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Tex | 30.09.2012
People Helping People
It’s Monday again, and 400 new Level 1 Trainers have been unleashed out into the world. Some will apply what they learned this weekend for their own training, some will begin coaching at established boxes, and some will open their own box. There has been a lot of growth in CrossFit since my inception into the coaching ranks back in ‘09; hundreds of boxes, thousands of coaches, and hundreds of thousands of athletes all with their own story and reason for coaching and CrossFitting. So many boxes, coaches, and communities to choose from, DC alone has close to 10, with who knows how many going to open in the next few months.
There is one thing we know that will have the greatest impact on the success of these boxes and that is the quality of the coaches. The coaches set the tone for the culture, the program, and quality control. There is a lot of responsibility on the coach’s shoulders, whether it’s working with individual athletes, coaching classes or managing a whole program. As we all try to find a gym that satisfies our needs, I wanted to bring to light some things to look for in quality coaches as you test drive these new coaches, try new boxes, and meet new athletes.
I have contacted four coaches I highly respect in the field who I know won’t bullshit me, and asked them to assist in putting together a ‘coach’s check list’. The goal for this post began as putting together a guideline for our athletes of what to look for in coaches, but it evolved beyond that. Each answer I received was incredibly unique and I didn’t want to take away from that and leave any information out that may help you in finding a quality coach. In order to keep these write ups manageable, I will sharing one a day through out the week. Please follow us through this week and I encourage you to listen to all of these coaches have to say. Some of the thoughts will be repeated a couple times, but that should show you how important those points are to look for in a coach. Thank you, Cali, Jim, Quint and Chris for participating, and thank you, CFDunicorns for listening.
We will begin with Quint’s thoughts. Some of you are familiar with Quint’s coaching style, and some are not. For those of you who aren’t, you’re going to get a good sense from this post. Enjoy.
What a Coach Should Have:
1) An unquenchable thirst for knowledge. A good coach is always searching, learning, absorbing, adapting, and – most importantly – willing to do whatever it takes to provide a better overall experience for his or her clients. If a client asks a question the coach doesn’t know the answer to, the coach shouldn’t try justifying their lack of knowledge or talking around the question. He or she should straight-up say, “You know what, I’m not sure, but I’ll look into it.” That night, he or she should be researching their ass off looking for the answer to that question. Clients don’t just pay to get their asses kicked by stupid workouts, they’re paying for the knowledge imparted unto them via their coaches. CrossFit isn’t cheap, so the coaching shouldn’t feel like it either.
2) Similar to the above, every coach (and athlete, for that matter) should always understand that they don’t know everything. There’s always more to learn and apply. If a coach tells you something is truth because he read it somewhere on the internet, leave.
3) A good attitude. Simple, but there are some d-bags out there. A coach should be stern, but positive. Demanding, but understanding. Strict, but flexible.
4) Patience. If you’re having trouble with a lift/weight after a few practice attempts and the coach says, “Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out during the metcon,” swiftly smash their face in with a tire iron Natural Born Killers style. A coach should be willing to ensure you’re doing things WELL before you do them A LOT. And if you’re still struggling, they should force you to modify the workout accordingly. Even if you’d prefer to flail around with a lift/weight you shouldn’t be doing, a good coach will tell that flailing is not an option in his or her gym and force you modify/scale accordingly.
5) Enforce/prioritize movement quality. Again, similar to above. If your first day of Foundations starts with “Fran,” that gym is crap and doesn’t get it. It’s called “Foundations” …you don’t build a house by taking a crap in a hole and then laying down the concrete. A good coach builds his or her clients slowly, efficiently, and patiently. They ensure movement quality before allowing quantity. If your reps turn to shit, a good coach calls you on it until you fix it. A good coach doesn’t count shit reps.
Classic Coach Problems
1a) Poor programming. If someone put together workouts because they think they’re awesome or hardcore, then they’re the reason for the earthquake in Haiti.
1b) Significant lack of strength work. Guess what? You don’t need to do a metcon everday. Shocking, I know. A good coach prioritizes strength — it’s the hardest thing it build. Conditioning is easy.
1c) Overly complex/long workouts. They’re dumb. For instance, a 2k row is better than 8 rounds of 17 SDLP @ 135, 30 box jump, 23 snatches @ 135, and 30 wall walks. The long, crazy workouts have their place, but simple is always better. If a gym programs long/crazy/stupid every single day, stay away.
What I Strive For On A Daily Basis
1) To ensure my clients feel/know that they’re progressing. Oftentimes, people get stuck, plateau, and get down on themselves. I tell them to stick it out and be patient. You won’t set a PR everyday.
2) Enforce movement quality above all else. People think you need to sacrifice form for the sake of speed. Tell that to Rich Froning. Move flawlessly at light weights, then add weight. Then add reps. Quality >> Load >> Quantity.
3) Keep them coming back. Don’t rub them the wrong way. Give them a reason to come back and do better, work harder, etc.
Squats 3×5- add 5# from last workout
3 x 1 Manual Resistance Pull Up + Max Rep Strict Pull Ups
Complete 8 rounds:
3 Max Effort Broad Jumps
25 yard sprint
*Rest is the walk back to the start
Post loads, reps and thoughts to comments.