The Whiteboard.    February 3 2013

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“Isabel”
For time:
Snatch 135 pounds, 30 reps
Use 95 pounds, 65 pounds or broomstick as needed.

Bob and Josh are not really thinking about the whiteboard right now.

 

 

The Whiteboard.

The whiteboard is a unique and powerful component of Crossfit.  It represents vastly different things to each and every athlete. I believe it can and should serve as a powerful motivator. It was designed to accomplish this end. It makes us own up to our performance, strengths, weaknesses, good days, and bad days.  Nothing feels better than putting up a great time or load or score; but few things match the disappointment of not measuring up to your own expectations and putting it up for the world to see.

For all of these reasons and more, the whiteboard makes many of us anxious and uncomfortable. While an obvious reaction is to compare or benchmark your performance with other athletes; I prefer to look at it as a means to measure progress towards my own personal goals and as a tool to identify how and where I can improve. Dawn Fletcher, a mental performance coach writes, “I would suggest using the whiteboard as a tool to learn more about yourself and your mental game. The whiteboard is used by the CrossFit Community as an open journal to display information.”  Public posting is a behavioral strategy that has been shown to improve performance.  Her article on this subject is well written and worth a read for all (Psychology of the Whiteboard), but the one thing I took away form her article was that use of the whiteboard likely improves your results…whether you like it or not.

The whiteboard is meant to help you not hurt you. If it elicits positive responses such as motivation or confidence, ride that wave as far as it will take you. If, however, it evokes negative responses such as intimidation or doubt, own up to it and work on your strategy for not letting it affect you. Consider only reviewing others’ whiteboard scores after your workout or even avoiding them altogether. What do you think Roots? Does the whiteboard motivate you or intimidate you?

 

  • http://www.facebook.com/annettebrownlee Annette Brownlee Elton

    In the beginning, the whiteboard intimidated the heck out of me. I felt good or bad about my WOD performance based on how others did in the workout. You’d think at 42 that I’d have been beyond that type of reaction, but it took a few months for me to realize I was only competing with myself and if I was proud of my effort for that day then that was all that mattered. So now, to be honest, I don’t think about that whiteboard much at all. Though it does give a bit of a frame of reference for what to expect from a workout if I have no idea.

  • JakeDurling

    I won’t pretend that I view the whiteboard simply as a means of charting my own progress. I don’t. I think it has value in four ways for me. First, I view it as a benchmark to judge how well I did against friends at the shop. If I manage to beat Ben, it’s a good day. (And one that does not involve handstand pushups. Or heavy weights. Or CrossFit generally. *Sigh* Someday I’ll beat Ben.) Second, I find that it also helps guide me on how to approach a given workout; knowing that a new workout takes Miles five minutes means that I need to push as hard as possible from 3-2-1-go!; if it takes him closer to 20, I shouldn’t redline right out of the gate. Third, it holds me accountable. It’s harder to quit pushing in a workout knowing my score, with my weights, will be published in the “open journal.” Fourth, I like being able to acknowledge when other people did well. It feels good when someone tells me that I did well on a workout; I like to be able to do that to others.
    All of these add up. I don’t think that CrossFit would be the same without it.