The industry is evolving, and Case Belcher aims to change with it through educating his Coaches.
“We have milestones we want the Coaches to hit,” said Belcher, the owner of Four Barrel CrossFit in New Albany, Indiana. “We feel that it’s very important for everyone in our organization to continue to learn, whether you’re an admin worker or a Coach, because that’s how you’re going to continue to get better at your trade. That’s how you’re going to continue to deliver better service to our members and to our athletes.”
Most staff now hired at Four Barrel already have their Level 1, so within six months of being hired, Belcher requires a Coach to get their Level 2. After that, what yearly certification or seminar a Coach attends is more individualized, but Belcher explained he will pay for half of any approved continuing education piece.
Geo Rockwell, the owner of CrossFit Federal Hill and CrossFit Cove, also contributes half to his Coaches’ certificates and seminars. He will also bring those continuing education pieces home, inviting in local Olympic lifting trainers or hosting a RX Jump Ropes seminar in his Box to teach his staff. In fact, one of the biggest continuing education pieces for Rockwell has been his ability to host the Level 1 every other month.
But continuing education doesn’t stop at bringing the outside in, as Rockwell pointed out. For example, at his gyms Coaches are evaluated monthly using a standardized Coaches evaluation sheet. Improvements and next steps will be discussed with each individual. There are also monthly meetings where all the Coaches come together to discuss a book they’ve read or to talk about how to coach a specific movement.
At Four Barrel, Belcher does a weekly update that goes out to his staff. It typically holds a coaching tip of some sort, or videos and podcasts for his staff to learn from. Feedback and internal learning can do just as much as an outside seminar, said Belcher.
And that is where some of the best learning happens. “The value of continuing education happens inside the gym, and it’s kind of a top-down thing from whoever is in charge, holding people accountable to teach and coach at a high standard,” said Rockwell.