Skills and Abilities

Skill: (n) the learned capacity to carry out pre-determined results often with the minimum outlay of time, energy, or both.

Ability: (n) the quality of being able to do something, especially the physical and mental power to accomplish something.

I was thinking about the difference between these terms earlier this week after watching Chris demonstrate some rowing techniques. It made me think about the way we structure many of our workouts, specifically the skill time. Taking the time to learn and refine skills gives us the ability to make something happen; but notice the definition above, the skill must be learned in order for us to have the ability.

How many of you came to the box on your very first day with the ability to do pullups?


A basic snatch?

Very few, if any of us, right?

I once had a coach tell me,

“99% of coaching is in practice and preparation, very little of what we do happens at game speed.”

This is especially true in CrossFit. If you were thrown into a WOD without being taught how to do anything, chances are you wouldn’t be very successful; so it’s important to take time to learn and refine the skills. If not to be better at CrossFit, then for safety’s sake at least. By gaining abilities, though, you will get much more than just a good workout.

I challenge you: every time you come to the box, no matter what type of class you are taking, make the goal to walk out with more ability than when you walked in.

Sure, to come in and do a brutal, exhausting workout is great. Anyone who wants to badly enough can do that, though.

What’s really worth your while, what will really give you a return on your time and effort, is gaining ability.

If you do this consistently, you’d be surprised by how far you’ve come.

By: Casey

3 Responses to “Skills and Abilities”

  1. I agree with this 100%. When I first walked into the box the first time and I saw fellow CrossFitters doing HSPU I was amazed and scared at the same time. Fast foward 4 months and I was able to do 1 HSPU and then would give up. Now press the fast foward button again to month 6 and at the WOD recently (won’t say which day), HSPU were in the WOD and normally I would do the Handstand Hold, but decided to crack the whip and I was able to do all 30 HSPU and no holds!!! That helped me out alot, because usually my time would have been longer with a hold, but I wanted my time to be quicker and I did the HSPU with accuracy and felt great about it. Skillz are needed to have the ability to do any of the WOD’s. Thanks for the coaching from everybody.

  2. Solid post Case… reading this made me think about an often overlooked component of CrossFit, that fact that it is fair. Put in the wrench time and be patient, you will get better. Approach skill work like it’s a WOD, then do ALL your reps with quality. We all want to throw up a good time, but nothing beats smashing a WOD and setting a PR and replaying it all day in your mind. Doing every rep the WOD calls for and doing them better than you’ve ever done them before can’t be beat. Don’t settle with simply showing up…get better, there is a reason you keep coming back.

    Crossfitter…what is your profession?

  3. I have become totally hooked on Crossfit. It is an incredible workout!

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