Coaching the Positive

By Ben Bergeron

Video Article

To coach the positive, coaches must understand two things:

1. Learning takes place when good behavior is rewarded versus bad behavior criticized.

2. The criticism sandwich.

“We’re trying to ignite the flame in each one of our members,” says Ben Bergeron, co-owner and head coach at CrossFit New England, as he addresses a group of affiliate owners. “Ignite the spark. It is the job and it is the responsibility of your coaches to get your members interested in CrossFit.”

It’s simple: if members aren’t excited about CrossFit, they’ll never learn it. If new members come in and you over-coach them, point out what they’re doing wrong and they’re intimidated, they likely won’t stick with it, Bergeron explains.

“Encourage with enthusiasm,” he says. “That’s your job, and it’s the responsibility of the coach.”

The criticism sandwich is the opposite of what Bergeron calls the No-Rep Nazi.

“When you’re saying, ‘No rep,’ you’re saying, ‘I’m not going to coach you.’”

Instead, compliment what the athlete is doing correctly, followed by what he needs to do right next time, and then give another compliment.

Bergeron says: “It’s a small critique that goes a long way.”

Video by Again Faster.

5min 36sec

HD file size: 140 MB
SD wmv file size: 67 MB
SD mov file size: 19 MB

Please note: These files are larger than normal Journal videos. For smoother viewing, please download the entire file to your hard drive before watching it (right-click and choose Save Link As...).

Additional reading: The Deeper Side of Coaching by Ben Bergeron, published Dec. 2, 2011.

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12 Comments on “Coaching the Positive”


wrote …

interesting, would like to know more about this seminar they did.


wrote …

It's Ben's BOX seminar and has gotten unbelievable reviews. Next one is 8/25



wrote …

It is no wonder CFNE has such a successful affiliate and competition team. Ben is a smart dude.


wrote …

Ben is the man. Awesome coach and motivator. I definitely recommend anyone that is interested in coaching to check out Ben's stuff as you're on your journey. In my opinion, one of the best out there.


wrote …

I used a "complement sandwich" with kids when coaching youth sports for years. Worked great! They never knew you were correcting them. Works in the office too.
Love to listen to Ben, great communicator.


wrote …

First, great coaching points. I use these techniques while I teach! I teach young kids and it is true, it ignites people!!


wrote …

Great video! The power of changing ONE word when interacting with people in ANY setting, whether it be in the athletic or academic setting, is huge. One would think it is only common sense but for many that deal with training in any realm it sadly is not...too many still believe that people are motivated by negative comments, fear, or coercion. Thanks for the video CF!


wrote …

This very very helpful. I've watched it almost a dozen times. I just passed my Level 1 Cert and will be doing my internship at my box soon. Going to use this for sure.


wrote …

Great video. I'm getting my Level 1 Cert soon, and I'd love to attend one of these conferences of there are more after October.


wrote …

Great advice, Coach. Thanks!


wrote …

Can't recommend this seminar enough. Critical stuff for someone wanting to have a great box. If you have the means - go.


wrote …

"Take away the buts..."

Great tip!!

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