Freestyle Gymnastics Seminar Review

Freestyle Gymnastics Seminar Review

Recently, I was fortunate enough to get to attend the last Freestyle Gymnastics Seminar of 2012. I was ridiculously excited to get a chance to learn from Carl Paoli first hand. His work with various Game’s athletes and the ridiculous quantity of free progressions available on his site┬ámeant that his reputation proceeded him.

You’ll constantly see him on mobilitywod with Kelly Starett and on various other Crossfit forums breaking down everything from back tucks to burpees to weightlifting from a gymnastics perspective.

Needless to say, when he started the workshop and announced that this was not a gymnastics seminar, but a movement seminar I was not surprised. That’s sort of the trend that Crossfit is heading right now. All of the smart folks, regardless of their discipline, are focusing on the movements.

It really is the foundation of CrossFit. Greg Glassman has been saying “the magic is in the movement” for years. Now, the puzzle pieces and synthesis from myriad of different disciplines within CrossFit are really beginning to mesh together.

While I was expecting to get the most out of the hands on portion, I really learned an immense amount about how to look at and dissect movement patterns and tasks, both familiar and unfamiliar, to properly coach and cue. Sure, anyone can become a decent coach at one thing. You create a mental rubric for the ideal movement pattern for that task and bracket corrections around the goal of conforming that athlete to that pattern.

What is much, much harder is teaching the proper way to move in the unknown and unknowable, adjust for extremes of movement disfunction or individual anthropomorphic patterns.

My biggest take away was Carl’s method of looking at movement and how athletes and their bodies should adjust to the tasks at hand.

The hands on piece was great. I was already fairly competent at all of the skills covered. For a CrossFitter, I am pretty good at gymnastics.

Carl did clean up a lot of what I do wrong (break at the neck) on the handstand push up.

More importantly, I understand and have new tools in my kit bag to coach these movements.

I would highly recommend this workshop (it sold out quickly, so I don’t think he needs my endorsement) to any coach or athlete. I think the athlete with less than two years of CrossFit will benefit more than a five year guy like myself.

However, I don’t care what kind of coach you are, the frame work and hands on application of understanding movement is fantastic. Carl is funny, engaging, and does a great job of handling a crowd. It was definitely a Sunday well spent.