As a gym owner, I’m pretty glad that youth athletics in America haven’t yet ascended to the lofty perch of the Academy. Generally–and sadly, this seems to be changing–we still get that physical fitness in its early years ought to be about health, habit creation, movement, and occasional competition on the playing field…not resume-building at age twelve. There are exceptions, sure. Some kids really are that talented. But most aren’t. Mine probably won’t be, and probably neither will yours. I think we’ll all still live happily ever after even without the draft-viewing parties.
We’ve had a great summer in our kids’ program here at Woodshed. The older kids have been working with more of the stuff you’d recognize (their squats, pulls, and pushes), while the younger kids have been hitting their bodyweight and db/kb work. And everyone runs…most of the time. Our program is very, very general. This is by design. We specialize where we need to, but sometimes specialization is making sure we don’t do the wrong thing. Like the kid who’s slated to play quarterback down the line AND has two brothers who’ve dislocated their shoulders on multiple occasions? We take care of his shoulder.
It’s been a month, so we have a pretty good bead on the kids who are really, really flourishing here. And it’s a pretty interesting exercise to look for some commonalities. I’ve found three of particular note:
1) They use phrases like “going to the gym,” “going to CrossFit,” “had to be at the gym,” and so on. Often. In conversations with me, each other, their parents.
2) They take care of their notebooks. (This does not mean they always remember to bring their notebooks, of course. But they generally keep their records pretty well and carry them around from platform to platform.)
3) They ask me for advice on eating to support what they are doing in here. Or on eating to get giant biceps. With some, it is blessedly harder to discern the root motive.
When we consider that a great number of us have come back to the gym after a period of injury or malaise and are in the process of recreating our athletic selves, it’s not such a stretch to suggest that we might do well to think about the lessons we can learn here from the kids who are at a similar juncture of discovery. The dots are pretty simple to connect if we want to pick up the pencil:
1) Make the gym an appointment. Get in the habit of getting here when you tell yourself you will. Think the bigger picture: getting stronger, going to the gym, getting faster, moving better, reducing pain, getting to Woodshed.
2) Track and guard your progress. Actually, first realize that is the goal–to progress. Then figure out a way to track it so that you can get good at coaxing it out when it doesn’t come as easily.
3) Hear and pay attention to the dialogue between how you eat, sleep, rest, pray, whatever, and how you train in here. The one feeds the other, and the other feeds the one.
Not much more complicated than that. Check it out and rock and roll.
Although…I guess we did forget characteristic #4: something called Snapchat????