We Want You to Fail…But Why?

Each potential new athlete I come across mentions they are intimidated at the thought of attending our group class. I try to say all the right things, “Everyone starts their journey somewhere,” “There will be athletes better at a workout than you and there will also be athletes finishing their workout behind you,” “Our coaches will guide you along the way,””All you have to do is show up!” ect… 


What I did not understand until a couple months ago was what “intimidated” really meant to them. For most people, I came to realize they are actually scared of failing or afraid of doing something they are not very good at. In our gym we have athletes failing all the time and doing movements they have yet to master. Why would anyone want to pay money to fail at something? 


Among the failures is quite a lot of success if you are willing to push through it. Once athletes join they learn what they can do AND the steps to improve the movement they are currently failing at. 


I was coaching a new athlete through our foundations sessions on how to do a push up. The athlete does not have a push up on the ground so we scaled the push to elevate her hands on a bar. This allows for the athlete to hold a plank position and maintain a pushing motion while making it doable. First try they did 5 pushups really well, so I lowered the bar to make it more challenging and said, “we are going to lower it until you fail.” Why do I want them to fail? Shouldn’t I build up and make them feel like they accomplished something? Trust me, I do plenty of that! 


The reason I want them to fail is to show them the opportunity for improvement and what lies ahead if they keep showing up. Most of the time athletes come in and know they cannot perform a push up on the ground and are intimidated because this will show up in a workout and they can’t do it…so then what? 


Our coaches’ responsibility is to ensure all athletes know they are capable of performing all movements, whether it was the one written in the workout or a scaled version of the movement. An appropriate scaling option is an easier version meeting the same stimulus or working the same muscles as the written movement. 


In addition to coaching an athlete on which version of the movement is appropriate for them, we need to show them the steps to work towards completing the movement as written. For our foundations athletes, we need them to find the point where they fail so that they can see what the next step looks like. 


Failure is everywhere and our gym is no exception. I hope all our athletes fail at some point on a lift or a workout because that is where the magic happens. Where the little fire inside starts to burn a little bit bigger and brighter, pushing them to keep showing up and trying to get better. 

Come and fail with us! Our coaches will meet you where you are, show you the steps to succeed, and our members will help pick you back up and give you a reason to show up again tomorrow. 

Coach Emily 

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