By Coach Ora


We recently went through coach evaluations.  These evaluations allowed staff to be observed, evaluated, and developed as a coach.  The assessment looked at four areas of coaching: class timeline, coaching interactions, vague and general cueing vs. short, direct, and actionable cues, and lastly, single-participant class observation.  


Class Time Line.  Coaches have 55-60 minutes a class. They must keep to the timeline to avoid running over into the next session. Coaches must fit the following into a CF class: a warm-up, whiteboard, WOD prep, strength, “I Got to Pee” break, WOD, and accessory/cooldown work.   One of the hardest things for a coach to overcome in the class is late attendance or unprepared athletes.  Coaches should call you to the board at the start of class. They have 3-5min to explain the general idea of the workouts to you. This gives you an idea of what you will be doing and what equipment and the weight you need. Then there is a 6-7 min warmup, 10 min strength, 20-35 min WOD and a 6-7 min cooldown.  


Coaching Interaction.  A coach should greet you and interact with you. Interaction with our athletes gives us insight into what is happening in our athletes. Understanding an athlete’s mindset, energy level, and attitude is essential. Lifts and WOD successes are made or broken by these things. Interaction also gives a coach a chance to observe movement.  How an athlete is moving is very important.  Mobility, injury, and coordination issues must be observed before correction or modification occurs. 


Cues. What makes CrossFit, is the one-on-one coaching in a group setting. Your coaches should give you vague cues,” get below parallel,” and specific cues like “butt needs to be below your knees.”  These cues should be short, actionable, and direct, “Elbows up,” Fast elbows,” “Speed through the middle,” or “Quick turn over.”  Cues can be given verbally, visually, or with a target.  A coach should be able to tell athletes what needs to be done with a cue so the athlete understands and can act on it.  


When I went for my CrossFit Level 2, I received feedback from CrossFit HQ Level 4 instructors that covered these areas.  This was very valuable to me as a coach.  Prepping for my L2, I had Joey Kelch and my class evaluate me while I coached.  This way, I knew where I needed to improve.  I hated it.  It made me so nervous being assessed in this way.  I thought it would reveal that I was a terrible or ineffective coach.  I suffered through the course and the evaluations because I wanted to be more than a whiteboard reader, a time clock keeper, and a cheerleader.  I wanted to be a coach!  I wanted to be effective and knowledgeable. After going through the long process of the L2 and the evaluations, I became more confident as a coach.  


When Dr. J said, “let’s do coach evaluations,” I thought I would puke.  There is no way our coaching staff will ever agree to this.  No one wants to be evaluated, after all.  Boy! Was I wrong!  The coaches at Enfocado said “Hell! Yes,” and stepped up to the challenge and wanted to hear what was going right and what they could do better.  They, too, wanted to be more. Your coaches are striving to be more knowledgeable, effective, and confident.  Seeing their desire to shape members into fit, healthy athletes was thrilling.


As I sat in class after class, I learned much as a GM. I learned tips and tricks other coaches use in managing their coaching timeline and cues they use to get better movement from athletes.  Personal development growth took place on both sides of the evaluations.


What can you take away from this article and coach evaluations? #1 Let your coach know how they are doing.  #2 If you need more direction, interaction, or coaching, ask them.  #3 Be on time to class and ready to go.  #4 Share with the coach where you are physically, mentally, or emotionally are at. #5 Tell your coach if you don’t understand a cue or direction.  


Strong athletes make strong coaches. Every coach is excited and motivated to help you grow as an athlete. So give them feedback. Tell them what you liked and what you would like them to improve.