In contrast to personal training, coaching in a group environment is twice as hard. Nobody who has actually done both will disagree. There are just more moving parts in the group atmosphere that you don’t have to worry about when offering one-on-one coaching.
When we developed the Instructor Training Program at our gym we wanted to help our coaches build a framework for what we believed encapsulated a really well run group class. We used the CrossFit Level 1 & Level 2 material as the foundation of our training program while also sprinkling in our experience coaching for the past 10 years.
Once the coached proved their knowledge of this material we had them shadow our coaches in class as we slowly gave them more responsibility. The prospective coach would wear a bright read ITP shirt so that our members knew he/she was in training while slowing gain experience and respect from our members.
Eventually, the coach would receive their very own class to coach, and the head coach became the shadow coach. Over time as the coached proved themselves we would discuss adding more classes to their schedule as well as other incentives for making more money.
The biggest difficulty we saw with new coaches was their inability to demonstrate, teach, see, correct, and motivate simultaneously in the group environment. Many had the skill while personal training but had trouble transitioning that into a bigger setting.
That’s how the “factory line method” came about. I wanted to create a system where I could consistently offer input to my athletes in a way that was systematic yet looked natural to our members.
Treating athletes as cars in an assembly line allowed us to offer multiple different coaching skills in an effective and efficient manner.
With the setup we have at our gym we can organize 10 athletes in a straight line. When coaching a group class our focus is to start at the front of the line and give specific feedback to each individual. We go down the line without skipping anyone. It’s personal yet a highly efficient way of coaching because of the consistency this method provides while maximizing the coaches use of time.
Like anything you try for the first time, it will feel unnatural, even robotic. But over time just like anything thing you learn it will become more natural. This seems so obvious but if you can honestly take a look at your own coaching style it probably lacks a level of consistency that this model can help improve after only a few sessions of practice.
Level 2 Training Guide and Workbook by CrossFit. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2017, from http://journal.crossfit.com/2014/07/level-2-training-guide-and-workbook.tpl
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