“I believe great coaches have the ability to go beyond the movements and connect with their athletes” is the definition of one of the most renowned CrossFit coaches out there: Ben Bergeron. He not only trains the best elite athletes in the world, but he also runs an affiliate and programmes for athletes of all levels.
Technically, a CrossFit coach must have, to teach, a Level 1 certification delivered by CrossFit HQ. That is the minimum requirement, at least in some countries, to start instructing CrossFit in a box. As the number of boxes increased, especially in big cities like London, most gyms have been wanting to hire highly qualified coaches which, in terms of CrossFit competency, equals to a Level 2 and in come cases a Level 3.
Like in every industry, having a whole set of qualifications is not necessarily a synonym of excellence. Therefore, what characterises a CrossFit coach as the best in his field?
They really know how to communicate
It’s one thing to be an athlete and to know how to perform all the movements in CrossFit. It’s another to teach someone how to actually do them.
If that person is not willing to spend time with someone and share its knowledge, all the certifications in the world are useless.
Experience however, might play the biggest role in establishing the qualities of a coach. Injuries, failures, set-backs but also competitions, victories, and accomplishments play a major part in building rapport with members. It just creates a “human” bond which can never be found in books or theoretical courses.
They never stop learning
Because every one is unique, there is not one way to coach. Having the ability to adapt to an athlete’s personality and learning process is key. Someone might need a ton of drills, another person a simple demonstration, while others just time to “think “of the movement before actually performing it.
It is the coach’s job to meet member’s needs, and research, experiment and offer as many solutions as they can to see progression in their athlete’s journey.
They share their passion
CrossFit should sparkle in their eyes, their enthusiasm should be contagious. Otherwise, why would we, sat our desk all day, stressed and focused on personal matters, drag ourselves to the gym and suffer through complicated movements?
We sign up for pain, but we mostly come back every day to train for fun, loose ourselves in the workouts, and be part of a community.
They give cues like no other
Rare are the coaches who are into competition, let alone been the Games or Regionals. Some might no even be able to demo muscle-ups or C2B butterflies. Does it matter?
On paper, maybe. In practice, not at all! The best coaches are not the best in their sport, but they excel are transmitting the skills.
Their eagle eye is capable of detecting details in a snatch, or give precise cues in a muscle-up which can radically change the movements.
What does NOT define the best CrossFit coach
- An endless Instagram feed of PR’s
- Their physical appearance
- The top athletes they coach on the side
- The certifications that have acquired
Next time you look for the best coach in a CrossFit gym, experience their class first instead of looking at their Instagram. You might be surprised!