Q&A with Competitior's Coach Lee
Check out our Q&A session with Lee Steggles who coaches our competitor’s team.
Hey Lee. Thanks for agreeing to do my mini interview! Let’s start by telling us a bit about you, your background and how you came to us at Perpetua.
A few quick fire facts about me that some may find interesting before the CrossFit side of things. I’m originally from Warwickshire in the Midlands. A little town called Atherstone. I’ve lived in London for 8 years and spent a fair bit of time in the states for study and internships, training college sports teams. I’ve had a short amateur acting career including the stage versions of ‘Calendar Girls’ and ‘Harvey’. I’ve played international live gigs and also a fair few in London. I had a brief stint building caravans before university too, it was at this job I learnt the most about life and people.
Since the age of 17 (I’m now 29) I’ve been a coach. My boxing club encouraged me to take coaching courses and to teach certain sections of class. I really enjoyed it. In August 2011 I hung up my gloves and walked into CrossFit Central London, did my first workout and was immediately hooked. Maybe that story sounds familiar…
Until recently, I’ve learnt most CrossFit skills and techniques from crossfit.com, my level 1, videos and from copying training partners and friends in the competitive CrossFit scene. Because of this I understand the hard work and struggle it takes to acquire new skills, to perform them well, again and again and then integrate them into a fast paced or sustained effort.
This is why I’ve fell I love with CrossFit (there’s so many skills to learn) and why I find myself developing a small group of athletes that share a passion for competing in the ‘Sport of CrossFit’ and representing their home club, CrossFit Perpetua.
So you’ve been brought in to head up the competition team here…aka Team Perpetua. Could you tell us a bit more about the group, and why we have a Team Perpetua at the box?
The CrossFit Open, Regionals and The Games. Most people know of these competitions in some way, shape or form, maybe some admire the top athletes and get inspired by them. Perpetua owner Michael Price is no different. Why we have a Team Perpetua is down to Michael’s vision of developing a group of athletes that can eventually qualify for those events and hopefully inspire our own community and those in the surrounding area of London. That’s where I come in with my competitive CrossFit background and my background of running the elite sports program at Kings College London University.
What are your visions/goals for the team?
My vision for the team is to have everyone developing themselves physically, psychologically and emotionally thorough the sport by a small percentage point each week they are with me.
My goals for the team and indeed for the wider community are initially to give an absolute ‘best effort’ in the 2016 CrossFit Open and see where that takes us. Anyone in our gym could submit a great score that contributes to CrossFit Perpetua qualifying for regionals and inspiring others.
My coaching philosophy is based around doing the basics, exceptionally well. This means both coaching simple concepts of movement and also learning from the wealth of data available, such as the CrossFit open, to guide ‘weakness’ work, that will drive success in that competition.
In 2017 the goal is to have a group of athletes that are well rounded enough to have their ‘best effort’ translate into the gym qualifying for regionals
You mentioned Regionals, that’s huge! What are your expectations for the team and how are you building it?
Yes. As mentioned we are using a data driven approach. The open, regionals and the games gives us lots of data on what the athletes at those competitions can do. This helps us set standards for our future competition team athletes.
To build the competition team I am taking the ‘1% Approach’, championed by Sir Dave Brailsford. This includes developing different aspects of the team via the arrangement of specialist seminars on nutrition, rowing, mobility and movement, sleep etc, and training camps with regional level athletes in London and the surrounding areas. Collecting the small improvements every week will add up at the end of the year to big changes.
Getting these systems and contacts in place is taking a while but it will be worth it down the line.
And what are your expectations of individual athletes? I guess what I’m getting at is are there certain standards that your athletes have to meet and any other additional things they have to do in order to not just be on the team but stay on the team?
My expectations this year are tempered slightly. This is the development year. November is my 4th month here at Perpetua and I’m not here to upset the applecart, so to speak. I’m just keen to see what can be done with the current crop of members. I inherited a great bunch of athletes that are safe movers and quite proficient athletes in their respective age category.
Post 2016 Open I will definitely be reviewing the team composition and whether we can bring on board any other members from within the gym, as well as from any enquiries we have from others who want to join within London. If we are to make Regionals in 2017, we must constantly be evolving. This is just a necessity in any team.
If athletes meet quite a few of the standards required to submit a score that contributes to the gyms CrossFit Open ranking then I would happily looking into how we can develop them further within the group.
So let’s say someone is interested in competing and approaches their coach about getting on the team. What would be the steps they would need to take?
If you are interested in competing there is a great new programming system at the gym that gives you a clear progression from ‘base’ to ‘peak’. If you stick with the programme, focus on mechanics, consistency and finally the intensity part you can develop your skill set considerably.
I’d recommend chatting to your own personal coach to gauge if you are ready for competitions. They will all be explicitly aware of the standards required.
Opportunities to compete in a few friendly ‘throwdown’ competitions will for sure be coming up in the gym and there are multiple competitions out there that people could sign up to to get experience and develop themselves.
As a member of Team Perpetua myself, but also a coach, I get to see a lot of different people and classes at different times of the day. There are lots of dynamics within the box and it’s this that I think makes Perpetua so unique and desirable. I love to mix my training up sometimes with the regular programming if and when I can. How important is this do you think and do you encourage this within the team?
Not a week goes by that I don’t encourage all members of the team to get into what could be called ‘regular class’ at least once per week. The competition athletes are always reminded they are only a small percentage of the total gym community and they know how important integrating and having the wider community’s support is. It’s important for all of the different dynamics in the gym to cross paths and support each other to be better through CrossFit.
So what times of day are the team training and when are you around at the box?
The team tend to train 4-6pm Monday & Tuesday, 630-8pm on Thursday’s and on Saturday mornings at 11am. I’m around at almost all those times to either coach and/or train. I’ll also be at The John Mehighan Cup, so come and say hi!
Thanks so much Lee, really appreciate your time. Good luck to you and the team this month at the S.I.D competition in Bath this month.