Workout of the Day
Take 12-15 minutes to work up to a heavy, 2-RM Thruster;
and then,
Complete rounds of 9, 6, and 3 reps for time of:
165/110 lb. Thrusters

– OR –

Three rounds for time of:
6 Thrusters (at 80-85% of today’s 2-RM)
12 Pull-Ups

Part of Team Invictus at the MCRD Boot Camp Challenge

The Art of Being a Beginner
Written by Dani DuFrene

I am not athletically inclined.  No joke.  I’m fit, but when it comes to playing sports I am, well . . . challenged. In my defense, I grew up dancing. I never played sports and didn’t even partake in gym class for the greater part of my childhood, because my dance instructors feared I’d get injured. Consequently, I never had a chance to develop my hand eye coordination. To put it bluntly, I’m a fit gal who can’t play a sport.

Recently, I have come to realize how silly it is that I push myself so hard in the gym, but don’t really get to use that fitness. Of course, I appreciate it in my daily life, carrying groceries, taking my dog for a run, changing the water cooler at work. But, beyond those daily chores and tasks I don’t get to enjoy the results of all my hard work. So, I decided that it is never too late to learn and I would set out to conquer tennis or at least be able to play a decent match.

This past weekend while at a tennis clinic, I was reminded of what it felt like to be new, to be a beginner.  I didn’t know the rules, the etiquette and certainly didn’t have the skills or the technique to execute on the drills consistently. I was lucky when I made contact with the ball. It made me realize that how I felt trying to learn to play tennis was very similar to some of the frustrations I hear when I coach. It is that desire to be great, at everything, NOW. The frustration because you don’t have that kipping pull-up or that pistol or that you have to modify almost all of the exercises in a WOD. I get it. I do. But, we are all new, beginners at one point in time and truth be told throughout life we will always find ourselves in situations where we are navigating uncharted territory and therefore, we are a beginner.

In my journey to learning tennis, I have identified some tactics that help ease the frustration of being a beginner.

Technique: The beauty of being a beginner is that you are a blank canvas. You have yet to form any bad habits. Each movement is brand new and you are developing your patterns, your habits right now. This is your opportunity to lay a solid foundation. Learn to execute the movements correctly and with integrity every single time.

Observe: Watch others. On Sunday at the tennis courts, I was watching this young kid and his coach rally. I was in awe at the power, accuracy and ease of their strokes. I noticed how they approached the ball and followed through. And although I am not quite able to articulate those skills in my own game, I am aware. Observing others helps you to see what works and sometimes what doesn’t, so that you can fine tune your own approach.

Practice: What fun would it be if we were good at everything we wanted to be without a little hard work? If you put in the time, you WILL see the results. Pick a skill, a movement and focus on it. Is it that infamous kipping pull-up? Pull a coach aside and ask them to help you. Work the transfer skills. Identify your weakness and make it a priority each day or a few times a week.

Fun: This one is by far the most important. Smile. Have fun and laugh at yourself from time to time. Trust me; I am sure to get in a hardy chuckle when I frolic across the courts, swing with all my might and am feet from hitting the ball. Laugh. You won’t always be in this place, but while you are you might as well have fun and enjoy it.

Recently, CJ shared an article about the difference between difficult/easy and difficult/difficult. Difficult easy is a mundane task. It is difficult because you have to do it and easy because you know exactly what you are doing. Difficult/difficult is when it stretches you, forces you to grow and reach beyond what you thought you were capable of doing. Difficult/difficult is where you reap the greatest rewards. Being a beginner often means you are attempting a difficult/difficult task, but you won’t always be a beginner and it won’t always be difficult, but you will undoubtedly grow.

  • Brent

    Oh, I liked this one. Sub 4 baby.
    Today, squat 7×1: 295-305-315-325-315-315-315. No PR’s but more volume with 300+ than ever b4. then walk w/ 50# vest at incline for approx 30min.

  • Great article Danni! I can attest to what you say about practice…For me to get double-unders I probably spent 3 weeks coming in an hour early working on them every day. Same goes for the rest of the ‘skill’ based movements.

    It’s crazy to think you can just wake up one day and be able to do 10 muscle ups in a row or snatch 100kg. No, you have to work on it, and practice is a great way to get there, along with the great coaching.

  • Thom

    I’ll be following the site and doing the WOD’s with some slight modifications out to sea for the next month or so…

    2RM Thruster: 65lb DB

    Three rounds of…
    6 Thruster @ 60lb DB
    12 Pull Ups

    Time: 5:46

  • Pat

    Stay safe, Thom!

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