The Europeans Have It Figured Out

The other day I was talking with a friend and fellow father of a grade schooler and the topic of our kids’ activities came up. 

As we listed the activities our little ones were in, our upcoming soccer seasons became the topic of discussion. 

We began talking about the structure and how everything was set up for the kids and he mentioned something that I previously knew nothing about.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a soccer guy (I don’t even know what makes a soccer guy). I know very little about the game other than my daughter never stops smiling when she’s playing it. 

But my friend does and he told me about the European philosophy on how they develop youth players. He said it’s a 75% focus on playing and 25% focus on skill development. 

He also said that’s almost the exact opposite in how we try to develop youth players in America. (surprise, surprise)

We spend most of our time trying to develop skill and the other small percentage actually having kids play the game. 

As I thought more about this I could relate it a lot to how we develop new exercisers. 

Now, let me be the first to say, I place a high value on the development of skills and technique when it comes to exercise. 

I believe when someone moves with great skill and proper technique they can maximize results and minimize their risk for injury. 

That being said, if I’m so focused on developing skill and technique that it stifles someone’s ability to just move (read: play) they may not stay in the game long enough to see results.

This becomes very apparent when someone joins our group CrossFit classes. There are a lot of movements that we do that involve technical skill development. 

This is not because CrossFit workouts are crazy or unsafe. It’s because we’re not sitting down on a machine with a pulley and cable system controlling the path of the movement. 

We are the machines – we’re moving our bodies, typically with free moving weights, and we are in control of the movement pattern.

And frankly, we don’t always control our machines well.


I think we get so tied up in how skillful or “good” we are at certain exercises that we forget the real development comes in just playing the game! 

Again, LET ME BE CLEAR: I believe you should pursue great technique when it comes to moving your body and especially when lifting weights. As I said, this will lead to maximal results and minimal injuries. 

But, if the pursuit of developing skills is keeping you from just moving, you’ll never become the player you want to be.

I know I’ve said this in my previous posts, but I can’t stress it enough. It’s why a departing client of mine had it framed for me and it sits in our consult office now. I give my clients three rules when they start with us.

  1. Show Up
  2. Work Hard
  3. Get Results

There’s nothing in there that says move perfectly or develop skills or win workouts. It’s all about showing up and giving the best you can give each day. Play the game as much as possible. And then, along the way, we’re going to develop the skills you need to maximize your progress and keep you healthy so you can keep doing steps 1-3. 

If that sounds ok to you, hit the START NOW or FREE INTRO button on this page and let’s set up a time to talk.

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