Fitting In: Finding the Coach for Your Box

Having Coaches who are a good fit is key for your business.

A jigsaw puzzle is a puzzle for a reason. One piece has a good fit in one place.

Like Coaches, each has his or her own personality, techniques and abilities. Your Box — a great big puzzle — is looking for the right Coaches — puzzle pieces — who not only fit but thrive in and with your business.

“As far as a good fit, I’m really looking generally for people who technically know what they’re talking about,” said Dave Rubin, owner of CrossFit Durham in Durham, North Carolina. “But, even more important than that is their ability to communicate and manage a group — and specifically manage the type and group of people that we have here.”

Rubin described four specific attributes/abilities in a Coach who would be a good fit in his Box:

1)   The ability to communicate, as in communicating what they want somebody to do and how they want somebody to move.

2)   The ability to not just manage a group, but to control a large and maybe even distracted group.

3)   Having the knowledge and ability to teach movements, as well as to know and be able to communicate both the CrossFit message and vision.

4)   Loyalty to Rubin, CrossFit Durham and the brand as a whole: “I want people who have my back,” said Rubin.

Most of CrossFit Durham’s Coaches have been homegrown, which is helpful to not only them knowing the specific culture of the Box, but also for Rubin who gets to know them personally. “Most of the folks who coach here, or really all of them, I don’t put them in a position to coach unless I know them pretty well myself,” he said.

Since you can’t really test someone’s personality, it helps to see how a potential Coach acts while ingrained in the community as an athlete. So, whenever a Coach from outside the Box comes looking for a job, Rubin will invite them to train at CrossFit Durham. “I can see how they interact with people; I can see how they’re viewed by others, by other Coaches, other athletes,” said Rubin. “I can see how they interact with people, and I don’t think that’s anything you can ever get in an interview or anything like that.”

To Rubin, it’s all about getting an idea what the mentality of the potential Coach is. That way, not only can he determine if he or she is a good fit for CrossFit Durham, but he can figure out what program — from the barbell club to the foundations course — that the Coach should teach. “I got to make sure I have them [coaching] where they do fit,” said Rubin.

Having Coaches who fit only seems to be an upside for the members. Rubin said his Coaches understand the vision of CrossFit Durham and are role models to the athletes. That is why it’s so essential for a Coach to be a good fit in the Box, in the community, and in his or her program: They have a large level of influence. “It’s important for them just to be adaptable and recognize what group they’re working with at any given time and making sure they’re treating that group the way that group needs to be treated,” he said.”

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at