Reposted from Crossfit Tanaris, CA
As I write this blog I’ve got a few different things running through my mind. On one hand I feel that this message needs to get out. In fact, I think it’s something that probably should have been put out in this forum a long time ago. On the other hand I don’t want anyone to take this the wrong way and feel like their opinion on the floor is not welcome or appreciated. I also don’t want to take away from the friendly and helpful nature of many of our athletes. But ultimately I feel this needs to be said, so here it is.
What I’m referring to is athletes coaching athletes. We are fortunate in our box to have many different people from many different backgrounds all bringing their own strengths to our collective community. For this I am grateful and consider us lucky at CFT to have such a broad range of experience from which to draw upon. This stands only to make us better as a whole. But the uncontrolled distribution of information when it comes to coaching specifics can stand to undermine what the coaching staff at CFT may be trying to accomplish with any given athlete.
Now I’m not saying that if someone solicits you for an opinion that you shouldn’t give it, nor am I saying you can’t offer an opinion in certain circumstances. But coaching another athlete or offering cues on how you think they could improve may actually do more to set the athlete back than move them forward based on the approach that the coach is taking with that athlete.
So let’s look at a “for instance”. As a coach I observe an athlete struggling with a particular movement. Perhaps I can instantly pick up 4 areas that the athlete could improve in order to get proficient at this movement. Of those 4 deficiencies I may deem 1 as being the priority or the most important of the flaws that needs improving. I may not even tell the athlete about the other three because right now they are irrelevant in my eyes and may only stand to confuse them. After all, I can polish those up later. Right now let’s focus on fixing number 1, then move on to number 2, 3, 4. So I offer some guidance on how I feel the athlete could improve and what they should be working on. I walk away to work with another client and along someone comes who now offers their 2 cents. Maybe it’s valid, in fact it probably is valid to some degree, but more often than not it is one of the other 3 things that aren’t nearly as important as the 1 that I am trying to address. This can confuse the athlete, prove frustrating, and ultimately undermines what the coach is trying to accomplish. This can’t happen, and in my opinion is still happening way too much. Now I don’t think anyone is doing this intentionally, and everyone has their best intentions at heart. I know this. But coaching is the job of the coach, not the athlete.
The coach on duty is the coach on duty. They are there to not only run the class and maintain order, but they are there to offer cues, progressions, modifications etc. If you see something another athlete is doing that you feel needs to be addressed you should point it out to the coach first, not the athlete. The coach may have already addressed that or may have them placing their focus somewhere else right now. Not consulting with the coach first may do more to slow the athletes progress than improve it. If, after speaking with the coach, the coach agrees with what you are saying they may change their approach accordingly. After all, we are all here for improvement and to help each other achieve our fullest potential. Pride should not play into this equation. This is best achieved by working with a coach, not against them.
Now don’t get me wrong, if someone asks your opinion that’s fine…you can give it, I have no problem with that. But again I would like to stress that you should be utilizing the coach on the floor as a resource in this process as well. A response such as “this is what I’m seeing but I’m gonna call over the coach to see what they think” is the proper course of action that should be taken in this circumstance.
All in all we have a great box and an awesome atmosphere as we all know, I don’t want to take away from that. And I also know that we all have the best of intentions when trying to help our fellow athlete accomplish their goals. On that note however, you must understand that the most successful way we can do that is to work with the coach who’s running that class. By working with them you may come to see why they are following the path that they are or perhaps show them a different path that potentially makes more sense. Then the coach can make a call on the course of action they feel is appropriate to get the athlete where they need to be. Either way, everyone will win. An athlete that is receiving too much information that pulls them in possibly different directions (even when the same goal is involved) is doomed for frustration and ultimately set back and possibly failure. Not a scenario any of us want to occur.
So in closing, use your coach, respect your coach, and listen to your coach. They have your best interests at heart.
“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”