Going into the Brazil CrossFit Championship, the Pro1 Montreal team was not the favourite to win. They were not ranked the best team on paper in terms of individual successes. They were not the strongest team. They were not the most skilled team. They were, however, a group who understood how to win as a team by putting the success of the team before the success of the individuals. If an athlete is unwilling to make sacrifices for the greater good of the team, the team suffers. The Pro1 team worked in perfect harmony to become an unstoppable force, stronger than an individual athlete on any team. With Joe Scali being the newcomer to a team that had been training and competing together for years, he knew that he had more work to put in leading up to BCC to ensure he could fall into this perfect harmony with his teammates.
First Stop Montreal - 2 weeks out.
“Prior to the competition, I flew to Montreal to train with my team 10 days before we headed down to San Paolo, Brazil. This was a key contributor to our success as a team. We began the training process, which was about so much more than training together. It was about developing relationships and learning each other’s strengths, weakness and everything unrelated to CrossFit. During my stay in Montreal, I stayed with Roch, the owner and head coach of the Pro1 Team. Roch has been to the games multiple times as an individual and as part of a team. I learned so much from him and about the Pro1 story. Knowing the ins and outs about our team helped me understand my role and practicing the events ahead of time allowed us develop a strategy that would gives us the best possible outcome at BCC."
Second Stop San Paolo - 1 week out.
“The theme of the week was practice, practice and more practice with transitions and walk throughs of the events. Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the competition, we went through each event and practiced our synchro work with muscle ups, toes to bars, etc With one day left before the competition, we spent Thursday rehearsing all the events with no load. We imagined we were on the floor and walked through the events until we were able to move through each event perfectly. If we messed up, we would do it again and again until we got it right with no slips up. Then we did it again to make sure we got it. It might sound redundant, but that one second lost could have cost us our chance of making the CrossFit Games. We knew we were not the highest ranked team, but we believed that we could be the best team if we had no errors. Our transitions had to be flawless. Our worm placement had to be right. Our communication had to be clear. Our reps had to be perfect. We were willing to slow down our pace in order to be perfect - we believed that this would give us a chance of beating some of the top teams. That night we continued to replay the events in our heads for visualization of what would occur on the floor. Visualization was a major key to make us feel confident on the floor like we have been there before.”
Saturday night - end of day 2.
“After the Saturday events, we went back to the hotel to role play the second to last event. We were in first place after 2 days of competing, but only by 12 points. This event required lots of communication and multiple transitions - so again, we focused on the fact that need we needed to be perfect in every detail in order to come out on top. We practiced for hours in our hotel hallways with a blanket to mimic the worm. We made mistakes several times - we kept forgetting who was going next or who was doing what. We practiced this over and over with the blanket until we got it right, and then we did it three more times. We probably looked like idiots in the hallway of the Transamerica Hotel… but we didn't care. We knew that if we perfected this event, we would win. We ended up finishing first in this event, which didn’t surprise us.”
With that first place finish, the Pro1 Montreal team secured their first place spot at the CrossFit Games! As a skilled individual athlete, Joe knew the sacrifices he had to make to ensure the success of the team, which can be very different from competing as an individual. Check out some of the key components that Joe suggests to ensure the success of your CanWest team training:
-Know were you fit on the team in terms of abilities, strengths and weakness. This is where you can contribute the most to give you chance for a positive outcome
-Practice the workouts, but also practice the transitions and flow of the workouts over and over again until its perfect with no mess ups. Then practice again until it gets so boring you can do it in your sleep.
-Develop relationships with all the members of the team. Its not just about CrossFit. You are going into battle with these people - trust and positive relationships will help you do whatever it takes for your team members.
-Don’t point blame or get mad at your teammates. The first day of the competition during the 3rd workout, I was the one holding the team back. I was literally on the verge of blacking out. One of my team members, Lorraine, literally grabbed my hand to help me keep moving. She encouraged me to keep going in a positive manner. After that event, I was so embarrassed that I almost died. You know what my teammates did? They laughed at me, said “welcome to team events” and told me I did great and to shake that one off.
-The most important factor is to have fun. This was the most fun I have had competing in a long time. Remember why you started CrossFit and enjoy every second of the competition.