I was hanging out with Bode this week while Harley Love was in ballet. We were working on an activity book that’s full of puzzles, mazes, word hunts, etc. There was a page that asked you to recreate a picture that was provided of an airplane.
Bode was pretty anxious to even try it, but I told him that we would break it up into small sections so we would only have to do one part at a time.
“Just draw this wing. That’s all.”
“Oh, ok. I can do that!”
When he was done with that, I had him just draw the windows.
He did a pretty good job replicating the size of the windows and the spacing between them.
Bode continued to work through the drawing like this until he had finished the entire plane. He was so excited that he was able to do the whole thing. And, I was so proud of him for working through something that had, initially, almost immobilized him and kept him from even trying.
When he turned around with his huge cartoon character sized smiling cheeks and held his picture right in front of my face so I wouldn’t miss one single piece of his work, I instinctively blurted out, “OH, BODE! PERFECT!”
The second I heard the word come out of my mouth, I thought to myself, “How could you have just said that!?!”
Perfect? It wasn’t “perfect”. It was a great effort, it definitely resembled the plane in the picture provided, and he surprised me with his determination and ability to avoid the meltdown I was bracing for the entire time.
But, it wasn’t “perfect”.
The lines were shaky, he had fallen short of a few of the windows, and the wheels were far too big. I was still super impressed and do, in fact, think it was perfect by being imperfect.
But, again, it wasn’t “perfect”.
One of the many things I learned from being a coach on CrossFit’s Level 1 Seminar Staff was this:
Never tell someone they did something perfect unless it was, in fact, PERFECT.
Use of that word should be reserved purely for moments when something was actually done perfectly. And, those moments are incredibly rare.
But, the potential impact of using that word at just the right time, is so unique and special that it is worth holding back even when you are tempted to use it for something that falls just short of being truly “perfect”.
As coaches giving cues to athletes on how to improve the technique of their air squat, we have a tendency to want to reward them with a strong, “PERFECT!” when they finally understand how to keep their weight balanced evenly in their feet at the bottom of the movement.
However, it’s unlikely that if an athlete is just developing the ability to keep their heels on the ground during an air squat that the rest of their movement is, in fact, “perfect”.
All of it is a step in the direction of getting them moving with perfect technique, but they probably have a lot of other things to improve on before they get there.
Now that I think of it, I’ve been doing CrossFit since 2007. In those 11 years, I don’t know if I’ve seen more than 3 or 4 people do a truly “perfect” air squat.
I know. It’s just me overthinking something as simple as a single word. But, I guess I just like saving some things for special moments when they’re genuinely earned and deserved.