Although you can’t just hit a button and download a new way of teaching CrossFit, you can pursue education through various means. One of those ways is diving into the world of non-CrossFit certifications.
“To me I wanted to be able to not just have a Level 1 certification. That was not ever going to be good enough,” said Chennelle Miller, the owner of Raleigh CrossFit in Raleigh, North Carolina. “It wasn’t enough in my eyes to be able to properly coach the athletes that were going to be coming into my gym.”
Living up to her words, Miller has numerous certs and educational experience outside of the CrossFit world. For example, she wanted to be proficient in teaching Olympic lifts and pursued the education she thought necessary to do so.
There are many different ways out there when it comes to coaching, she said. “It’s only beneficial to learn from as many sources as you can. So, if you just box yourself into what CrossFit is, you’re really not essentially even doing what CrossFit says to do, which is prepare for the unknowing and the unknowable,” said Miller.
This also rings true for Justin Adams, a Coach at Woodward CrossFit in Austin, Texas. Knowing more outside of CrossFit not only makes him a better athlete, but also a better Coach. “With my clients, I always expect the best from them,” said Adams. “So when they come in, I want them to give me their all; I want them to give me their very, very best. So, if I’m expecting that from them, I want to give the same thing in return. So, I want to be the best version I can be, and I feel like by doing that is getting as much education as possible.”
Miller echoed this same sentiment. “That should be your goal as an Affiliate owner is to improve your athletes as much as possible,” she explained. “If you don’t increase your own knowledge base, that won’t happen. You’ll just be stale.”
One of the ways Adams has kept his knowledge base sharp is by taking Optimum Performance Training’s — now called OPEX — James Fitzgerald’s business seminar. It was especially useful when he became in charge of Woodward’s second location.
Adams also suggested that Coaches should consider pursuing a USA Weightlifting cert as he often sees a lack of good technique in that area. In the end, it all comes down to passion. “Find out something you’re interested in learning and then chase after that, because you’re going to learn a lot better through that then you would just trying to take a cert because it would look good on a resume,” he said.
Miller laughed at the fact that her biggest problem is making sure not all of her Coaches are gone on the same day in pursuit of education. “We feel like if we invest in them that they’re also invested in us and that they’re invested in the improvement of our athletes, which they are,” she said.
However, an unexpected benefit from going to seminars and gaining certifications doesn’t come from those teaching the courses. Instead, Miller said one of the great things is learning from other Coaches and Affiliates.
“When you go to these seminars and the certifications, you’re also around other like-minded individuals. You’re around coaches, whether they’re Coaches for CrossFit or they’re coaches for their own strength and conditioning facility … everyone comes from different backgrounds. You also have the opportunity to share notes about what works for you guys and what didn’t work,” she said. “That’s just not something you can create by standing in the walls of your own facility all the time. You’ve got to go out and meet other people and learn from people.”