Never Miss the Jerk

By Andréa Maria Cecil

In Affiliation, Coaching

October 16, 2015

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Affiliate owners work to please every client, but when an athlete is clearly unsuited to a gym, it’s time to take action.

Doug Chapman has seen it all: stalking, rudeness, willful ignorance.

There are many reasons he’s asked clients to leave his affiliate, CrossFit Ann Arbor in Michigan. And since opening the gym in 2005, he’s come to recognize the red flags early.

“When they’re noncompliant for instruction to a class,” Chapman said dryly. “Basically you know when you’re organizing a class … and somebody’s off doing their own thing, talking—it’s disrespectful.”

He added: “It basically detracts from the class, the learning process for everybody.”

When newcomers arrive, Chapman advises his team of coaches to vet them for a good fit.

“People come in with all kinds of goals and ideas of what they expect, but if it doesn’t match, you need to redirect them away from you,” he said.

It’s something nearly every affiliate owner has encountered: Firing a client. Although unpleasant, owners said, it’s necessary for the vitality of your box.

“I hate to see money walk out the door, but I had some people I got rid of in the winter time and I’m just so happy that their negativity is out of my gym,” Chapman said. “Your company is essentially what you are. If we’re not all going in the same direction, get off the bus.”

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3 Comments on “Never Miss the Jerk”


wrote …

I was super stoked when I saw the headline. I struggle a bit with the jerk movement and thought this article would help me with that. Instead it's about box owners complaining about bad clients. Absolutely worthless. It doesn't give good advice, it contains only complaints. Why would you put this in the journal?

I agree with the article and these "jerks" are bad for a box. I have also seen the opposite where coaches are the jerks. I've seen coaches form clicks with certain box members or they don't spend time with newbies who struggle with movements. I've seen coaches get disgusted with obese people joining their box and who are rude to clients with injuries.

Post an article about how to deal with coaches like that as well to make it fair.

Sorry for sounding like a jerk and I'll try to not be one in my box.


replied to comment from Johan Wiese

Completely disagree. I clicked on the article expecting the same thing and was pleasantly surprised to find it was about an issue I could relate to. I didn't feel the article was one big "complaint" at all; rather, it was a short "we've been there too" piece that reaffirms tough decisions others are likely facing as well.

There are plenty of YouTube clips to help with finishing your jerk. This is the only link I've found on this topic.


wrote …

I'm definitely with Johan on this one. When you're a coach of anything it's up to you to establish the environment in your box and very often it's not a "Oh that guy is just a problematic individual" issue. It's typically with the coach themselves and their inability to adapt with certain personalities and or make a positive environment. This article does nothing constructive aside from tell people to exclude people from their business costing themselves money and potentially reputation. If youou think a client you kick out exists in a vacuum and isn't going to post that yelp review or at the very least tell others about their experience then as the coach you are only hurting yourself. Will there be people that simply shouldn't socially interact with others and might truly be harmful to other people and or the environment? Of course, but it should be mentioned that the most salient issue will be the adverse effect you yourself have as a coach or of other coaches in your employ. Looking within needs to be the primary concern not the removal of someone you think is rude because maybe you just don't like them, but hey it IS in fact your business and if you want to be the vision of what you hate in those "jerks" and just blame others then I don't want to hear it when your coaching and or business isn't successful or AS successful as it could be.

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