After I got my CrossFit Level One certificate, I immediately dove into getting hands-on experience by doing some co-coaching with the coaches at CrossFit Citrine. Each CrossFit class can be seen as 5 different pieces:
- Whiteboard Briefing
- General Warm-Up
- Movement Teaching & Specific Warm-Up
- WOD (Workout of the Day)
- Strength (2-3 times a week)
- Wrap Up / Cool Down / Scoring
For the most of June, I was able to lead a piece or two for each class I was assisting in. At the end of the day, I would reflect and journal at least one lesson I learned that would improve my coaching ability. Here are some of the lessons I learned.
Say less, be clear and concise. When I did the whiteboard briefing and talked in circles. Explaining a lot during the whiteboard brief is unnecessary. As coaches, we’re not here to show off how much we know. Be quick and clear, so we can get the athletes moving right away. It’s about them, not us.
Come to class prepared to be able to teach the movement to someone with zero fitness background. During my first time teaching a movement, and I had no clue how to explain the box jump in simple instructions to an athlete that’s never seen them before.
When a prescribed movement leans towards high skill and less GPP (General Physical Preparedness) focused, modify to a GPP variation. Example: Hang Squat Snatch modified to Hang Power Snatch with an Overhead Squat. Athletes looking to compete in CrossFit can still do the Hang Squat Snatch.
Instructions need to be short and actionable. Don’t ‘suggest’ to the new athletes, direct and tell them what to do. This is necessary for the new athletes that may get overwhelmed with all the modification/scaling options. Many look to the coach for specific directions and guidance.
Teaching movements means reinforcing the points of performance. Only teach strategy for intermediate/advanced athletes after proper mechanics are visible. I realized that teaching strategy to new athletes just overwhelms and confuses them even more and can introduce bad habits or bad technique in the WOD.
Also know how to teach the warm-up movements. Don’t assume that everyone has a small background of fitness knowledge. I need to be able to know how to teach warm-up movements just as well as teach WOD movements.
Plan scaling modifications before class. When reviewing the lesson plans, think about scaling options for athletes in class. Not only do we have constantly varied movements, we also want constantly varied modifications. Ex. If an athlete always does ring rows for pull-up modifications, switch to jumping pull ups.