Judge versus Coach
Your trainers have two critical but different roles to play during your training: Judge and Coach.
Every movement has at least two points that define a completed repetition. Let’s call them “Point A” and “Point B.” The judge’s only job is to determine whether the athlete has moved between these points and subsequently whether he or she will be given credit for the repetition. For example, in the squat, “Point A” is standing tall, hips fully open. “Point B” is squatting with the crease of the hip below the top of the knees. The athlete can move between “Point A’ and “Point B” with awful form (e.g. rocking forward on the toes, knees touching on another, back rounded) or for that matter do a back flip but as long as the athlete goes between these two points- the rep counts.
However, a good coach will cue this athlete to fix those faults so that the athlete reduces his or her chance of injury, moves more efficiently and as a result, gets more valid reps counted by their judge. Whereas your judge doesn’t care how well you move, your coach most certainly does.
At competitions, like the CrossFit Open, every athlete has a dedicated, watchful judge who measures the athletes’ performances against the standard. During daily WODs, you are your own judge. It’s up to you to accurately assess and count your reps. Your CrossFit trainer serves as a “head judge” and will call you out when they see you are (unintentionally, of course) failing to meet the standard, but supervision of every single rep- that’s your job.
While even the most experienced and accomplished athlete benefits from having a coach watch them move, your ability to assess your own movement from the perspective of your coach should be increasing every time your train. Analyze yourself: Can you wiggle your toes on at the bottom of your air squat? Is your chest up? Are your knees tracking over your toes?
Sometimes, beginning CrossFitters confuse these two roles. They think that an athlete who is not moving beautifully should also be given a “no-rep.” The fact is a poorly moving athlete doesn’t need to be “no-repped” by their judge. They are in essence “no-repping” themselves by missing out on efficient movement. Of course, their coach should stop them before they hurt themselves.
More often, CrossFitters only care about the judging and not the coaching. They think the only thing that matters is the score or the time (google “clock whore”). In other words, they fail to listen to their coaches’ advice because it will slow them down in the short term. They fail to see that implementing the feedback from their coaches will improve performance in the long term.
If you don’t understand the difference between failure to meet the movement standard and a fault in movement, don’t hesitate to ask your Firebird CrossFit trainer. That’s what they’re there for!