When I got my CrossFit Level One certification (L1) almost five years ago, I had two motivations:
- Increase my job prospects
- I inherently don’t trust people. I didn’t want to hurt myself because of bad coaching.
When I started CrossFit, I was obsessed with doing all of the movements correctly. I would Google every movement and watch tons of videos when they were programmed. I did this for a solid two years, and I still do this when something shows up I want to learn more about.
So today, devil’s press was programmed for CrossFit. Devil’s press is a push up with a dumbbell and then you raise the dumbbell overhead. You can either snatch the dumbbell in one movement or you can clean and jerk the dumbbell, which is two movements. As long as it ends up overhead.
Enter my coach.
He’s been coaching maybe six months. Unsure how long he’s been doing CrossFit. I don’t say anything to coaches; I let them coach. Except when they state a falsehood. Then I have to speak up.
Today, my coach tried to tell everyone that a clean and jerk for a devil’s press was not allowed. When I told him it was, I was questioned, but more than that — I was told I was wrong and rudely told “No, you can’t” and “I’ve never seen it done that way before.” Throw in a rude tone, and the CrossFit coach was trying to make me seem like I had no clue what I was talking about. Plus, he kept insisting you couldn’t clean and jerk it.
When I told him I had done devil’s press in a CrossFit competition as a clean and jerk, I still got told I was wrong.
I was angry. I left mad. I didn’t appreciate being told I was an idiot.
Finally, the owner had to step in and tell the CrossFit coach essentially I was right. I still didn’t get an apology.
ADVICE FOR NEW CROSSFIT COACHES
Don’t Come to Class Unprepared
Know your CrossFit programming. If a movement is programmed in CrossFit you don’t know, Google it and its variations. It doesn’t take that long.
Be Nice When Questioned
Many CrossFitters think they know moves. Some are right; some are wrong. You can be nice about it either way.
It’s Not About You
“I would do it this way.”
Honestly, no one particularly cares how you’d do it. CrossFitters can do it however they want — as long as you are safe, of course.
It’s Not Your CrossFit Workout
I usually alter the CrossFit WODs no matter what. I either go heavier, or I change the moves. This is because I have my own CrossFit programming and training, and I know what I need to work on. Some CrossFit coaches take this personally. It’s nothing against you. Again, everyone is at their own place in their CrossFit journey. Honor that, and don’t berate it.
Keep in Mind the Point of CrossFit
The point of CrossFit is to be better at functional movement in the real world, to get a good workout, to feel better about yourself. Meet people where they are at. Everyone is at their own prescribed weight. Everyone can do the movement however they want. It’s their workout; not yours.
2 thoughts on “CrossFit and Knowing More Than the Coach”
I hate when people, especially trainers.. think they know it all. nobody does! I usually just keep my mouth shut, but sometimes you’re right, they do need to hear it. He probably felt undermined with others in the class hearing his “expertise” being challenged. But lose the ego! He needs to understand his role is for everyone to get better.
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Sorry for the injustice dealt to you. I admire you for standing up and for sticking to your principles. Your advice to trainers is balanced and forthright, and I hope that future trainers read and apply it. Best wishes to you and your continued journey.