This past weekend I had the great fortune to attend a seminar put on by my good friend, John Welbourn and his staff of awesome coaches (Ben & Tex) from Crossfit Football. The seminar itself was an outstanding event, but one of the things that I really appreciated was how they emphasized “the team”. In this case, the team was the class made up of coaches, athletes and former NFL players.
Mutual Accountability is a phrase coined by Vince Lombardi and part of a formula he used to create one of the greatest “teams” to play the game. The theory was simple, make it about the team and not the individual. I got to experience this theory first hand during my time in the Navy and I can honestly tell you that it works. When a common goal is recognized and all efforts are directed at achieving that goal from everyone it truly is amazing what can be accomplished. During the seminar, the emphasis was on holding proper posture and positioning when being challenged with external loads or other stressors. It was up to the group to assist the “students” to achieve flawless execution. During one of the tests John’s coaches observed us as we rotated through the workout.
It was interesting, what is the job of the coach? There are a lot of answers, but one thing I appreciated was the emphasis on safety. That lead to flawless execution and correcting technique until it is flawless. Putting aside ego and bad habits to achieve excellence. It is a lot easier said than done and at the end of the test we found ourselves faced with several failures. While we were briefed there would be consequences it was funny to watch the group as the details of the consequences were explained. Nothing but a little extra PT, but the point was that our failure as a group could have lead to injury or worse. I myself watched one athlete working hard to finish the test, I could see him struggling and form breaking down and while he wasn’t in my group I opted not to say anything to correct his form. Sure, it sucks, nobody likes to be placed in those difficult situations and have to perform to task, but that is the ultimate test of your mettle in my opinion.
On training day two John asked me if I would speak to the group on “margin of error” and how it relates to our training. I was honored to do so and to help these coaches to see it from a different perspective. It may seem obvious, but under low stress or lighter loads we can get away with suboptimal form. Add stress or load and the athlete doesn’t rise to the occasion with excellent form, they default and that can result in a debilitating injury when you get to the heavier loads. Move over to my world and overlooking a detail can result in not just an injury or fatality, but mission failure. And that is where the mutual accountability comes into play (credit kathy). My professional development is to increase my skills and ability that therefor compliments the team’s capacity. Nobody on the team should have to worry about whether I’m strong enough or accurate enough under pressure just as I don’t have to worry about the team. Through structured training that centers around flawless execution achieved through countless repetitions we are not just good, we are flawless.
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