Since starting my path into CrossFit, things have changed a lot. The 1 thing that hasn’t changed during my path to head coach is spending time in the trenches. Coaching, much like workouts, is something that has to be practiced. When you start out you generally aren’t very good. As time goes you learn from your mistakes, you learn from the athletes, and you learn from mentors to constantly move forward. Even now that I own an affiliate, am a Level 3 Certified CrossFit trainer with multiple other certs and years of experience, I wouldn’t change the early days of my learning the hard way on my path to head coach.
When I first started doing CrossFit in the 2005-2006 timeframe, so much about it was still mysterious. I had no idea how to coach people and the idea had never even entered into my mind. At the time there was no such thing as Rogue Fitness. The only way to learn more about CrossFit was to find an Affiliate (they were pretty sparse), attend a certification, or read the CrossFit Journal and become your own guinea pig. So in the early days for me, EVERYTHING was trial and error. And I mean a LOT of ERROR. But I kept with and kept trying new things and learning from my mistakes. I slowly got better as an athlete and learned how to do most of the workouts. It was really fun for me to learn so many different things, so every single day I would play with something or practice a movement, or train and learn.
By 2007, I was so enthralled by all of the different directions CrossFit could take people that I started telling everyone. At one point during this time, I got the nickname The CrossFit Prophet. I would take printouts of the CrossFit Journal articles and put them on peoples’ desks. I would then “swing by” to see if they read the article and talk to them about it. Since I was telling so many people about it, some people actually listened and wanted to try it. So I would help them. I would workout with a small group of people in our work gym doing the CrossFit Mainsite workouts. I would try to help them understand the things that I had learned over the years. Luckily no one got hurt and I learned more about technique by watching others. This was really the first time in my life that coaching someone even entered into my mind. But at this point is was just trying to find other people to workout with and have fun.
By the time 2009 rolled around, I was finally ready to commit and sign up for the Level 1 CrossFit cert. At the same time an affiliate had just opened near by and I reached out to them as well. Since the gym was just starting out they only offered 1 class time early in the morning in a Martial Arts studio. This was the first time I had ever been coached doing CrossFit and I LOVED it. As soon as I completed my cert I started coaching at the affiliate. As the gym grew and more classes were added, I tried to coach as much as I could. I loved helping people, but still at this point leading a group of people and effectively coaching them was foreign to me. I made a lot of mistakes still, but saw so many people getting better. I eventually found myself coaching 7 or more classes each week and wanting to “hang out” at the gym in my free time.
Now I’ve been coaching CrossFit for nearly a decade. I still spend plenty of time doing what I love, but I’m also constantly pushing for more. Like athletes constantly looking to get better, I want to continue to help more people. I know that the only way I can do that is to keep pushing my comfort level by continually learning and trying new things. I still love helping people and now I can serve others by leading a gym full of people and by helping other coaches to be more effective.