Sunday, January 21, 2018

Q&A: Does CrossFit Training Have A Place In High School Athletics?

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Q&A With the Coach's Coach, Recent Posts

Scott Sundgren, Head Coach Girls Volleyball, South Fayette PA

Every so many years a new ‘training revolution’ hits the scene. By revolution I mean more than just a fad… something that resinates with the entire fitness industry. Think aerobics, spinning, group exercise, and most recently – CrossFit.Picture 5

For those of you not in the know, CrossFit is a style of training that mixes total body movements with high intensities. The movements are ‘athletic’ because they’re done with free weights and other appratus. To get the gist, I’ll go as far as linking the Crossfit Website. Have a look and see what you think (no worries, I know you’ll be back).

CrossFit, the brand, does many things well. Two things come to mind: communication and community. CrossFit has found a way to package fitness into an idea people die for. Blog posting, comment sections, open forums, web sites, certifications, affiliations, etc. You can’t get very far into fitness and not come across someone touting the prowless of CrossFit.

It’s easy to get sucked in (I did for a while). You get sold on the ideas of fitness and what we’re lead to believe is the end all, game over, pack-it-in mindset that CrossFit is the epitome of training. The epitome of performance all the way down to youth and youth athletes.

In the last year or two, CrossFit has made its way into high school training programs. I’m seeing more questions and comparisons. People are asking if I do ‘anything like CrossFit… because that stuff is really hard’.

That’s where the brakes come on.

Scott Sundgren, Head Volleyball Coach for South Fayette High School, submitted a question to the ‘Q&A With The Coach’s Coach’ asking about the advantages and disadvantages of CrossFit. In this video I explain the main CrossFit advantage, and the exact reasons why it doesn’t belong in high school training programs.

VIDEO: Is CrossFit Right For Your High School Athletes? I Didn’t Think So.


6 Responses to “Q&A: Does CrossFit Training Have A Place In High School Athletics?”
  1. Great Video Post Ryan!. I too was sucked into the Crossfit Life and even went as far as getting certified at Camp Pendelton among a bunch of marines. It took me two years to realize that Crossfit programming was unsafe and lead to overuse injuries. Day 1 100 pullups, followed on Day 2 by more pullups, followed by Day 3 of heavy shoulder presses quickly lead to poor thoracic mobility and overly tight lats. I agree that crossfit promotes a strong community but I’ve also seen it divide trainers at the gym I was working at. If you did Crossfit then you were “IN” and part of this great community. But if were “OUT” and did your own programming then you were looked at like not part of the group. I saw really great trainers leave this gym because they didn’t feel welcome and their clients felt intimidated.

    I think when working with High School Athletes Crossfit can send the wrong message. Moving large loads quickly with improper form seems like the fastest way to hurt yourself. Then add time and competition to the mix and you’ve got yourself a sure way to injure yourself. Crossfit is designed for ELITE LEVEL athletes who should have near perfect form and technique on every lift. Unfortunately there is a lot of slop allowed among most Crossfit Programs I have seen. High School Athletes need to focus on the fundamentals of movement patterns and strength skills before adding heavy loads and intensity. These fundamentals take months and months of repetition practice and training. Crossfit for High School Athletes gets a thumbs down from me. Like Eric Cressy would say, “Don’t let the Stupid come out!”

  2. Jen says:

    You are an idiot. Have you EVER heard of CrossFit Kids? You might want to check it out. The first words out of the owners of CrossFit Kids are “CrossFit Kids is NOT a watered down version of CrossFit adults.”

  3. rrizor says:

    Jen, let’s agree to disagree and have a healthy conversation here.

    Why call me an idiot and ask if I’ve ever heard of Crossfit Kids? Geez – this is exactly what I’m talking about. This is where Crossfit has migrated over the last few years.. if someone doesn’t blindly adhere or disagrees with the methods then they’re automatically a moron.

    If Crossfit Kids has nothing to do with Crossfit for adults, why call it Crossfit Kids? Why the need to link the two?

