I just finished up my first few weeks of intern coaching at CFI. Overall, it went really well. There were some lessons I learned, some observations I have not noticed when coaching (compared to when I am training), and some challenges I had to overcome, but mostly this has been a very fun and rewarding experience, that has made me more confident not only as a coach, but an athlete as well.
It all started with week 1, my first time coaching anything related to CrossFit. I will be honest, I was a bit nervous as first, just wondering how it would be going from being an athlete and working with some of these people in training, to taking on more of a leadership role with them. My task was to just get to know the names of athletes in class. I was actually super surprised as to how many people I did not know in the evening classes. I learned some simple lessons, such as using cones to help people keep their feet from spreading to far apart on overhead squats/snatches, to very quickly having to use my big girl voice, due to the rowers being used being vey loud. It was a challenge at first, but I think being forced to do so right away ended up being a good thing. I enjoyed being put into a coaching role right away to help with timing/transitions, which allowed me to be involved very quick. Day 1 went well, so did day 2, so I think week 1 overall was good. This brings us to week 2.
Following week 1, my task for week 2 again was to continue getting to know the names of athletes in classes. Still yet, more people I did not know came through, but ultimately I have learned that I can make a large amount of friends in such a short time. This week, we learned to be hungry and humble, which I really enjoyed and feel like I am decent at, but the people skills still could use some work. I focused this week on being happier, and more positive in class, even if things outside the gym were not going the greatest they could. This was useful, and I think to be a coach it is important to do this, so I have continued doing so since week 2. I have grown to be a little more confident with people and getting to know them more makes it easier. I think I could tell you most peoples’ favourite colors, as well as second favourite colors. A challenge I had is when the class is bigger; to get around and talk to everyone at least once, but this has improved since this week. I was ready for my next task the following week: bring on week 3.
Upon seeing my task for week 3, I think I almost pooped my pants. Going from getting to know names to all the sudden leading a warm-up made me super nervous. I asked myself, “Why are you nervous?” I realised it was one of those things, doing it the first time is a bit nerve-racking, but once you get through it once, it gets easier. This was definitely true for leading the warm-up. I was nervous about messing up, but when it comes down to it, how do you actually mess up a warm-up unless you literally sit there and say nothing? I learned that most things for the warm-up need a how (explaining how to do the movement/stretch) and a why (to warm-up this part of the body, to prepare for this exercise, etc.) After successfully leading the warm-up on Monday, doing it on Thursday seemed like a breeze. One challenge I still have is how you actually pronounce the hip stretch (moving side to side) but I blame the language/accent barrier. I did this for week 3.5, the week where Monday was Murph day, so I just coached on the Thursday, but no complaints with how this went on this day. This brings us to this week, week 4.
Week 4 has been the biggest task of all: leading the warm-up, but also introducing the strength portion of class and/or discussing the workout for the day. This I find more challenging because we will all discuss the warm-up differently, based on how we kind of did it ourselves. It is also a longer discussion, so there is more room for error in talking. Day 1 of this, the workout was simple: 5 strict T2B, 10 dumbbell snatches, and 15 double unders. After going through it, freaking Sam called me out on forgetting to tell the class which weight to use for the workout (still bitter). However, it was a good lesson because it is something very important to the workout. I remembered this for the 7PM class. Since then, I have been more calm and have gone through it in my head, remembering how I first heard the workout when I was about to do it, and if there were any questions I, or anyone else in the noon class had when we first discussed it. Since this time, things have gotten easier, and I am closer to leading the class by myself. Poor Derek, I think he was super bored on Monday when I did most of the talking. Things continue to get easier, the more I practice them, which I guess makes sense for any aspect in life.
Overall, the first month of coaching has gone very well. I have learned a lot in such a short amount of time, but I realize there is still much more to come. I know that with more practice I will become more and more confident as a coach, which then translates to me training as an athlete. I feel I have been challenging people, both while I am coaching and while I am training. I care a lot more about people as athletes now because I can see when they are working hard and pushing themselves. I also am learning to celebrate more, both when others are successful, and even to myself as I continue to remember that this whole process is a journey. I want to work even harder to set an example for others, and help set the tone for the gym. I also want to help people reach goals they never thought they could and help them be the best versions of them possible. I am very thankful for this opportunity, and am excited for what is coming next.