Rookie Mind.

I kept thinking about the Kaizen methodology last night.

While sitting around the gym watching the facial expressions of our athletes, each coach was dispersing some sort of back squatting tutorial: bracing, breathing, timing, mindset, compensatory acceleration, cueing strategies, hand placements, vision, spotting, tempo, etc. And the ideas from each coach, for each class, could not have been more different. However, what was the same across the board was the concept of education–and bringing a little more complexity to the back squat in order to advance it, regardless of training age, knowledge or skill level.

“Kaizen,” taken from the Japanese word for improvement, change for the better, or continuous improvement, has evolved since the 1950s into a business strategy of making small, but continuous changes for the better in company operations.*Applicably, it was impressive to notice the way athletes paused for a moment to absorb the sinking-in of new information: to re-evaluate what they knew (or didn’t know) and how they might advance. The learning environment was rich with content, and it was noticeably surrounded by enthusiasm.

We’ve all been in a circumstance where someone “thought they knew everything,” or where they were closed off to a new idea due to their ego. In contrast, the environment at Defined fosters development: a Kaizen approach, perhaps. And moreover, while it starts here, it transfers far beyond the box.

Coach David
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*Direct quote from https://www.sixsigmadaily.com/defining-kaizen-the-methodology-and-applications/)

Picking Teammates

I asked a few people the other day how they choose training partners. All of their answers were a bit different, but equally excellent. Here’s what they said:

Response #1 – “Class time determines who I pick. At 5:00 pm or 6:00 pm, I usually find someone at a similar skill level to share a barbell. Keeping the coaches in mind, I do this to be efficient with equipment. Outside of those times, I’ll work with anyone because I remember what it was like to be the new person.”

Response #2 – “I never come in with a pre-picked partner. But when selecting a teammate for the hour, I like to find the best person in the room. Why not work with someone that I can emulate? I can learn a lot by just watching someone with better technique than me.”

Response #3 – “I pick my friends. Oddly enough, I knew none of them when I joined the gym six months ago. We all met at Defined. Now we hang out inside and outside of the gym. Which is pretty cool because I am new to Chicago. The gym has introduced me to some truly wonderful people.”

So, how do you pick teammates? Do you look for similar skill levels? Do you shy away from some of the “big hitters” out of nervousness? Or do you seek out the new athlete to welcome him/her to our home? Do you engage with new people on the training floor? Most importantly, do you actively bring good vibes to the gymnasium?

If you always do the same thing, I challenge you to shake it up a bit. Introduce yourself to the most recent On-Ramp graduate and be a role-model. It will elevate your game. I promise.

Coach David

Training Vs. Testing

Training vs. Testing

By Kevin Agbulos

As a coach—and athlete—I always look forward to testing: the act of achieving PRs, or personal records. [Read more…]