A fitness coaches job is to make you move and perform better. There are many tools that coaches can develop to make them good coaches. Some can be learned through study of text, audio, video etc. Basics of anatomy & physiology, exercise science, and even nutrition can be read and applied BUT its the tools developed over time through experience that really make a coach. Different experiences create different coaches and it’s the ones that can apply that knowledge at translate into results for their athletes over and over again that will be the best.
Developing the coaching eye is one of the most important skills a coach can possess. The ability to see, process, and analyze all your movement flaws in 1 or 2 .5 second reps takes practice. Looking for timing, mechanics, mobility, (in)balances, etc. knowing what they are and being able to quickly deliver the right que to fix. Crossfit creates intensity not only in the workouts for the athletes, but for the coaches too! Having multiple athletes,skill levels, flaws, and limited time for each a crossfit coach must be on top of their skills and identify the problem fast. Developing the coaching eye is necessary. At Basin CrossFit, the coaches work on these skills (along with others) together in a role played scenario every week. Developing an eye to notice the slightest of imperfections and how to fix them. There job is to make athletes better and they are sharpening the tools to do that with. Check out this slo-mo video of 2 different lifters. The title is amateur vs. olympian.
Notice the flaws in the first lifter? Maybe you didn’t even know those were flaws. But i’m sure you noticed the over flexed ankles, forward knees, and loss of posterior chain in the bottom of the catch. Or maybe you didn’t. That’s where a good coach comes in. To a new lifter, the lifts feel pretty good whenever you complete them. You don’t have much to compare them too. You dont watch your self when you lift, so if it felt good it was probably good right? At the most you can video and slow it down like the one above but now you gotta know HOW to fix what you see, if you see it.
The flaws are usually already there just very subtle in other movements such as airsquats, pushups, and pullups. When we add the high speed and power plus the mobility of olympic lifts these flaws become more apparent. A good coach will notice the flaws in your air squat, burpees, ball slams, medball cleans, and other low impact low load moves. In a well coached class you will always hear a endless battle of “GET YOUR KNEES OUT”, “CHEST UP”, ARMS STRAIGHT” and many other short effective cues from the time the class starts till the last athlete is done. Not because they all have horrible form, quite the opposite, but because we all need constant reminders as we blaze a trail of intensity. A warmup is the preparation for how this workout will go, identifying and fixing subtle flaws such as pushing your knees out in the air squat in the warmup will set you up for success in the moderate load squat cleans your doing in the wod. If it wasn’t addressed initially you would get away with subpar airsquats it in the warmup just fine, or even in a long benchmark such as Cindy. But you would be forced to address it in the wod when we added that intensity. Usually resulting in dropping the bar forward or not catching it in a full squat position until you make the connection of pushing those knees out. But with a good coaching eye over your shoulder and couple quick cues, that could’ve already been fixed in the warmup. Its also a constant pursuit for the athlete, fixing that air squat everyday eventually turns into a perfect air squat. That can fix alot of problems.
This is why the task of coaching is never complete, the coaches must constantly keep sharpening that “eye” and not let small things slide…….ever. I’ve often said the CrossFit coach has the hardest job of all fitness professionals. Crossfit athletes are SMART people! When something takes a interest in them or if they see a weakness they want to fix it now, and the CF coach needs to be on top of what and how to fix it before they turn to the dark magic of the unfiltered google machine. Crossfit is broad and inclusive by definition, and that means the coach has to be too! We can’t hide behind being just a one skill coach. There must be a understanding of human movement in all aspects of fitness. Weightlifting, gymnastics, speed, endurance, kettlbells, rowing, biking, running are just some of the modalities we must master. The best coaches will have knowledge, experience, and coaching skills in all of these and more! Finding a good coach can be the difference between trial and error and constant progress. Trial and error can take years and sometimes even end with injury, burnout, or the worst……absolutly nothing at all. But good coaching will lead you to constant steady progress. Not too much and not to little, but just right.
Check out our certified coaches here at Basin CrossFit here.
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