What does it take to be a good CrossFit coach? Certifications? Degrees? Experience? Personality? All the above?

I’ve been trying to figure that out since I started CrossFit over 4 years ago. What characteristics do great coaches have in common?

As a Chicagoan and Michael Jordon fan, I looked up to Phil Jackson. I have always admired Lou Holtz and Vince Lombardi as well, as they were able to inspire their players and teamwork among them.

One characteristic Phil Jackson, Vince Lombardi and Lou Holtz shared is the ability to inspire teamwork. Then I thought about how it relates to CrossFit . as most CrossFit members join individually.

CrossFit is more of an individual sport where basketball and football are all team sports. When I see a great CrossFit coach they tend to bring a sense of community to their gyms. They create teamwork out of an individual activity! In fact, many of the great CrossFit coaches come from a team sports background.

Great CrossFit coaches also have a burning desire for constant continuing education. They are great motivators, learners, and educators, and bring passion to their gyms, encouraging, motivating inspiring members. These coaches strive for form. They focus on mobility, technique, repetition and form, over fast and heavy.

What does it take to become a CrossFit coach? A 2-day course given by CrossFit to teach the basic movements required while teaching a class. Does someone who obtained his or her level 1 certification automatically become qualified to be a top-notch coach? NO WAY! To become an exceptional CrossFit coach requires skills in many modalities.

Some coaches are more interested in their own training and money than helping members. Having every certification offered, but no idea how to apply that knowledge and work with people is not enough. Knowing and caring about preventing injuries is critical. Properly teaching and screening athletes for individual coaching or groups is also critical for the good coach

Unfortunately, some poor coaches have damaged the reputation of CrossFit. Poor movement standards and lack of leadership cause injury and athlete burnout.

Now that I examined the difference between the good and mediocre CrossFit coaches, look at your coach or any prospective new coach in a new light. See if they have generated a sense of community at the facility and if they keep their athletes safe.

In my next article I will share my interview with 3 great CrossFit coaches.