As of last week, I have officially finished out my time as CrossFit Bangor’s intern. The summer feels like it when by in just a blink of an eye and I wanted to wrap up my experience with a final reflection so here it is.
Doing my internship at CrossFit Bangor has been an amazing learning opportunity. I’m grateful for the guidance and patience of all the coaches for letting me shadow them, teaching me the ways of the Coach, and helping me work out hang-ups I had while I was learning. I especially thank Tiffany for taking the helm on this journey.
I started my internship with the notion that learning to be a CrossFit coach wasn’t going to too terribly difficult due to primarily having 3 years of CrossFit as an athlete under my belt. In addition, I had experience teaching emergency medicine and CPR classes and spent five summers as a camp counselor corralling 5 to 17 year olds through daily activities as well as the woods and ponds on backpacking and canoe trips. Before starting my internship, I attended and passed the Level 1 CrossFit Seminar where they taught a broad spectrum of what CrossFIt is, what it is about as well as an in depth demonstration and instruction of the movement standards of all the fundamental CrossFit movements. Therefore, I knew the overall dynamics of being a coach and assumed my biggest struggle was going to be cueing because I did not have any experience with that.
I came to find out that the amazing coaches that we are lucky to have at CrossFit Bangor definitely make conducting a class look a lot smoother than in actuality. I found out that there are so many parts to a class from preparing strategies and warm-ups before class to orchestrating the warm-up, transitions, WOD(s), and cool down so it all fits nicely into an hours time.
This struggle with time management stemmed from my fear of messing up. For me personally as I have gone through the stresses of school and working multiple jobs, CrossFit is commonly the best hour of my day. In that hour, I know that no matter what I have going on outside the gym I get to put it on the back burner and focus on the WOD which both prepares me for the requirements of my job as well as betters myself mentally. With CrossFit, I have been able to learn skills and meet strength/endurance I never would have guessed I’d be able to accomplish. Knowing that like myself others find CrossFit as their stress relief and happy hour, any mistake I made may it be stumbling over my description during the brief, not transitioning smoothly, or not communicating the warm-up or WOD efficiently, felt like I was negatively affecting the athletes in my class. Questions and worries always swirled in my head of if my coaching was good enough so all athletes have the best chance of success in the WOD.
Aside from that, my favorite portion of coaching was getting to see athletes succeed. May it be a new 10# PR on a lift, jumping to a higher box than previous, or finally getting their first of a certain movement, the confident smile afterwards is something priceless to experience. I also loved being able to describe something in just the right way so the look of confusion would suddenly lessen from someone’s face as the information clicked in their mind.
Overall, I still have much to learn before I can be a successful CrossFit coach. Primarily, I need more hands-on experience in order to gain confidence in all the mentioned portions of a class. In doing this, I need to come to the point where I can direct a class smoothly by adapting as I go without getting frustrated. I equate this need for experience similarly to what had to occur before I could run an EMS call smoothly by myself. When I first started in emergency medicine, calls were choppy, questions/interventions were done in a jumbled pattern, and I had to lean on my partner to keep the call running correctly. At this point I have gained some experience where I can adapt and improvise on call better because my methods of scene size-up, patient assessment, and call reporting has become more routine. Therefore, when something unexpected occurs or a pt is more critical, the primary routine is already in place so it is easier to amplify upon it. Eventually, coaching will be hopefully similar where briefing class, transition between portions, cueing, and overall coaching dynamics will be smoother so any adaptations will be able to be made off an already solid level of experience
See you around the gym and thanks for a memorable summer,
90% Coach Installed, Please Wait
(One of the best advice I have received in life is there is always something to learn. No matter what. I was told if I ever walk into my job or any situation thinking I know everything, I should do a quick 180 and walk away. I personally want to be a lifelong learner and never get to this point.)