Good CrossFit coaches are often at the heart of each successful affiliate. They take their love of CrossFit and instil those values into their community. However, a great CrossFit coach goes further than that. A great CrossFit coach is not only dedicated but they possess the competence and expertise to extract more from their athletes and drive them to want to be better. As a CrossFit athlete, we all look for that coach who we can trust and respect enough to allow this process to occur. We see this happening all the time at CrossFit 4504 between members and our coaching team. Coaches Lisa, Lance and Mic are a team who are dedicated to ensuring our athletes achieve their goals in a supportive and safe environment. A great CrossFit coach is personal and different for everyone, but they should all carry at least a couple of the following attributes.
Sure CrossFit is made up of constantly varied movements, intensity and load in a variety of different WODs. Any coach who has passed their Level 1 (and there are a lot) can make up something which covers this methodology, but what is the focus for their athletes?
Great coaches will have a 6 – 12 week programming cycle focussing on one aspect of their athletes’ training. Based on results throughout the box, they will program for the majority of athletes as well as those ranked in the top and bottom end of the spectrum. A great coach will have a focus in their programming block. They might be looking to build strength in their athletes with heavy loads and longer rep schemes in their WODs. Or maybe raise their members’ red line capabilities with short, fast WODs, designed to be completed without breaks and leave athletes gasping for air at the finish.
Head Coach Lisa programs for the CrossFit 4504 crew and creates WODs which push every single one of them out of their comfort zone. By using the results data, our members can retest certain WODs and lifts to track their progress, measure improvements and identify areas which require further training.
The 3 L’s – Learning, Listening, Looking
This is a really important quality in identifying a great CrossFit coach. No great coach ever stops learning and they aren’t afraid to make mistakes. They may not always look forward to realising these mistakes, but who does? The thing in dealing with humans is that everyone comes with a different set of needs, rules and prompts. CrossFit can be a very demanding form of training so great coaches have to be relatable as well as understand the importance of their athletes strengths and limitations.
Head Coach Lisa has been involved with CrossFit since 2011 and is immensely understanding of the many different perspectives that CrossFit 4504 members bring to the box. Indeed, her own CrossFit experience is very distinctive –
“I know from personal experience that everyone’s journey to CrossFit is unique and the path to fitness and health is not always easy. I spent many years struggling with my weight and other issues such as depression which really impacted on my lifestyle and motivation to train. When I discovered CrossFit, I rediscovered myself – I gained confidence and reclaimed my life! I’m so grateful for this experience, not just from a personal development perspective, but because it allows me to understand EXACTLY where you might be right now.”
The coaching staff at CrossFit 4504 not only look at their athletes – but they also look FURTHER. Further than the sweat and bad technique in rushing through a WOD. Great coaches like ours look AFTER their athletes. They don’t let them finish a WOD with a weight that’s too heavy and results in a crappy standard of movement. Lisa, Lance and Mic look further than just finishing the WOD and they look after our athletes by scaling or modifying load, reps and progressions when required. They ensure that members understand the cues given to them which provides not only correct movement standards but safety during WODs. They also possess the awareness and ability to assess our athletes and work with them on training methods and accessory skill work for improving their technique and performance.
Focus on Foundations
The CrossFit 4504 athletes know that technique is far more important than heavy or fast. Building good movement standards from the beginning stems from great coaches who care how athletes move both in and out of the box.
The benefits of returning to basics in any sport are infinitely valuable – and the CrossFit methodology is no different. New and experienced CrossFit athletes who are coached to repeat movements stripped back to basic progressions reinforces proper standards and not only makes training safer but in the long term will give athletes more personal gains. CrossFit 4504 follows a strict level of progressions on movements – which often overlap between other movements (think Wall ball, Front Squat, Overhead Squat for example). Progressing from one level to the next will help our athletes in the long term and our coaches know the importance that correct technique has on other aspects of our members’ lives.
They are passionate about it. Coach Lance has always been involved in sports, yet has loved the new skills and challenges of CrossFit for the past 4 years –
“My passion for becoming a CrossFit Coach was driven by a desire to help people move better and lead lives that are full and active. Even though I’m now a coach, I still participate in CrossFit and I’m currently working hard on becoming a truly multi-disciplinary CrossFit athlete. I’ll work hard to help anyone achieve whatever goals you set for yourself.”
Great coaches know that respect is given as long as it is shown – so by showing CrossFit 4504 athletes that their quality of life is valued above all else, our coaches have earned the trust and respect of the community. Our members can see that their coaches value them first as people and secondly as athletes and our focus on movement standards will always reflect that promise.
A great coach needs to build relationships with their athletes. Not the ‘I want to practise making babies’ type of relationship! (although that does happen on occasion – we can assure you that all our coaches are happily married!) We’re talking the kind of relationship where a great coach basically puts the needs of others above their own. CrossFit 4504 coaches listen to the aspirations, limitations, injury concerns and fears of their athletes and can apply these thoughts and experiences during training. Our CrossFit coaches not only remember names but also the needs of their athletes. Injuries, mobility issues and other concerns can be worked on with accessory skills, drills and strengthening exercises. This shows our athletes that they aren’t just a number and builds a solid foundation for a good coach/athlete relationship.
Coach Mic has been CrossFitting since 2010 and believes CrossFit can be done by anyone – including those with injuries and limitations –
“Too many people think that chronic pain is just a part of their life, but I’m of the opinion that you shouldn’t have to live with pain, you should mobilise, strengthen and work around injuries to become the best version of yourself. I honestly believe that CrossFit is the most efficient way to train for 99.9% of people and that any workout can be scaled for any level of ability or around pre-existing injuries.”
So these are some of the qualities of a great coach. Someone who will let you know when you do well, but also push you to identify and improve weaknesses. Someone who will make you see what you can be – a mentor to help you believe in yourself and your capabilities. A great coach makes you ask hard questions of yourself, time and again. They will push you to do more – to constantly leave your comfort zone. Someone who, at times, will piss you off more than anyone else – but you will love them for it.
Just as the CrossFit 4504 community love our coaches. Where the phrase ‘F- You’ is a term of endearment and the middle finger is as affectionate as a kiss on the cheek.
Our community is very fortunate to have 3 great coaches who are all respected and loved by our members. Our coaches are definitive of the term ‘GREAT’ and as a result, our members have the confidence to achieve all of their CrossFit goals.