Knowing the difference between "Training" and "Practice" can have a great effect on your fitness and what you get out of CrossFit.
GENERAL PHYSICAL SKILLS
If your goal is optimum physical competence then all the general physical skills must be considered:
1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance - The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
2. Stamina - The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilise energy.
3. Strength - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
4. Flexibility - the ability to maximise the range of motion at a given joint.
5. Power - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
6. Speed - The ability to minimise the time cycle of a repeated movement.
7. Coordination - The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
8. Agility - The ability to minimise transition time from one movement pattern to another.
9. Balance - The ability to control the placement of the bodies centre of gravity in relation to its support base.
10. Accuracy - The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity
As part of CrossFits definition of fitness, they identified 10 general physical skills, stating that "You are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills".
In order to achieve competence in each of these areas some need to be address differently to others.
High intensity. Traditional metabolic-conditioning and strength training
In the "What is Fitness?" article by the CrossFit Journal (great read if you want to know more about the ins and outs of your CrossFit training), it is stated that "Training refers to activity that improves performance through a measurable organic change in the body".
Of the 10 physical skills, we can expect to see improvements in endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility come about through training.
The way we do this in class is via the strength sessions (squatting, pulling and pushing) of the class, our olympic lifts, gymnastic movements and our MetCons at the end of each class.
Low intensity. Positional work, mobility, and everything in between.
CrossFit state in the Journal that "Practice refers to activity that improves performance through changes in the nervous system" and improvements in coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy come about through practice.
Our method in targeting these areas in class are done with our Gymnastic sessions and the EMOM sessions we have for the Olympic Lifts, by focusing on quality movement vs speed for reps, we can focus more time on positional work and skills.
**Note: Power and speed are adaptations of both training and practice. **
The secret sauce
So to achieve "Fitness", i.e. competence in all 10 physical skills, you have to ensure you are obtaining the right mix of training and practise. How much though?
Ben Bergeron (coach of worlds fittest female Katrin Davidsdottir) states that:
Ben also believes that "More Training is not better... Better training is better". And its often advice I feed back to people when we are looking at skills, such as the kip.
Proceeding to complete poorly executed (i.e breaking through the hips) kips isn't great training. Sure it may get your a faster time in a Metcon buts its a good way to injure yourself. Spending more time in practising your kipping technique (working on the agility aspect - being able to go from flexion (hollow hold) to extension (arch hold)) or working on shoulder mobility and then applying a better technique to your training will yield much greater, long term results.
Movements like the Double Under is also a great example of a movement that needs to be practised and cant just be trained in a MetCon. The Co-ordination and accuracy needs to be "practised" before the movement can be used in "training".