Several months ago during the CrossFit Open we conducted an experiment on how many of our members were actually giving no reps during an open workout. It may surprise you, but it didn’t surprise us that the majority of individuals gave good reps (41%) when in reality they should’ve been no reps.
Now the purpose of that was to demonstrate how difficult it is to give truth even in a setting that is incredibly low risk for giving feedback (the gym!). The newest experiment that we are looking to conduct over the next several weeks is something we have taken from Steady Buckets called “Truth Reps”. Coach Macky Bergman, owner and founder of Steady Buckets which is the largest Youth basketball nonprofit in New York City servicing over 2500 underprivileged kids, has adopted this into his regular coaching practice (you can watch/listen to our Community Conversation with Coach Macky here talking about it!) I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time with Macky over the past year and he has seen 10 and 11-year-olds be able to learn plays and drills that would take college level teams months to learn, in just a few hours. How has he done it? A peer to peer coaching model.
The concept is simple, but the value is so great. The coach sets the criteria for the drill, teaches the athletes the drill then has each athlete pair or team up and demonstrate the drill. The athlete has to give a thumbs up if the drill is executed PERFECTLY or a thumbs down to their partner/teammate if it’s not but has to explain why. While the athletes are doing this, the coaches are observing the feedback givers and coaching them, not the athlete. There are additional nuances that make Truth Reps so beneficial, but the biggest impact is the peer to peer coaching.
The value in this peer to peer coaching model checks several boxes:
1/ When learning something, the best way to retain that information after learning it is to teach it. Adopting this practice creates greater levels of mastery for the instructor, even if the content is still relatively new. In other words, teaching others helps us learn better
2/ Giving feedback tends to create more opportunities to receive feedback. More often than not, we have an imbalance in our life to giving or receiving feedback. Those that tend to get more feedback should get reps on giving, and those that tend to give more should get reps on receiving. This model allows for a balance of both.
3/ It’s really hard. Back to the No Rep experiment, we did during the CrossFit Open, giving a consistent “no rep” when someone is trying their hardest is challenging. However, it’s an opportunity to help others get better.
When talking about truth reps, one thing has become apparent… those out there that want to improve and get better are always actively seeking feedback and coaching. It’s like being a sponge for growth. And from our perspective as coaches, our goal is to help our clients/members/athletes any way we can to improve, get a competitive edge, and accomplish their goals. So when talking with Macky and Coach Jon about this, it made sense to bring it to Prototype!
Something we have preached religiously at Prototype is that technical inefficiencies in movement lead to wasted energy. An important part of what we coach at Prototype (CrossFit) requires coordination, which requires hours of reps working on those movement patterns. As you develop the consistency in the technique, we dial up the intensity with what we’ve learned and it leads to a better workout. The better you move, the longer you’re in the game. The more efficient you move, the more work you can get done without wasting more energy. Improve technical efficiency, and increase work capacity.
Lastly (and if you’ve gotten this far, thank you!), when doing anything new or different our mindset is important. My advice is to keep an open mind, lean into the coaching and open up/try to be receptive to doing things a bit different. Who knows, you might just love it!
So you’ll be seeing some WODs over the next few weeks with a *Truth Reps* notation on them, so you will get to see what it’s all about!