Setting Box Expectations

Setting Box expectations.The owner of a Box has the unfavorable role of setting Box expectations. As the owner, you are expected to set the tone of the Box, hold everyone accountable and follow through with your Box regulations. Running a Box is like running any other kind of business; without practices and expectations, there will not be any direction. The more policies and procedures that are in place, the more likely you are to have a successful Box. Anyone can open a Box and become affiliated. However, it takes a special someone to forge elite fitness that extends to more than just programming WODs.

Every elite Box sets boundaries and expectations. The athletes at the Box know what they can and cannot do, where they need to be and what they should be doing. Anyone who has been to a Box that holds its members accountable to rules can notice a Box that is loosely fastened. The goal as a Box owner is to run a successful business. The community, the friendship and the camaraderie are a part of the business, but never at the expense of losing control of your Box. The owner is everyone’s friend second and the person they look to for guidance first. Set house rules that you are going to hold people accountable to. Keep your Box running like a well-oiled machine to prevent unhappiness, disorganization and membership decline. As much as people may resist following your plan, they need procedure and need to be held accountable for not following order.

Creating house rules will set the feel for the entire Box. This article is not about telling you what you have to do to create an organized Box. It is meant to remind you that you are the boss and order must be maintained. If you are going to create rules with consequences, then you must follow through with everyone and do it consistently. This can mean having policies in place for when people arrive late, cancel class late, do not pay their dues on time or do not show up to class.

Do people know to arrive on time and meet at the white board for an explanation of the WOD? Do athletes know to wait for everyone to finish so you can provide proper closure at the end of the WOD? Do athletes know that they are expected to warm up together, while paying attention to the Coach’s instructions? The beginning and end of the class is not for people to do as they please, as it is a way for you to engage them and reinforce key pieces of the class. Your Box should not be run like an open gym where people come and go, have no structure, and do as they wish during the entire time as they are there. There will always be a few in the bunch that do not want to follow your way, but the majority will appreciate you for it.

If you have done so already, create house rules that you will hold your athletes accountable to. If you already have a set of rules are you holding athletes to them? No matter what you have been doing up to this point start to analyze how your Box is being run. Take a step outside and watch from a distance and see if what is happening inside is leading to your success or your eventual demise.

Ben Isabella
In 2009, Ben Isabella received his C.S.C.S from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. As well as being a strength and conditioning specialist, bootcamp instructor, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, he is a physical education teacher at Sayreville High School. Keep up to date with current fitness and nutrition info by following him on Instagram @Ben_Isabella.