It’s Not the Program. It’s Your Behavior.

Pat Barber Coaching, Competitions, GPP

This one’s for the WOD addicts, the fitness junkies, the two-a-dayers who never stop.

You’re probably not going to like what I have to say, but I’m saying it anyway with as much kindness as I can muster. Because someone needs to hold you accountable and to remind you to take responsibility for your own life.

If you’re burnt out, don’t jump to blaming CrossFit or your program before you self-reflect on your behavior.

Was a coach or program what truly led to burn out?

Or was it a series of choices and actions that you made?

Why do you feel like you need so much volume? What void are you trying to fill with fitness?

Just something to think about as we head into competition season.

If You See Something, Say Something

Janet Navarrette Coaching

You’ve heard the saying. Probably while waiting impatiently in a TSA line at the airport. “If you see something, say something…” Sounds easy enough. Report something that can potentially be harmful or suspect. I’d like to believe that suspicious activity doesn’t happen too often at the airport and if it does, I hope someone will “say something.”

When I had the job of developing coaches both nationally and internationally, this saying came up regularly in a different context. The coach would see a fault, know it was a fault, but for whatever reason, would not address or fix the fault with the client.

First, I assumed that it was probably because they were under pressure of a watchful eye since my tiny 5’1’’ frame is quite intimidating. But even after I gave them the note, it would happen again. And they definitely had the ability to see and identify faults because when I questioned them after, they were able to point them out. But for some reason, when it came to game time, they would freeze.

After experiencing this a number of times, I noticed a few trends that created this roadblock for coaches.

Confrontation
Some coaches (and perhaps just people in general) hate confrontation. What we have to understand is that being comfortable with confrontation and being confrontational are two completely different things. More importantly, one makes you a good coach while the latter just makes you an arsehole.

Pat Barber is a great example of someone who isn’t confrontational but isn’t afraid to correct anyone who needs to be corrected either. If Dave Castro did a workout in front of Pat and didn’t go below parallel, you better believe Pat would let him know.

Ultimately, it’s all about your delivery. If you deliver the message in a way that shows you care, it will make confronting a client about their poor form a lot easier. We all want to be the “good guy,” but not correcting your athletes will do more harm and turn you into a glorified cheerleader.

Confidence
Even though the coaches knew the faults were present, their lack of coaching confidence was a huge problem. This is a tough one to help with because confidence can’t be taught. But I can guarantee that over time if you continue to work on correcting, it becomes easier. You’ll see athletes adjust and correct themselves based on your feedback and you’ll feel a rush of gratification! Become addicted to this kind of satisfaction and use it as a way to motivate yourself to seek out and correct faults.

Downright Laziness
We’re humans, and we’re not perfect. Maybe it’s the super early morning class, or maybe it’s your 7th class in a row that day, and you simply don’t have the energy to say anything. Be careful that this doesn’t become a recurring problem. A couple of slip-ups can be understandable, but if this behavior is becoming the norm, then it might be time to address your schedule or limit the number of classes you coach per day.

At the end of the day, clients want to be corrected. They’re coming to you and into your gym to be better, so you owe it to them to correct their bad movements. In your journey to becoming a great coach, do not let bad or even okay form fall by the wayside. As they say at the CrossFit seminars, “be relentless.” This might mean feeling uncomfortable at first, but trust that it will get better with time and practice. And truly, your clients will appreciate you more for it. So, “if you see something, say something” in class or at the airport!

When a Member Says “There’s Not Enough Strength Work”

Pat Barber Coaching, GPP

Are you hearing complaints from members that your program doesn’t spend enough time on strength training?

This video is for non-biased programmers and facilities who have members who want a strength-biased program.

For coaches of WUWO or fellow GPP programs: We go into much more detail about why we’re a non-biased program and how to handle common criticisms (especially when switching from a strength + metcon model) on this page: Why We’re a Non-Biased Program.

This is a topic we’re particularly passionate about, which you’ll probably pick up on while reading our other blog posts on GPP programming.

Next Level Coaching

Pat Barber Coaching

Do you have the coaching experience to consider yourself a “good” or skilled coach? Here’s a little visualization to try if you’re curious. Remember — this is just one way of looking at it. Certainly not the only way.

Connect Immediately

Pat Barber Coaching

When you’re coaching, and someone walks through the door, do you immediately acknowledge them?

Does Your Nutrition Coaching Push One “Right” Way?

Pat Barber Coaching, Nutrition

There’s not a single nutrition program that works for every person. There can be a lot of shame around this topic. And a lot expectation or demands that are inaccessible to people for various reasons (location, income, family dynamics, etc.).

Is your nutrition program preaching that there’s only one right way to eat? It might be time to step back and reflect.

How to Evaluate Coaches

Pat Barber Coaching Development, Gym Management

The biggest trap an evaluator can fall into is: “Are they me?” That is, do they coach exactly as I coach? Instead, you should be evaluating their effectiveness as a coach and whether or not they actually connect with the people in front of them. Ultimately, it’s about how well people respond to them.

This video goes into what I’ve learned after years of evaluating coaches.

I’ve also created a Coach Evaluation Checklist to help you look for specific elements while observing coaches.

When a Member Says “The Warmup is Too Long”

Pat Barber Coaching, GPP

Sometimes members don’t understand the intention behind the warmup section of a GPP program. They can get bored. This video tackles delivery of the warmup, education, purpose and how to have conversations with members about the warmup and GPP (which is especially important when a facility has transitioned from a strength + metcon model).

Additional Reading:

Don’t Waste the Warmup — The CrossFit Journal

When a Member Says “The Workouts Are Not Intense Enough”

Pat Barber Coaching, GPP

This is for coaches and trainers who are hearing things like “the workouts are not intense or hard enough” or “the workouts are too short.”

Coaches of WUWO or other GPP programs, we go into much more detail about why we’re a GPP program and how to handle common complaints (when switching from a strength + metcon model) on this page: Why We’re a Non-Biased Program

We also have an intensity test you can use when people complain that the workouts are too easy.

We hope these resources lead to more productive conversations with your members!