CrossFit Level II Certification

Almost five years ago, I received my CF Level 1 certification. Hell yeah! My perception going into the Level 1 was that after I receive it, I will be a CrossFit guru. What I learned over the next few months and extend that to now over the last four and half years, not so much.

What the CFL1 certifies is that you know the nine fundamental movements and progressions. What the CFL1 doesn’t teach a coach is just that, how to coach. After I received my Level 1, I was flying high on cloud nine, bushy tailed and bright eyed, ready to change people’s’ lives through CrossFit. Seemed easy enough, plus I had been CrossFitting for over a year at that time. I got this, I thought. After my one week of shadowing was complete, the training wheels came off. Ready go.

As a CF athlete, what one doesn’t think about is, the coach must come up with a warm-up, lead everyone through progressions, make sure everyone is moving so they don’t get hurt, start the clock (no one teaches you how to start the clock by the way so you just start hitting buttons), oh and you must get everything completed in an hour. As a new coach will learn, that hour goes by fast and typically a new coach will run over the first several classes.

The most difficult part of finding your way is learning how different types of people learn. You can have the best cue in the world to fix someone’s squat, but there will always be one person who looks at you like you are crazy…find another cue…and another…and another…and another until you are able to get through to that person. Not only that, but there are so many different personality types. The over achiever who wants to RX everything when they need to scale back, the ‘I know more than you athlete’, the guy who nods his head about technique and then once the clock starts does his own thing, and lastly, the athlete that is coachable (we love you). Managing all these things is not covered in the Level 1, so a coach has to learn by trial and error.

Since my Level 1 will be up this year, I had a decision to make. Take the easy way and renew my Level 1, or push myself and go after the Level 2 (and bank account for that matter).  And holy cow does the Level 2 push a coach. Imagine trying to correct athletes who have been CrossFitting for over five years, while being judged by our industry’s’ top tier coaches, Level 4 coaches. Talk about being knocked down a peg (try about five pegs). But as one coach told me years ago and I carry this mantra in my daily life, if you are not uncomfortable then you are not growing.

What I learned in the Level 2 was how to look for subtle movement flaws, how to run a class efficiently, how to manage different personalities, that a coach has to be relentless in standards (yes, get the French toast down there in the damn wall balls) barring any physical limitations, how to program better, what to look for in programming, how to plan a class (no coaches, you don’t have an hour to coach, try 50 minutes, people have to gear up and use the bathroom).

The Level 2 was a two-day intense hard look at what you are currently doing, and what you need to be doing as a coach. I am very glad I took it because it not only makes me a better coach but it also translates into my full-time job and family life as well.