5 Tips For Crossfit Trainers
1) Come in prepared
What seems obvious to you may not be obvious to a lot of people: Come in prepared to teach. Most Crossfit gyms post the workout the night before, and even if they don’t, talk to whoever programs for your box and find out what the workout is. And that isn’t just so you can look like you know what you’re doing.
This is about the safety of your members and the general flow of the class.
If the day’s workout includes some kind of squat, be prepared for it. Help them open up their hips, activate that booty, and be sure to brush up on proper movement standards and cues.
Cues are the most significant thing to me when I prepare for class the next day. Understanding vocal and visual cues will help you relay information to your members, and may be the simple solution to a problem they have. A
n example that worked for me was “keep pulling until you’re pushing” when you snatch. It may not make sense when looking from the outside, but it clicked something in my head. But will I apply that cue to others? Maybe yes. Maybe no. But being able to use different cues in different situations will make you appear knowledgeable and will ensure that the member is getting all the info they need.
2) Different Strokes for Different Folks
Everyone is different. From our fingerprints to how we like our bacon cooked (I like mine in the trash where it belongs). I wholeheartedly consider this the most important thing I have learned. When I first started coaching, I tried explaining movements in a way that made sense to me. What was the issue? The members aren’t me and they never will be. That is simply saying that they and I are two completely different people.
We learn in different ways; understanding something one way isn’t better than the other as long as you understood it.
This also applied to the goals and mindsets of certain members. You may come across some members who live and breathe training and pushing themselves to their limits. Then you come across those who just want to break a sweat; They are more focused on just coming in consistently, socializing, and staying generally healthy. People like this couldn’t care less about how much they clean and jerk, and that’s perfectly fine. Always teach proper movement standards and correct and faults you may see regardless of whether they seem to care or not, but just be aware of their goals. Knowing who your members are and what they want will improve your relationship with them, as well as help you run your class and make you look like you know what you’re doing.
Ask anyone who knows me and who I have taught and they will tell you that I am a soft spoken person. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it is just who I am and who I always will be. I became more aware of this when I first started teaching. Often I would repeat myself because someone couldn’t hear me, or I just spoke so quietly and casually that I what I had to say could of have been quickly disregarded. What I lacked was confidence. At the time, I could have given you the meaning of life, but my words and presentation of them wouldn’t convince you otherwise.
I like to think I have improved a lot in that aspect: I aim to speak clearly and coherently, I repeat myself (if necessary), and I just make sure my words maintain decorum in the box. It is important to always be heard, and to say what you mean and mean what you say.
4) Practice What you Preach
Don’t be a hypocrite.
Do not tell someone to do something if you could never fathom yourself doing the same. Don’t tell someone that they should run 5 miles a day if you’re quick to drive somewhere that would take 5 minutes of walking. I feel the best way to lead is by example; I am more likely to believe that something will work if the person who told me can prove it. Always be willing to learn and try new things, so that you can in turn spread that knowledge outward.
5) Learn something everyday
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing”- Socrates.
Despite what my father says, I know that I don’t know everything. Acknowledging that you don’t know everything leaves you humble, and open to learn. Without the willingness and capability to learn, we do not grow. Being prepared to learn and try something new will open you to things you never knew existed.
In regards to teaching, you learn ways to improve your performance as an instructor as well as the performance of your members as athletes.
Every day you should strive to learn something new;
It could be a correction on a movement, a verbal cue, or just something about yourself as a person. Inclination to learn can only better you.
There are many ways that I can improve as a trainer and an athlete, and I wake up eager to figure out how I can. Instilling these lessons and habits has improved my experience as a Crossfit instructor, and (hopefully) the experience for my members and all I come across. And hopefully in a year’s time, I can grow to levels I never knew I was capable of.