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User Guide: Finding the Right Coach and Affiliate by CrossFit - CrossFit Journal

In Affiliation, Coaching, CrossFit, Reference

September 11, 2012

PDF Article

Choosing a CrossFit coach or affiliate is an important decision. Here are some things to think about when making your choice.

This article provides a basic framework on how to find a CrossFit coach and an affiliate. It’s a set of suggestions that can be used as a road map—not a comprehensive treatise.

Among the topics covered are your responsibilities as an athlete, the process of getting fitter, the characteristics of great trainers and affiliates, the benefits of training at a CrossFit affiliate, and more.

Choosing the right coach or affiliate is an empowering process. Great coaches and gyms will show you just how valuable you are by earning your membership.

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9 Comments on “User Guide: Finding the Right Coach and Affiliate”


wrote …

This was a great read, thank you so much.


wrote …

Your article assumes that the client will work with the same coach for all workouts. That is not my experience. At my box, coaches change during the day each day as well. I don't see the same coach for the 8:30am WOD from one day to the next. How do you recommend handling that situation when, perhaps, one or two of the coaches are exceptional and others are just okay or not for me?


Scott Demeijer wrote …

The dynamic at our box changed when one coach left and there seemed to be no direction anymore, we changed boxes and our new coach has outlined a progressive approach to our workouts and better stretching afterwards, and we feel like we have gotten to be better crossfitters. So alot of what was said in this article makes sense.


replied to comment from Ivy Derderian


One thing you might try is to ask the owner or head coach for a schedule of when your favorite coaches will be working. Certainly coaches will vary in their ability to apply the six criteria listed in the article, but also consider other factors. Good trainers will be effective at helping you move better but just as Coach is quoted, "I am a personal friend to nearly every one of my clients." And just like we've grown as athletes coaches will also grow and improve.

Don't be afraid to encourage your Box owner to share the schedule with you. Pass good and constructive feedback along to the owner so he can help make the best coaches more available and help newer coaches thrive.


wrote …

I'm glad this article was written, but was a bit disappointed since I expected more of a "benchmarking" type approach that takes affiliates and coaches to task with the goal of elevating the entire profession.

This came off more of a marketing piece promoting joining a box and less about what "best practices" are for helping individuals (CrossFitters) be better consumers of professional coaching and improve their chances properly and efficiently learning mechanics, consistency, and intensity.

For example, perhaps the best coach to athlete ratio is 5:1 (I have no idea obviously) and most boxes are currently 10:1. In my example there would be some "proof" offered through research that athletes in lower coach-to-athlete-ratio boxes do "better." There would then be two implications of this finding. For coaches, figure out how to get to this ratio, and for athletes, look for boxes that pay attention to this ratio.

Please don't take my comments as slander, I'm just trying to advance the discussion.


I like where your head is at, Ben, and I appreciate the effort to drive the discussion. I think it would be a huge undertaking to gather and assimilate the amount of data you're talking about. A lot of it would have the potential to be subjective as well, because of the amount of different variables being looked at.

For instance, let's take your example of coach to athlete ratio in a class. Perhaps at one location, with a given coach, the best coach to athlete ratio happens to be 5:1 (using your "benchmark" system). But if we switch the athletes and coach out, what if the same quality of service can be given with a 10:1 ratio because of the experience/abilities of the coach and/or athletes in the class being higher?

Also, I think this article is designed as a message to the community and newcomers to be accountable and objectively evaluate each Affiliate they plan to train at.

Who knows...maybe this is the start of a series of articles that delve deeper into "Finding the Right Coach and Affiliate"...wouldn't THAT be cool?


replied to comment from Ben Rost


While your ideas for researching CrossFit affiliates sound intriguing, that's not what this article was intended to do. The first paragraph states:

"This article provides a basic framework on how to find a CrossFit coach and an affiliate. It’s a set of suggestions that can be used as a road map—not a comprehensive treatise."


wrote …

It's a decent start point with this article and something people in their first forays of choosing a gym need help with. Most newbie's probably won't be able to give themselves enough evaluation of coaches without participating or watching a few classes at a number of affiliates.

When they are faced with 4-5 gyms with similar pricing it's hard to work out the quality differentials when you don't know what to look for. Points 1,2 and three I don't think average joe clients will have a clue. They should be able to go off the rest if they are that way inclined to assess what they intend to spend money on.

Many people come into CrossFit and because it is often way better than any standard of personal training/classes they had previously it skews things a little. Though it's a big credit to the Cert teams and the information CrossFit supplies. However, a client can think they are getting great coaching when it could be mediocre (in CrossFit circles) compared to another affiliate down the road.

I think it's really important for people to visit, train and be coached at other affiliates to get a true picture of what they are getting. The reality is many choose on price, location, look of website etc. Once they start they then become loyal to that box and a little blinkered as to what else is around and if they have better options. It also depends on what they want out of it. Some are easily pleased whereas others who truky want to get better and possibly compete need to arm themselves with as much info as they can.

I think is a great site that at present is vastly underused but could be a great tool for all boxes to help inform potential clients as well as drive quality control. Bit like a trip advisor for CrossFit. I've been on a one man crusade to try and get it more exposure and utilized.


wrote …

@ Sean. neat site, I didn't know it existed. Yes, let the marketplace find a solution, e.g. Angie's List, to making more informed decisions if CrossFit Inc. isn't inclined to give consumers more information, or has shyed away from doing so because it's hard and no one's exactly knocking down the doors for it. I know I represent a small minority with this viewpoint, but I think the goal, consistent with a true profession, should be more objective "quality" standards and more transparency on what works and what doesn't, who's injuring or "mistreating" clients, who gets results, and of course potential reasons why and explanatory factors. Just like rates dimensions of things like appliances (cost, reliability, achieves objective, noise, weight, etc etc, and pairs it with user feedback), could we not also do this for CF boxes? I know we're not dealing with "appliances" here but real humans and their aspirations, careers, etc, but at least if CF Inc. takes ownership of this idea they control it and can properly shape the debate and keep it focused on improving the sport and community. This just appears to be the way the world is heading in all areas and is too important for CF to allow third parties to control.

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