Posts Tagged ‘coaching’

Today I received one of the best compliments ever!

A friend of mine, who I’ve coached in CrossFit for a long time, pulled me aside after class and said, “You know, I love coming to your classes, but I hate it, too!” Obviously I needed him to elaborate on this one a bit.

He went on to explain that when he works out on his own, he never warms up properly. It takes too much time, it’s not glamorous, and honestly sometimes he just doesn’t know what to do. When he comes to my classes, he said he always feels as though he is warmed up sufficiently, and ready to go!

Why share this compliment? It’s not to brag. In fact, quite the opposite! While I’m completely humbled and flattered by his words, it could have been me saying them aloud, myself! I ALSO don’t always spend enough time warming up when I work out. And it’s for those very same reasons. I’d rather “use the first round of the AMRAP to get warm” or “warm up as I go” to save time. Butttttt, I know that’s not the right thing to do!

As coaches, I feel it’s our job to prepare the athletes in class to be as safe as possible. That will typically involve some dynamic movement to get blood flowing, a bit of stretching and mobility to work through tension or soreness that may exist, and then some sort of skill work to prepare for the day’s training requirements.

At a previous job, I would write warm-ups for every single day, that would be completed by every class in the gym. To be completely honest, I dreaded doing this some weeks. Why? Because while I could have thrown something together in 20 minutes, that wasn’t my style. I wanted to keep things fun and varied. I wanted to introduce new movements to athletes and give them skills to learn. I wanted to make sure that regardless of ability level, the process I selected for that particular day would be effective for both national-level athletes and beginners alike.

It’s important to realize that as “CrossFit Coaches,” we’re tasked with far more than simply reading words on a white board to a group of people. The responsibility, and quite frankly the privilege, we’ve been given is to make our athletes better than they were when they walked through the door. This could mean helping them prevent or recover from injury, improving strength or range of motion, giving them a safe place to disconnect from the stress of life for sixty minutes, and any combination of the above plus countless other options.

The next time you find yourself preparing to lead a class or train a client, try to remember that. Yeah, my friend told me that he always feels warm when he takes my class, and that feels great to hear. But really, it served as a reminder to myself that by striving to never “phone it in,” I’m actively working to ensure that every athlete I work with has the greatest likelihood of success. I don’t take that responsibility lightly, and don’t think others should either.

Also, it reminded me that I need to warm up more effectively myself before I work out alone. 

Stay safe and have fun out there, friends!

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In this segment of Ask Smashby, I answer a question from my friend Travis in Florida about how he should choose a CrossFit gym.

I then address a question I received from a local athlete about how to deal with scheduling conflicts in life that interfere with your ability to train at your gym.

DISCLAIMER!! – I want to make it very clear that, at one point in this video, in no way was I bad-mouthing another CrossFit gym. I want to assure all of you that I am only passing on input I have received from other athletes who specifically trained there. I would not say something bad about another local gym. My goal is to help in any way possible, and in this case I provided the only input I have ever heard from athletes’ first-hand experiences.

Ok. Enjoy.

In my opinion, good teachers have the ability to influence kids in a way no one else can. They have a different impact than parents, siblings or friends, and can spark intellectual curiosity to an extent that in some ways cannot be matched outside of their “classroom” setting. I have always been truly inspired by good teachers. I can list the names of a few of mine over the course of my 16 years of schooling that I know I will never forget.

This is one of the reasons I am so proud of my very good friend, Broderick Turner. Broderick, (who used to introduce himself in business meetings to Senior Vice Presidents as “Broderick, like Mathew Broderick… only black”) is a math teacher at Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia, and has found a way of connecting with his students unlike any other teacher I have seen. This type of stuff makes me strive to want to be more like him as a teacher and a coach. I’m really proud of him and what he’s doing.

Some of you may be wondering: “How does any of this even remotely relate to CrossFit?”

First of all, to me, being a CrossFit Coach is much more than just helping people learn about how to do a squat. It’s about explaining the “WHY’s” to your athletes, showing people the benefits of efficient movement not only in the gym, but outside as well, and then sitting back and marveling as you see their lives change for the better through the knowledge you’ve helped them learn. We are more than just “trainers”. Each one of us has the title, each one of us should have the skills, but most importantly, each one of us absolutely has the obligation and responsibility to be teachers in our gyms.

Here’s a video of how Broderick took a potentially boring task (teaching the Quadratic Formula to his 9th and 10th graders), and related it to his students. He didn’t sacrifice the integrity of the subject matter, he didn’t settle for below “standard”, but he did break the subject matter down in a way that probably got the attention of his kids a lot more than standing at a chalk board and preaching in a monotone voice.

Mr. Turner, great job on keeping your teaching “Constantly Varied” and very “Functional”!! There are a lot of CrossFitters out there who will appreciate your efforts and creativity, and I can only hope that more teachers out there take this kind of pride and passion in their work. With that, our educational system is going to grow and change in ways that are nothing but positive!

*****The video had an error while he uploaded it onto YouTube! When we get a complete version, I’ll post it on here. But this will still give you an idea of what he’s doing!*****