Offense vs. Defense
I’m an analogy guy. It is how things make sense to me when life gets confusing. I grew up playing a lot of sports (and now through CrossFit) so many of the lessons learned through those experiences reflect in my coaching. This is one of them that helped someone a lot recently so it is worth sharing again. Maybe it can help you out too…
Most of the folks who have been a member over 4 months or so are sure to have heard a rant to effect of, “Suck it up. Get the *#^@ back down on the floor. Now get up. Keep moving. Try harder. You don’t always get to play offense!” This lesson was engrained in me very early on as I was always one of the slower, smaller, less athletic kids competing on grit and determination. Any advantage I could gain I would exploit it trying to win and I worked hard enough to make sure than happened more often than not.
So, in CrossFit, particularly when you are starting out you need to accept the balance that life has in store for you. First, you will be dealt a healthy dose of ego check in the form of our programs. A WOD that you thought you would crush takes a turn and has you questioning your reality. CrossFit has a funny way of letting you know that you aren’t quite as well-rounded and special as you thought you were before you walked in those doors and there is always a lot of room to improve. Anyone can learn to play defense. It is simple. It isn’t easy. The alternative is quitting. Don’t quit. Learn to play good defense and it creates more offense.
Offense is when you get to have the ball on your side in sports. It is when you score. It is when people notice you and say nice things. It is when you get up the nerve to ask that girl out and she says yes. It is when you get that job you worked so hard for and you know you deserve. It is when you PR in the gym and it is when you have prepared and things go as planned. Better than anticipated even some times. Most importantly offense is fun and it isn’t defense! It is why we do things.
Defense is when the other team gets their chance to score. It is when you get knocked down. It is when your job is to stop the bleeding. It is when your mindset matters most and things seem to take forever. It is when life gets inconvenient. You get overlooked. You get blown off and get a dozen “NO’s”. You get all red lights and feel like everything is moving faster than you. You don’t get to PR that day and you even take a step backwards. It happens, I promise and if it hasn’t happened yet, it will.
In terms of our training, enjoy the days you are on offense. When you feel great, you are eating well, getting great sleep, and are all warmed up and ready to roll. That’s when you go for it knowing at any point things could turn to playing defense but you are prepared. Offense is the most fun and the odds are in your favor so push… and push hard! PR’s are rolling constantly when you are “on offense.”
Defense, well, that’s the other side of things. It is when you punch the clock. It is when your 90% squat for a set of 3 feels like it is taking you 3 colossal PR efforts and every burpee feels like you can’t get up. You are tired, stressed, the wheels are coming off, you are missing reps and your neighbor is clearly playing offense. This is when you get to see what you are made of. Are you tough enough to not quit? Can you push when you know it probably will suck worse? Can you cheer for others and still be proud of your effort? Can you still show up when you know a day will be defensive? Can you handle failures maturely? … There are times when defense flips to offense unsuspectingly as well! Did you give yourself a chance and take a shot… you should. You won’t regret playing “good defense” and you’ll earn yourself the right to play more on offense and you’ll cherish it more! The universe rewards good, smart defense and if you’ve played enough of it you know what I mean.
Thursday – Show up. Be great on offense. Be tough on defense. They both mean you showed up and they both mean you threw your hat in the ring… when that’s your mindset the WOD won’t matter.