Taking your own classes as a coach or owner can give you a lot of information about your gym. It also tells the other coaches and members in the gym that you believe in the program and product you are offering. What does it say if a coach expects his members to follow the gym’s program, but does something completely different during open gym time? It would be like the CEO of Ford driving a Toyota, or a restaurant owner ordering take-out while he’s at work. Use your classes as a time to gather information and built a rapport with your members. Here are some things you can look for or gain:
Performance of the coach leading the class
You can use this as a time to observe the ability level of your coaches, their strengths and weaknesses, and the 6 fundamentals of coaching (teaching, seeing, correcting, group management, presence and attitude, and demonstration). If you have standardized evaluation tool, be sure to delineate to the coach whether or not he’s being formally evaluated, or if you’re just taking a class.
Look to see how engaged your members are and whether or not they seem to be grasping the information presented. Make a mental note of their attitudes and overall demeanor. Members who skip the 400m warm-up run because they’re too “advanced” can slowly erode the credibility of the class. On the other hand, a class that has a positive, encouraging atmosphere is a great indicator that your classes and coaches are firing on all cylinders.
Hopefully the members in the class can identify you as one of the gym’s coaches. For coaches who only coach one or two classes at the opposite end of the day, this is a great time to introduce yourself and build credibility among members you see less often. This builds confidence that there is a sense of unity and pride amongst the coaches about the product they offer, and it makes members feel more comfortable and willing to take a different class, having met and chatted with you beforehand. A sense of humanity. Many members perceive the coaches as the best athletes in the gym. This may be true in some instances, but we all suffer the same pain and discomfort during Fran as a new member using an empty bar and banded pull-ups. By sharing the struggle and proving that not even you are not immune to the potency of CrossFit, you become more relatable, approachable, and human.
You give the class coach credibility
This is a win/win. If you are known as one of the more skilled coaches, you give credibility to a less experienced coach because you are listening and doing as they say (listen and do as they say – correct them after class unless it’s going to hurt someone). On the other hand, if you’re a less experienced coach who participates in the Head Coach’s class, you demonstrate that you are looking to improve your craft. Ask questions. Be part of the community.
Written by Hunter Wood