Only 16 Years Old and Among the Fittest in the World

It takes adult levels of dedication and time to become a teen athlete at the highest level but, you’re still a kid. Your training is going to have to be well thought out.

Tori Dow’s mom got her into CrossFit at about 13 years old. Tori’s mom, who is pretty good at CrossFit herself, wanted her daughter to get some of the benefits and jump a little higher.

So, they started training together and competing against each other. The daughter, at first, gets beaten by the mom and then, eventually,  the daughter started to be the one doing the beating. Tori still maintained her full calendar of work at school and volleyball practice. Despite her commitments, she begged her mom to take her to the CrossFit Games in 2015. Her mom says, no way, you just started. That was enough to give Tori the challenge of proving her devotion to CrossFit.

Her mom brought her to me about 11 weeks before this year’s Games. I started to work with her on the mental game, her endurance, strength, and every aspect of her preparation. It wasn’t a whole lot of time to prepare an athlete for competition at Games level. We were looking at ten scored events, instead of the 6 or 7 we had gotten used to seeing, and a lot more running and swimming than we were used to. They’d also added a lot of movements that you don’t traditionally see in the teen and masters divisions. Also, this was going to be only the second year with a teenage division.

In preparing for the Games, obviously, there wasn’t a whole to go off of historically. It was all new. And the thing is, Tori is still a kid. Even though she is doing a 160 pound snatch and clean and jerking 200 pounds, doing everything a CrossFit athlete should be doing, she is still developing physically and I have to take that into consideration when I am training her.

In the first video, Tori talks a little about herself. I think it would be great for anyone who is a teenage athlete, their parents, or someone who coaches youth to listen to Tori because her journey through CrossFit will probably be very relatable. Not everyone can be as gifted, talented, and successful at CrossFit as Tori, but any athlete her age should understand what it takes to succeed at sports at the highest level. How many typical teenagers do you know who are up at 5 am every day for practice? And that’s just before breakfast, not to mention the hours after school.

In the video below, I am going to talk about my experience of coaching Tori. It’s important to really emphasize the fact that she is still a kid. As talented as these kids are, and I have trained a lot of them, and you have to always remember that you have a responsibility to protect their development at a very sensitive point in their lives.

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