WEST Coaches Take on CrossFit Teaching Movement Course

Attention to detail!

Several members of the COMPLETE West staff recently took on the CrossFit: Teaching Movement Course with the intent to hone their coaching skills and improve their ability to serve the members at West with greater effectiveness. We dive into some brief reflections of their experience with the course below that we hope is helpful for members and coaches. We would love to hear your feedback on our input as well!

The focus of this course to help refine our teaching skills and get new ideas about how to run an effective and fun class for every level of athlete.


  1. Use the three traits that make a coach an effective teacher.
  2. Understand the eight “Common Movement Themes” to identify the primary points of performance for any movement.
  3. Utilize a “Teaching Plan Worksheet” to effectively create teaching progressions.
  4. Incorporate strategies to engage your audience and manage a group.
A proper coaching stance is a must

COACH Nick Altgilbers’ thoughts

Short, concise feedback is important key

“A thorough understanding of the MAJOR points of performance are necessary to be an effective coach/trainer/coach. These should be the focus for most of our athletes. It’s easy to “over-coach” and overwhelm novice athletes with the nuances of a specific movement. ”

Coaches should strive to speak THEIR OWN language

“Using pre-established progressions is a great option ONLY if the coach can effectively coach them. Sometimes it’s difficult to deliver a message that someone else created. With experience, coaches should be bold enough to develop their own progression. I would never try to use the “Top down” approach to teaching the push jerk as I think it isn’t as universally understood as the progression that involves no bar/pvc.”

Compliment Sandwiches

“It is important that coaches don’t just highlight errors or simply praise effort/ correct movement. A balance between praise and constructive criticism is a big key.”

Get tall and tight!

COACH Michael Croy’s Thoughts

Keep it short and sweet

“I’m a classic “knows his stuff but talks so much it sounds like he knows nothing”. Staying short, simple, and confident is something I need to work on”

Have a plan!

“This course was a great reminder that the more planning and document studying on the front end, the easier and less stressful class will be. Coaching is a lot more than just a certificate. Being well prepared for class allows you to focus less on managing the class and more on providing true in depth feedback and coaching to your members.”

Jump, don’t Hump!

Coach Abigail Poulin’s Thoughts

How matters!

“Communicating HOW an athlete can achieve something is often more effective than only saying WHAT you want the athlete to achieve. If WHAT I’m trying to coach is having a neutral spine, it’s more effective to communicate HOW it can be achieved by suggesting they lift their chest and squeeze their abs.”


“Being able to scan the group when coaching and bouncing my focus from the group to individual athletes and vice versa, as well as from the setup to the dynamic parts to the finish of a movement allows me to balance taking in a significant amount of information while still processing and utilizing that information effectively.”

“Overall, this course helped me dig deeper into how to apply some of the things I knew already as well teaching me new things and new ways to approach coaching.”

Members love training/competing with coaches!

Coach Zac Zuspann’s Thoughts

The dance of knowledge, effective communication, ability to engage/connect, and organizational skils.

A good teacher or coach generally has 1-2 of these traits down BUT a master has all of them WITH the ability to dial each aspect up or down depending on the athlete. We have all likely experienced that coach or teacher who is INTELLIGENT beyond measure, but never speaks the language of the student or is to dry and boring to hold anyone’s attention. On the other hand, we have all likely experienced that coach or teacher who is full of magnetic charisma but we know lacks knowledge and is full of shit! LOL

A great coach is like a chameleon who can feel the temperature of their athletes and effortlessly moves in and out of different approaches.

This course was a great reminder to hone in our weak points as coaches. The ability to identify these weaknesses and address them is likely the lowest hanging fruit on the path to becoming “master” coaches.

Some basics from course that stuck out for me!

  • Knowledge = Effective teaching requires in-depth knowledge of a movement — both major and nuanced points of performance that increase performance (efficiency) and/or decrease the risk for injury.
  • Cook it low and slow – This course was a great reminder that mastering movement takes TIME and that rushing into too much detail too quickly is usually detrimental. Effective teaching prioritizes communicating one or two major points of performance at a time, while building to proper execution of the full movement.
  • Nail the logistics to make it sink in – A stressed, disorganized group will rarely learn. Effective teaching requires delivery that leads to an engaged and organized group. Nailing down the small things like where athletes place their equipment, class timeline, clarity of scaling options etc will all lead to increased ability to coach members more effectively.
  • Short and Sweet – An effective teacher must be able to communicate in a way that is simple and easy to follow.
  • Have a process The course describes Use of the Tell-Show-Do-Check process while utilizing a 3-5-step progression. I love the progression, but it is most important that coaches have a go to pattern they use when teaching movement that allows them to be most effective.
Dancing or Demo?

Member Goal = Communication and Transparency

Our staff wants you to be successful in chasing your goals and in the pursuit health, happiness and performance! Here is how you can help – COMMUNICATE and be RADICALLY TRANSPARENT

Mastering movement and making consistent progress in the gym is HARD, and often very individualized in certain aspects. The only way the coaching staff can help push you through a plateau or an obstacle is if we know what is going on! We want to hear about your experience and challenges so we can find a solution to keep you on track.

Struggling with pain on a certain movement? LET YOUR COACH KNOW!

Frustrated with your progress in a certain area? LET YOUR COACH KNOW!

Having trouble establishing goals? LET YOUR COACH KNOW!

You get the idea. We do this (coach) because we love helping and serving others. An open and effective line of communication from members to coaches can make all the difference in our ability to equip you with the proper tools to reach your goals.

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