Yesterday I did Carl Paoli’s Free style connection course. Since early on in Crossfit I have always found Carls coaching and videos invaluable, if you follow his progressions before you know it your performing a complex movement well.
Add to this Carl’s infectious fun attitude, he has a layer back playful fun style and a pace of coaching which slows you down makes you want to master the basics then all of a sudden you put it all together and BAM! you’ve got it.
What I learnt
I wanted to take the time today to fully understand and process what I learnt yesterday. If I can understand Carl’s philosophy for coaching then Ill always be able to apply it.
Carl’s course was not just about progressions and tips on how to master his moments. It was teaching his free style connection a general frame work for coaching, moving and living. So I will focus on this today and play with all the movements in the Box this week.
I had several Aha moments during the day. The first one was how to learn or coach any movement.
1. First look at how you currently do that movement.
2. Break it down and find a week point weather thats a technique (most likely), Mobility issue or strength.
3. Break that down into simple elements you can do then create progressions based on this.
4. Master these then retry.
5. Its likely just to be a technique your missing because we are nearly all strong enough to do the movements: single leg squat, muscle up and kipping handstand push up.
Everyone is totally individual so they will have their own best way to do each drill there is no one technique suits all.
All movements are natural, the turkish get up was not invented it is a natural movement if you did 1000 of reps and listened and learned skilfully it is what you would do.
As I am writing this I am having several more aha moments. This in itself is a big one as having read Carl’s book and now met him and now thinking it through it is all beginning to click into place. Carl is like a philosopher for movement and seeks to enlighten you to movement so you can see and play more, drop the rules and what you heard. Movement is like a language each time we learn a new move we now have a larger vocabulary which can then be skilfully applied to other movements. This is what he is trying to achieve through free style connection.
As I coach, the goals is to teach people there are no definite rules or perfect ways of doing things as everyone is unique and because of this we must teach and inspire them to learn about their own body to listen to it to slow down and observe its patterns and tendencies. Help it with its weaknesses by mobility strength and skills.
In the past I have been guilty of like most coaches explaining there is a perfect way to do things, a one size fits all approach.
Structural understanding the basics from Carl
First start with how to stand. Always start each movement here.
Expand your movement vocabulary, by truly understanding these you have the basis of the language of movement:
Joints – Major joints, primary movers, secondary movers, tertiary movers.
Position of joints – Internal & external rotation, flexion, extension, abduction, adduction
Global – Standing, inverted, supine, prone, Holow body ,arch (understand gravity is different on all these also these are just basics master these first. there is infinite possibilities)
Planes of movement – Sagital, frontal, transverse.
Clarify all these in your mind, make them part of the way you think and move and you will be better in the language of movement. With out them your like a tourist with a vocal book constantly having to look up phrases. If you learn the words you don’t need someone else phrases you can make your own movement. Another Aha! Look at someones phrase as how one coach does a muscle up. Its how they say “excuse me kind sir, do you know the way to the library?” but if you know the words you can say what is right for you.
How to apply this to movements:
Each movement starts with a Start, transition and a finish.
The transition position is often where things go wrong. For example with the deadlift or squat its the base of the squat or deadlift where people loose form. So to improve you must find a way to learn this position. This is where progressions come in. You can break down that movement assess what you can do well, at what level can you achieve that shape or position perfectly. Use scaling with bands, blocking, reduced load simplify the position, have a super friend and mobilise. This movement which you can do is your progression, your current level for that movement. Master this and you’ll massively improve your ability to do that movement.
Skills and techniques:
Carl and Daniel also gave and taught us some fantastic progressions for muscle ups, single leg squats and handstand push ups. They clarified what to look for when observing these movements so we can create our own progressions for each individual. ITs going to be great fun playing with these and helping people master them.
I highly recommend Carls book and his course for anyone looking to learn how to move for crossfit or any sport.
Id like to thank Carl, Daniel (a fantastic coach and big lad!) for the fun and inspiration. Also everyone on the course especially Crossfit Thames for organising and letting us use their fantastic Box. If any of you are ever in Cambridge please come and see us.
Here is some links: