You Can’t Punish with Burpees

By Coach Josh Workout 1 Comment on You Can’t Punish with Burpees

After taking the CrossFit Kids course, I had a few lightbulb moments. Here are a few of them i’d like to share with you.

You Can’t Use Burpees as Punishment
There never seems to be a good way to respond to poor behavior. But that’s because doing so actually sends the wrong message. Responding to poor behavior, even in the form of punishment, is a form of reward¬†in that the behavior has drawn your attention and coaching.

BUT you still have to discourage bad behavior by providing appropriate consequences. Here’s the thing: never have the consequences be the thing that you want to teach the subject to enjoy. If i’m teaching CrossFit, then my overall goal is that everyone should enjoy fitness and I should never ever devise consequences that include fitness itself. Instead, consequences will involve the withholding of CrossFit.

One example could be that the subject must sit out the first two minutes of the workout. If the behavior continues, they will be asked to ‘take a break’ from the daily activities.

This sends the message that good behavior leads to fun participation in a desirable activity aka CrossFit. Actually, this could apply to any activity. CrossFit is about loving and enjoying physical activity, and as weird as it sounds that includes burpees.

Therefor punishment must be the withholding of burpees. So weird!

You Can’t Reward Good Behavior

Let me rephrase: There is a method and a time and a place for rewarding good behavior so as to send the right message. The right message to send is this: Hard work pays off, giving your best effort is what matters, not the overall result.

Acknowledge that the process of putting in time and effort culminates in the accomplishment. The whole process then comes together as a rewarding and self-esteem building experience. The work ethic is equally if not more important than the actual accomplishment.

In the end, the journey and the struggle and the time and effort is what provides most of the satisfaction, although the accomplishment at the end is part of the deal.

Finding the Right Time and Place for Praise:

There are strategic windows within which praise is effective, and they should be carefully scouted. Praise is a coaching tool to reward qualities that you wish would thrive and grow, but should not imply criticism of others or favoritism while doing so. It’s is a complicated subject, and I’m happy to discuss this and other similar topics more in depth in the the Advanced Theory Course coming up in June!



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  • Lisa
    Posted on May 25, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    I love this idea. When working with kids, they really want structure and clear boundaries. I find being clear about expectations and then following through to be the best tool, and teaching the idea of intrinsic motivation as they grow. Looking forward to the theory class!

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