So You Think You're a Coach? - Coaching with Intention

Becca Borawski Jenkins
Coaching, Strength and Conditioning, Martial Arts


As a new coach, leading a group fitness class can be an overwhelming experience. First there is the material to know, then there are the people with all their needs, questions, and personalities, and then you have space and equipment to manage. Amidst the requirement of being able to teach a movement, respond to inquiries, adjust for injuries, and keep everyone moving safely and having fun, sometimes the true core of coaching is lost.


coaching, Training, crossfitObserving new coaches, what I most see lacking is intention. Recently while taking class from a novice coach, I asked her what her intention was in teaching a particular movement. Her reply was, that was the programming, so that was what she was teaching. Here’s what I think of that – you are not a coach if you are just showing up and following a list on a piece of paper. You are not a coach if you merely mime movements for me, press start on a stopwatch, or write my weights down in a manila folder.


There should never be a point at which during your coaching you cannot answer the question of why. Are you teaching things because that is what there is to teach or because there is a lesson inside of that exercise? As a CrossFit coach, are you simply running people through deadlifts and pull ups, occasionally cheering? As a rowing coach, are you just putting students through cardio intervals? Is it just a day to lift heavy in powerlifting? Or, is there something deeper – the lesson with which the students should walk away?


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