with some Alactic Endurance work (which has built up over several months), as when we did an assessment period Anaerobic Alactic Power was a huge weakness due to his background, and something that needed to be built upon if he was to improve in high power movements in CrossFit. The red text is where Lee gives me feedback each day so I can see if we are heading in the right direction.
A) Front Squat: 22X1; 4-4-2-2; 2:00 *only the last set should feel heavy
60kg x 4 70kg x 4 80kg x 2 90kg x 2
B) Weighted Ring Dip: 20X1; 4-4-2-2; 2:00
4 X 20kg 4 X 20kg 2 X 20kg 2 20kg
C) False Grip Ring Pull-Up: 31X0; 4-4-2-2; 0:90
4-4-2-2 with tempo : -)
D) Muscle Up Transition: 5 x 5; rest as needed between sets
5-5-5-4 purple band 3 red band will start with red band then drop to purple.
E) Bike Sprints: 0:15 X 10 @ 96% effort; 2:15rest *record avg watts/set. Begin from complete stop. Rest 5:00 between sets 5 and 6.
I can honestly say that because I have completely individualised his training to him that he has progressed more in the last 4 months than I have witnessed some people progress in years. This is not because group training is crap, or the group coach you have is crap, or the group programming is crap, but its because group training as a whole is not designed for one individual, it is generic, it has to cater for a variety of levels of athletes, and because of that there is a cost in each persons potential. But this is only if you really want it…the thing is to really develop at something you have to put the hours in of practice ON YOUR OWN…now whether you do that following your own programming or via an experienced coach is your choice.
However, it must be stated that what you DO NOT get in an individualised world is the competitiveness and camaraderie that you obtain from group training, the ‘fun’ side of what it is you love about your sport. No-one wants to take that away from an athlete, as otherwise its just training, training and training with no end product or no enjoyment as you pursue your goals. I understand that…it is also vital and has its place, and again will come down to the individual. Do you need to train with others in order to thrive? Do you need to take a step-back and spend some solo time on a fitness attribute that is holding you back? Do you participate in your sport as an individual or team? Do you NEED a kick up the ass and someone to be answerable to in order just to get you motivated? Everyone has to be individually assessed in order to establish what is the priority for each person.
Remote coaching is something I am passionate about. I have one myself, and its a great feeling being given undivided attention into your day-to-day training. Showing videos of my lifts, my gymnastics, results of workouts, and getting constant feedback to help improve these elements is awesome. I am currently on the OPEX Complete Coaches Program and has given me all the tools to offer this service to people in Jersey. To become an OPEX coach you have to have a solid foundation of knowledge, there is only a handful that are fuly qualfied in the UK. Im grateful to be able to provide and implement what I have learnt from this to local athletes and our members at Jersey CrossFit.
If you have any queries just ping me an email or check out this for more info