USAW Olympic Certification Course Level 1 Review…

Recently, I took the USAW Olympic Certification Course Level 1.  For my own personal edification.

My one take away:  I wish I would have started with Olympic lifting before CrossFit.

The course was amazing.  I had amazing trainers who know their stuff.  I got good, honest feedback on my moves.  I learned how to properly teach the clean and jerk and the snatch and their progressions.  And I learned about the sport, which before I had not known much at all.

Honestly, I left mad.  Mad at myself for not doing this sooner.  Mad at myself for not getting educated before I started CrossFit.  Mad how I have to start from scratch to learn proper technique in some regards.svetlana_podobedova_2012c

I also left grateful.  Grateful I now know my kids need to do Olympic lifting before CrossFit.  I need to find a coach who knows what he or she is doing.  And now I know if the coach knows what he or she is doing.

One of Oprah’s sayings I never forget is:  when you know better, you do better.  Well, now I know.  And better I shall do.

The Coach is the Thing…

I’m disappointed in myself.


I’m still working my way through Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe (see review HERE), and I’m learning things I was never taught by my coaches at my box.  Things I never knew that has revolutionized how I’m going to approach lifts in the future.

I’m a perpetual learner and researcher.  When I first began CrossFit, I’d look up every move on the Internet and study it.  I’d practice the moves at home before I went to the box.  I’d read articles.

But I’ve never read a book on strength training and I don’t know why.  In fact, it was my husband who ordered this book and it’s been lying around my house for 6 months until I ran out of books to read and not wanting to spend any money on any more books I picked this one up.

For the past 10 months, I’ve been in my box’s coaches development program (which I have since completed).  It entailed shadowing classes for 60 hours and watching the coaches coach and the athletes train.  I’ve learned a lot from doing this.  I’ve watched others do toes-to-bar, and I learned how to do them.  I’ve learned that in the middle of a WOD most everyone’s form sucks because of the hurry to finish the reps.  I can now spot faults and tell you why you’re doing them.  However, this all pales to what I’m learning from this book.

Maybe my mind wasn’t ready for it.  Taking my L1 CrossFit certification when I was brand new to CrossFit probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had.  I would have gained a lot more waiting.  This is my logic for this book right now.  It all makes sense to me probably because I do have the background of having done these moves.  However, that doesn’t erase the fact I wish I would have read this sooner in order to improve my personal lifts.

Most coaches at boxes do the best they can.  Some are good.  Some are terrible.  Some care.  Some don’t and are just there for a paycheck or free membership.  Most learn through a weekend course where you don’t really learn anything and through shadowing, watching, and giving cues themselves.  This in no way substitutes for professional coaches who have been trained how to properly coach Olympic moves. Most haven’t.  It takes years of learning and practice to become proficient at spotting nuances in others’ moves and giving the right cues that will click with each individual. You need one on one attention to get better.  And in a class of 20 people that’s never going to happen.

So take the initiative and do it on your own.  Search out the quality, professional coaches and learn from them.  Perpetually learn and read and study and put into practice what you learn. With CrossFit, you’re never an expert.  There’s always a weakness to work on. It’s what attracts so many people to the sport.  Never boring.  Always different.  Always challenging.

Once I get past the disappointment, I’m excited.  Excited to improve my form, my lifts, and my PR’s.  Excited to do it right the first time and every time thereafter.  I’ll have to take a step back in order to move forward but that’s ok.  That’s what learning is all about:  doing something better when you know better.