Down with the kids: Can we learn from CrossFit kids?

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Yesterday, I was mid-workout, sweating and cursing my way through bar jumping burpees, as Russell was coaching a group of 3-5 years olds at the other end of the box.

Hungry for any distraction from the sound of my own laboured breathing, I found myself listening to him and the kids.

‘Who wants to learn a burpee?’ he asked, and all the kids were excited by the idea. He coached them through the movement and asked, ‘Was that fun?’

‘Yeah!’ they all replied. Later, post- workout, when the blood stopped pounding through my head, I thought, ‘Wow, there’s something really cool going on there.’

Coaching adults is a world apart. If there has ever been anyone excited to learn a burpee, they certainly wouldn’t call it fun. Yet, here are these little kids jumping, running, getting out of breath and loving it. What happens to us?

A crucial difference that struck me was that the kids are excited to see what they can do – to see what their bodies could be capable of. They aren’t polluted with lots of beliefs about what they can’t do. And they aren’t too fussed about being a beginner trying to get better. They aren’t overly concerned about looking silly. Their approach is full of energy and fascination about what might be possible, rather than assuming that it’s not possible. Gosh, I want a bit of that attitude!

And couldn’t we all do with a bit more of that? It’s different from the cockiness that we usually think of as the opposite to lacking confidence. It’s a simple joy about being active and a curiosity about what might be possible. It’s uncomplicated by preconceived fears about failure, shame or others judging unkindly.

Far from being immature, this child-like outlook is healthy and motivating. Next workout, I’m bringing my childish side.

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