She did this because a full-time Coach at CrossFit Riverfront left to open his own Box, taking a lot of members with him. “I sat everybody down and we had a staff meeting and we talked about what had happened,” Ruggio explained. “They were still loyal to me. They all stayed. They all understood. It’s not like this was their full-time job, so they all had other jobs, thank God. They all understood at that time I needed to cut back, but they all were still Coaches.”
A year later, she has made up for those members, and more. CrossFit Riverfront has two desk staff members, two yoga instructors, two full-time Coaches and 10 part-time Coaches — which is just enough to handle the gym’s 300 members. And she doesn’t plan to add any more Coaches until membership calls for it.
Mark Khamboonphet, the Affiliate of CrossFit Forney, agreed. “It’s a big shake-up anytime you bring in another Coach or replace a Coach with another Coach … I never force a situation where I just brought in another Coach … ,” said Khamboonphet.
When his Box had too many Coaches on staff, he assigned each to his or her own specialty class. For instance, one Coach began teaching a Sunday class, which was not offered previous to his hiring. The class became known as Suffer Sundays. “He made the workouts really long and hard and they love it,” said Khamboonphet.
With 80 classes a week at CrossFit Riverfront, Ruggio divides her Coaches among their specialty classes as well, from RivFit and FightFit to CrossFit and more.
Like Ruggio, Khamboonphet would talk with his other Coaches before bringing on another team member. And both want to hire or train internally before hiring from the outside. For example, Ruggio said if an Affiliate wants to start a weightlifting class, look first within the Coaches base to see if someone would like to become skilled in weightlifting. Then, look to the membership base for a person skilled in that department. She explained your Coaches might not have enough experience in weightlifting to qualify them for the new position. But, a member just might be the perfect fit.
Khamboonphet said members have the advantage of already knowing the Box’s culture and how classes are structured. He believes it makes the transition easier on the new Coach and on the members.
Both Affiliates try to avoid switching classes and Coaches, because members become comfortable with that Coach. But if certain classes get too big, Khamboonphet brings in two Coaches. “If there’s more than 15 [members], we will have another Coach come into that same class and just be like an assistant Coach to keep eyes on them. We like to keep our coaching ratio to about one Coach to 12 to 15 athletes.”
Overall, both Khamboonphet and Ruggio agreed it’s easier to add Coaches than to take away. “Make sure you absolutely need another Coach and make sure you absolutely need that class. Don’t add a class just because you have too many Coaches sitting around,” said Khamboonphet.