When we talk about skill acquisition in CrossFit, we often think about things like “getting a muscle-up” or “improving double-under technique.”
These are all important aspects of improving your abilities in the sport, but there’s a huge difference between simply improving movement quality and improving the ability to do high repetitions when fatigued.
So, how do more standard models of skill acquisition apply to getting better at skills in CrossFit? How do we differentiate between the information related to improving skills in areas like music performance and chess to improving in individual sports like CrossFit?
Check out the full conversation with Jon, Luke and Todd to learn:
- Why we can’t take concepts of skill acquisition developed for sports where you have an adversary (like soccer or basketball) or pursuits where the goal is flawless reproduction of a passage of music (like in classical performance) and apply them to a sport like CrossFit
- How to think about how much improvement can be expected with improved technique – and how to set athletes up for success with their technique in the long term
Listen below – or on the podcast player of your choice.
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- [0:16] The concept of skill acquisition in sport can mean different things depending on the characteristics of the sport. What does it mean in a sport like soccer or basketball where you have an adversary trying to stop or outwit you? What does it mean in individual sports like running or powerlifting? What does it mean in non-sporting scenarios like chess, music or computer programming? And, how do we differentiate between skills that can be learned vs “physical capacity?”
- [11:26] Learning to react against others and execute on complex motor patterns when being “defended” or “attacked” is not the same thing as being able to have good technique under fatigue. And, in CrossFit, technique is usually not the separator between athletes. However, technique still matters – so how can we develop athletes from the start to have good technique?
- [18:33] Will there come a point where we’ve started to see the maximum physical potential of CrossFit athletes so there’s no longer as much “surprise” in CrossFit Games events? Will the sport still be as exciting when people aren’t obviously getting better every single year?
Links, Resources and People Mentioned:
- “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World” by David Epstein
- Tiger Woods
- Roger Federer
- 10,000 Hour Rule
- K. Anders Ericsson
- “The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance” by David Epstein
- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
- International Functional Fitness Federation (IF3)