Crossfit Dupont Archives
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
Tex | 01.10.2012
Welcome, if you missed yesterday’s post or skipped down to the workout because it was too long, I encourage you to back and have a read. Many CrossFits out there with a number of coaches. I have asked four coaches I highly respect and have boat loads of experience to share necessary coach’s qualities, common problems and what they try and strive for each day when they step into the gym. Continuing with our series, today’s workout called for handstands, so naturally, we have Jim‘s entry below.
There are three qualities that I look for in a coach, and which I emphasize in my own coaching. If you keep these at the forefront of your mind when searching, it will serve you well.
First and foremost, do no harm. Now if you train long enough, there will inevitably be sprains, strains, and possibly worse. On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero. But your coach should be mitigating these risks anyway they can.
This extends not only to immediate traumatic danger that can occur in the weight room, but also issues that may cause injuries long term – lack of mobility or incorrect form with overzealous amounts of weight.
Safety in the weight room is everyone’s responsibility, but it should be the first thing on every coach’s mind.
2. Progress (in the athlete)
In the quest for safety in training, you do not want to treat a strapping young athlete like a hospice patient. Learning to safely push the limits is what coaches should do best. This comes in different ways like form correction, mobility suggestions, intelligent programming, and dietary recommendations. The coach looks for every avenue in which to pull further progress from his or her athletes.
At the end of the day, you need to be making measurable progress, or the coaching is ineffective. With that statement though, I’ll give these caveats. First, progress is not linear. Various life factors, perhaps even intelligent programming itself, may find you in the gym moving less weight than you did two weeks ago. Measure progress over a longer period of time, and effective coaching should increase your abilities. As you become stronger and get more training years under your belt, this increase will be of a much smaller degree, and the PR’s may come painfully slow, but there should eventually be progress.
The second caveat is that the athlete must actually put in the hard work and focus to earn those gains. Just showing up to the gym every day isn’t going to get you strong, just like showing up to work every day isn’t going to get you rich. An athlete can not blame their coach if they are not eating well, not sleeping well, and/or not focusing and busting their hump in the gym. Conversely, a good coach will not put all blame on the athlete for a lack of progress. Perhaps that coach’s programming is ineffective. Perhaps they are not conveying the information in an effective way. Both the coach and athlete have their own responsibilities, and must work together to succeed.
3. Progress (in the coach)
Does your coach even lift? Are they fairly proficient in what they are teaching you? Now a coach doesn’t have to be an elite athlete to help you – actually, I’ve seen numerous elite athletes that make terrible coaches – but it helps if they can do what they’re teaching. If I’m climbing a mountain, I’d rather talk to the guy who’s made it to the top instead of the guy who sat at the bottom studying it.
I’ll repeat this though, they do not have to be elite athletes, and perhaps they can not do or have never done what they are coaching. For example, a weightlifting coach may train an athlete to achieve a world record. In this example, the coach’s own lifting history is secondary to whether they can improve their athlete. But in the end, a coach with more personal experience and greater abilities is preferred and will be sought after. If a coach hasn’t reached a certain level themselves, then they better have a host of athletes which they’ve successfully trained.
What are some things you have taken from other coaches for your tool kit?
I am a habitual overexplainer. When coaching, this is a terrible trait. In the gym you want to explain as few cues to an athlete in as few words as possible. Talk less, say more.
When coaching, one should focus on positive cues – what the athlete should be doing – as opposed to negative cues – what the athlete shouldn’t be doing. For instance saying “push your knees out” during a squat is more effective than saying “don’t let your knees cave in”.
Know your coaching limits and know when to refer an athlete to another coach or resource. Don’t misrepresent your experience and abilities. The athlete will respect you more if you help them instead of bullshit them.
Not everyone can do every exercise. Learn to adapt.
What are some commonly bad things you’ve seen from CF coaches out there?
I see coaches sacrifice good form for faster time or more weight. Sloppy form may occasionally emerge when an athlete is in competition and pushing their limits, but it should not be a regular occurrence in the gym when they’re training. Training is not competition, regardless of people’s attitudes these days. Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent. If you are using sloppy, god-awful technique day in and day out, then you may be able to move more weight, but you will severely limit yourself in the long run and open yourself up to more injuries.
As a coach, you are there to keep people safe and get them stronger, not to make friends. It’s not easy to tell people they’re using too much weight, or their cleans look more like jumping jacks, but it’s what coaches have to do. If someone has a problem with constructive criticism, then it’s their problem to deal with, not yours.
A coach needs to know when to lower an athlete’s weight in an exercise, or give them an easier variation to work on.
What do you strive to do with every class/client everyday?
I want every athlete to be a little better each time they step into the gym – whether that’s more weight moved, increased mobility, or a better understanding of an exercise. In the very least, if they come into the gym with a good attitude, good focus, and put in the hard work, then I’m happy. String enough of those days together, and an athlete will be successful.
Skill Practice and Review:
Handstand Holds and Progressions
Complete for time:
30 DB Box Step Ups*- 20″
50 Banded Good Mornings*
*Can be broken up in any amount of sets and reps.
Post loads and times to comments.