While it’s not glamorous, Coaches Development Hour at CrossFit Roots is essential.
The gym in Boulder, Colorado, has been doing an internal development hour for six years, said Nicole Christensen, the owner of the Box. On every first and third Monday of the month, the entire team gathers at 1:30 p.m. “We’d meet for one hour and we’d work on any element that contributed to the health of the gym or bettering ourselves as Coaches,” she said.
Christensen said it’s been a lot of small efforts over time. Whether it’s practicing how to greet people at the front desk or how to modify a push press for someone who’s slightly on their toes, she said they have hit a lot of very specific topics.
In the fall of 2017, the development hour expanded beyond just CrossFit Roots’ team. Christensen had been a Flowmaster for CrossFit Level 1 and 2 seminars; people would ask her how she grew her Coaches, and she would share about the development hour. From there, interest grew and Christensen saw a need to offer a Coaches Development Hour to the community at large.
So they did, offering a 1.5-hour session to anyone who wanted to come. Coaches also got to watch a class after the session to see what had been talked about put into practice. Plus, they were given a worksheet and a lesson plan to then help them run their own Coaches Development Hour at their home gym.
“While developing your coaching staff is the No. 1 most important thing for your business, it’s not something you’d be able to commit the time to,” said Christensen. “In the same way a teacher does a lesson plan in how they’re going to teach a class, we basically gave them a lesson plan for how they’re going to teach a Coaches Development Hour to their team, so it wasn’t like a class plan for their members. It was for their team.”
Christensen said the idea of a Coaches Development Hour is also to bring cohesion among her staff. She said it gets them all on the same page and teaching a common message to her members, which alleviates one prevalent failing found in gyms. “Probably one of the biggest things that breaks up an athletes’ trust of a Coach is generally when one Coach says one thing and another Coach says another thing,” she said. “It’s a simple thing.”
Over the years, Christensen has heard all sides and can sympathize with both the Coach and the owner when it comes to the issue of lacking in development. However, she said it plainly: “As a starting point, Coaches Development Hour is a good business practice. And then from there, in terms of if we’re trying to develop as Coaches, which we should be, it has to be on your calendar, otherwise it’s not going to happen.”
CrossFit Roots is looking to further expand its Coaches Development Hour through a virtual offering, complete with WOD plans courtesy of Christensen’s other venture, Project Roots, a programming platform. The WOD plans will have detailed explanations of how to coach, what cues to give, specific faults to look for, etc. The idea is to give the Affiliate an excellent tool to evaluate Coaches while also providing your staff with a detailed plan to follow, benefiting your membership.
While a virtual development hour is still off in the distance, it doesn’t mean you can’t start now. And it will only benefit your Coaches. “If you want to have a staff cohesion that creates a common message for your members, such that your members are bought into your program and what you’re seeing and how you’re seeing it, that has to be there,” said Christensen.