Jeff Barnett finds some similarities between being an officer in the U.S. Marines and being a leader at a CrossFit affiliate.
In my life before becoming a co-owner and trainer at CrossFit Impulse, I was an officer in the United States Marine Corps. The role of the junior military officer is that of small-unit leader. The proverbial quarterback in the huddle, he is responsible for devising a plan, communicating its execution and supervising it to completion. Not surprisingly, I have found many similarities between military small-unit leadership and conducting group classes at my affiliate.
An effective trainer plans the workout, communicates his intent to his athletes, supervises the conduct of the workout and solves unexpected problems. Just like the junior officer, a trainer will lead athletes of immensely varying levels of skill and experience. A lieutenant or captain must effectively utilize and earn the trust of both fresh recruits with little training and senior enlisted personnel with experience far surpassing his own. Similarly, trainers must provide a rewarding and effective experience for both rank novices with little CrossFit experience as well as the quintessential firebreather.
I’m not about to suggest you run your classes like a platoon, but I do contend that many leadership techniques are just as applicable to putting 16 athletes through Jackie as they are to constructing a fortified defensive position.