There was never any question that Jeff and Mikki Martin would continue doing what they do best after their break with CrossFit Inc. You might be wondering if they plan to stand themselves in direct opposition to CrossFit Inc. All things considered, it’s a reasonable assumption to anticipate some kind of David-and-Goliath scenario. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Certainly, the Martins intend to carve out their own space in the multibillion-dollar fitness industry, but they don’t figure on merely coexisting alongside their erstwhile employer. Among other things, the Martins will continue offering their support to the hundreds and hundreds of CrossFit Kids programs that use the method they created and developed for more than a decade.
We’re getting a lot of support for the Brand X Method™, but there are also a lot of questions too. For instance, how can the Martins add value to existing CrossFit Kids programs?
Changing Course on the Same Heading
The Martins created the original concept and content for the CrossFit Kids Trainer Course in 2008. Aside from some changes to presentation and structure, the core content of the course remains essentially the same. For the last seven years, the Martins have been busy running their program at Brand X, which means they’ve been evolving their methodology. That evolution is an inevitable product of the Martins’ characteristic pursuit of new knowledge and application of that learning in the practical setting of the gym. None of these methodological improvements are reflected in the current CrossFit Kids Trainer Course.
The Brand X Method™ is the next generation in training, and the Martins want to share it with CrossFit Kids trainers as well as other coaches and teachers. Although they gave up their professional connection to the CrossFit Kids name, the Martins have no intention of abandoning CrossFit Kids trainers or clients when they feel like new practices can enhance the existing program.
The Brand X Method™ offers some important conceptual refinements that have enriched the fundamental pedagogical approach. We’ve seen significant positive results in terms of promoting longevity in training. Here is a couple:
Range of motion is too often treated as a mechanical prerequisite and is privileged over more primary considerations. Here is the Brand X Method’s basic order of teaching good movement:
Safety => Points of Performance => Range of Motion
This aligns quite well with
Mechanics => Consistency => Intensity
Why focus on range of motion if points of performance are absent and/or safety faults are occurring? Yes, range of motion has an important bearing on the impact of exercises, but any benefits are blunted by the inefficiencies of unsafe and unsound movement. The stage is set for a training setback: deconstruction and rebuilding of the movement or an injury (possibly while performing some wholly unrelated activity).
Learn by Doing
At the theoretical foundation of many models of athletic development lies the concept of physical literacy. Although we have reservations about current theorizing on athletic development, physical literacy is foundational to the Brand X Method™. Physical literacy entails the ability to execute competent, confident, creative and strategic movement in multiple activities and contexts.
To achieve this, kids need early opportunities to move often. With lifestyles becoming ever more sedentary, CrossFit Kids offered a means by which children and teens could experience movement in a safe environment. The Brand X Method™ enriches that idea by adding to the toolbox that the Martins’ original CrossFit Kids methodology uses to build physical literacy. We view physical literacy as a lifelong project that begins with fundamental movement skills at the preschool level and ends with independence at life’s culmination.
Higher Education and Practice
The Martins have always considered the CrossFit Kids Trainer Course to be a first step in becoming a youth CrossFit coach. It was meant to get you started, to inspire you to start working with kids, but never meant to mint you as an expert. All I know is that when I finished the course, I was scared shitless. The key takeaway for me was that I had a lot to learn and the responsibility was HUGE. Almost five years later I’ve gained a lot of experience and knowledge and yet know I have so much more to learn. I just don’t see that ever changing for me.
The Martins saw that the ongoing success of the entire program relied on ongoing professional development, whether it was actually training kids under the auspices of an experienced coach or continuing education. In this regard, the Brand X Method™ reflects the Martins’ own unceasing quest to expand their knowledge and improve their practice.
The Brand X Method™ intends to support the professional development of practitioners in the following ways:
- Advanced training courses, such as the Brand X Method™ Teen Weight Training Seminar and Brand X Method™ Advanced Kids Course
- A custom-tailored mentoring program designed to help coaches and educators refine their teaching methods or hash out training issues related to specific athletes or class situations
- New and improved lesson plans for all levels, encompassing strength training, conditioning, and gymnastics
- Designation of Brand X Training Centers for those gyms dedicated to using the Brand X Method™ in practice and following the Brand X Method™ mission to always do what’s best for clients
Professional Development => Community Development => Child Development
With regard to the latter point, the Martins envision the Brand X Method™ forming the philosophical and methodological core of an international community of likeminded practitioners. With Brand X as the flagship training center, the goal is to ensure (1) the consistent application of best practices and (2) open lines of communication among the facilities for the open exchange of ideas so that we can keep walking the ragged edge of state-of-the-art youth training.
Accomplish that and we can present a united front to take part in efforts to combat childhood obesity, prevent youth sports injuries, and reinvigorate physical education. Audacious? Yes. But that’s the kind of thinking required to create change, to actually do what’s best for kids rather than simply claim such a thing.
If you’re interested in being part of this, contact [email protected].
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin