Is Your Coach Really Just a Cheerleader?

By t. | In Training | on November 6, 2013

The best constantly seek improvement.

Coach… it is the term most CrossFit trainers use as a title. A coach is not a cheerleader. Cheerleaders sit on the sideline and chant irrelevant mess no matter what is happening on the field. A coach is involved, attentive, and dedicated. A cheerleader is only a distraction with no input that will affect a win. A coach’s input wins or loses the game.

In lifting, a coach gives relevant cues and directs the athlete thru the lift. Before the lift the coach coordinates training that will set the lifter up for success. Too many “coaches” are actually cheerleaders in CrossFit, lifting, and fitness. It has become all too common and acceptable to just cheer up athletes than to actually coach them. Youtube is full of videos of horrible lifts… and that is not necessarily a bad thing. At max effort, our training wheels can get blown off. New lifters make mistakes and have to in order to learn. The bad part about the videos is when there is a “coach”, or three or four of them, in the background just cheering the athlete on.

If your coach yells “good job”, “yah”, “get it”, “up”, or anything other than pertinent cues while you’re under a load, either you are doing the lift perfectly, or more likely your “coach” is a cheerleader. A coach guides the athlete through the effort with cues that actually tell the lifter how to correct their technique mid lift. The cues have to have meaning to the lifter… the coach must have explained them and linked them to the biomechanics needed to complete the lift successfully and without injury. “Torque”, “lean back”, “full up”, “hips”, “knees out”, and “chin back” are a few our lifters may hear just on a single deadlift.

The ladies in the accompanying photo can all deadlift 300lbs. Some would say that is great and be in awe. I am not as easily impressed. When I see a female athlete pull 300lbs with less than exceptional technique or they made a mistake, I correct them. If the mistake was a stupid one, I tell them. They get a pat on the back when the lift is done well. Why so hard on them? Because they deserve it. All CFW members provided with this atmosphere. It costs us nothing to provide it. It costs your members everything if you do not. -t.

4 Comments to "Is Your Coach Really Just a Cheerleader?"

  • WesKingNC says:

    November 6, 2013 at 9:47 am -

    I’ve been ecstatic about the coaching I have received from the Crossfit Wilmington team.

    1. t. says:

      November 6, 2013 at 8:39 pm -

      Thanks Wes. It is never easy to hold the standard, but we are dedicated and refuse to take the easy road.

  • Joe W says:

    November 6, 2013 at 11:39 am -

    Picture description should say “Tony shows everyone a magic trick, if you focus really hard the bar will come to you.” Great article T. even knowing I tend to cheerlead a little.

    1. t. says:

      November 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm -

      You do look cute in that skirt you wear.