Archive | February 2014

So you think you can coach?

Grassroots CrossFit is all about friends helping each other in the garage and sharing any knowledge or experience they might have. This is cool and if that is how you experience CrossFit then you will know that sometimes you need a little help from someone with some more tricks up their sleeve, someone who coaches for a living.
Enter the CrossFit Box. There are paid staff of different competency levels who are not only paid to solve your problems they are insured against the unlikely but possible situation where their solutions hurt someone. Every non employee is not covered. But aside from the obvious litigation issues all coaches on staff at your local box have complete access to the more experienced coaches at your box and they are hopefully pursuing further coaching knowledge via a number of mediums – if you don’t think this is the case train somewhere else.

Visiting Coaches/pseudo coaches
Just because you are a personal trainer or a level 1 CrossFit coach does not give you a pass to coach at someone else’s gym. There are literally thousands of people with these qualifications a fraction of those people are employed in the industry and a fraction of those people are good at what they do. I coach from the class at a number of gyms that I visit because I have a relationship with the box owner that enables me to do so. They are comfortable enough with my experience and delivery style that they do not perceive any problem – I coach away from my place of employment with full awareness that I am directly liable for all advice and coaching I give and I am ok with that.
If you are visiting somewhere and want to help out – clear it with the most senior person in charge first.

What is really frustrating to owners of boxes or gyms is that people have the audacity to turn up to the gym as an athlete or client and then try to coach others. Imagine the response you would get if you started giving out neck rubs in the waiting room of the masseuse or if you jumped the counter at the coffee shop and pulled your new friend a cappuccino – “it’s ok I did a course”.
These people that you are imposing upon by trying to help are flat out trying to making ends meet (gyms don’t really make money) and you want to take away the best part of their day which is helping someone achieve a physical milestone – shame on you.

When someone is butterfly ing with ease or muscling up like you could only dream remember a few things – 1. That took hard work and if you haven’t worked hard at the pieces that have been given to you then a trick isn’t going to shortcut the hard work process.
2. Kipping anything – burpee, HSPU, Muscle up, Pull up you name it – is for one reason only, to do more work in less time. It most certainly is not to make the workout easier or to help CrossFitters avoid the tedium of extensive practice.

Please master the basics before you try to innovate or copy games level athlete’s innovations. How are your strict push-ups to a 2 second cadence? can you do 10 ring rows with shoulder control? Hollow rock for 1 min?2mins? No to any of the above? Hold off on the extra Muscle up work and attack those basics.

Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you can teach it or that other people should do it your way. One of the negative influences the sport of CF has on the practice of everyday CF is this paradigm of task completion regardless of method – just get it done. Not only is this ok in competition but it should be encouraged when there are cash prizes or team pride on the line. But when we are training we are aspiring towards an orthopaedic ideal movement ( which will vary from person to person) done with as much speed and as little rest as possible. Trust me, just because you can do MU doesn’t mean you can help someone achieve their orthopaedic ideal movement.

And after all that – I really do want you to help each other. Practice seeing if a back is flat or if knees are caving in, if shoulders are internally rotating and learn how to enthusiastically praise someone for their effort while suggesting that there is something in the movement that needs the attention of the coaches.

Really want to help coach your friends – encourage depth in the squat with a flat strong back and discourage rest when the workout gets hard.

Oh you want to coach the sexy stuff like muscle ups and Kipping HSPU – do a level 1, intern at a box near you and you are on your way.