    I was actually a Crossfit affiliate back in 2007. The draw of intensity and community for mainstream populations was appealing. But, the bigger Crossfit got, the more career-changing novice trainers entered the scene.

    I simply don’t agree with people falling in line and being lead by trainers with weekend certifications. Most of which have never explored or experienced true performance programming for any length of time. This resonates especially true with the development of youth / high school athletes.

    Understand that I’m generalizing here Jen, and absolutely agree that there are killer Crossfit affiliates and coaches out there making it happen. As I said in the video, there are many undeniable upsides to Crossfit. But if you’re going to implement a program that’s not a watered down version of something else, why not create your own unique model (identity) from scratch vs. tagging on to another brand?

    Thanks for the comment! I appreciate your dedication to what you believe in.


  4. Connor says:

    Im a high school athlete, and i love crossfit.
    I agree some coaches shouldn’t be coaching crossfit.. but that means you just need to find the right one. My coach was a triathlete, and has many other training certifications such as in olympic lifting. So don’t bash crossfit for high school students just because of poor coaching, there are people out there who set you in the right direction with crossfit as a high school student.

  5. Jonathan says:

    Hopefully people who come here and see this video realize that the information is four years old. Like any program Crossfit has gone through an evolution. I was a college athlete and have coached and trained middle school, high school and college athletes for 16 years. The Crossfit of 2013 is somewhat described in the answer, but most of it is very generalized and implies wrong information.

    Today a person can go to Cross Level 1 training and get certified, but they need to demonstrate the knowledge and ability to transfer that knowledge correctly to others. I’ve seen high school coaches and strength coaches demonstrate wrong & dangerous techniques that have hurt athletes. Crossfit has a huge amount of information from experts in their fields of weight lifting, training, etc.

    There is certainly a community aspect to Crossfit, which is desperately missing from the fitness community. Competing against yourself, rather than just focusing on others is one of the biggest benefits!

    Regarding “putting 405 on your back and tell what it feels like to squat” is wrong, since proper technique is the key, regardless of the weight lifted. Most kids never learn the proper air squat technique that has them on their heels, rather they go right into lifting “heavy weights”. Check out the following article, which most programs should focus on before ever giving a kid or adult weights.

    Regarding “training with a PVC pipe” the key is getting the movement and proper technique down. If you can’t show proper form and movement with a PVC pipe then you have no business putting weights on a bar.

    Like any program Crossfit can be done wrong, but that doesn’t make the programming itself wrong. As Connor said in the comments, “search for a great coach”. Crossfit absolutely has a place in middle schcool and high school programs, since it gets people away from “just cardio” or “just weight lifting” and combines knowledge & implementation. Great trainers like the one at my affiliate program correctly ensuring that there is scaling & progression options. So there might be “toes to bar”, “knees to elbows” and “v-ups, as decreasing progressions. The performance class at our affiliate is training a variety of middle-school and high school athletes of different ages & experiences. Kids are learning correct fitness and many are getting college scholarships as a result of the performance benefits of a properly run Crossfit program.

    If you haven’t been to a Crossfit affiliate lately I recommend you check one out in your town, since most offer a free class to check it out. Second, I highly reccomend you join the Crossfit journal that I linked to above, since at $25 a year it is a small fee for the proper knowledge, videos and the like from some of the top experts in their fields.

    * Disclaimer: I am not a Crossfit coach, although I will likely get certified at some point. I also do know work for or know anyone from Crossfit HQ.

  6. Stacey says:

    I’d like to comment on the quote from above: “High School Athletes need to focus on the fundamentals of movement patterns and strength skills before adding heavy loads and intensity. These fundamentals take months and months of repetition practice and training.”
    I totally agree with that statement, but not much else that was stated. It takes the proper coach/trainer to be certain you’ve got the fundamentals before adding more weight and intensity. I’ve been doing Crossfit for 4 months now, and it’s the best thing to come along for me. I’ve dropped body fat and added muscle. BUT, I have an AMAZING coach that keeps a close eye on all his athletes to be sure they’re doing the proper techniques. He also does all the programming, so we get an overall total body workout over time. The coach can make ALL the difference.

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