What is a Crossfit Teacher?

22 Sep

What are your roles, responsibilities, and boundaries as a CrossFit teacher in terms of the teaching/training cycle?

Crossfit London will shortly open its new coaching academy in October, where we will begin to get to grip with “in the trench teaching”, or ‘hand to hand learning”

In this first material, Andrew discusses some of the general teaching obligations of a Crossfit London, and Blackboard Gym trainer

“The aim of all Crossfit teaching should be to deliver top rate learning by focusing on the fundamentals” (Glassman, 2006).

To date, the teaching cycle seems to be the most effective method of delivering effective basics.

The teaching cycle, according to Wilson (2008), suggests the following looped process of : identify the needs, plan the teaching, deliver the teaching, and assess the teaching.

The cycle puts one fundamental obligation on teachers, to ensure that nothing impedes the students learning. It is from this perspective that the role, responsibilities and boundaries of the teacher needs to be reviewed

The role of the Crossfit teacher is a fairly obvious: facilitator, organiser, subject expert, researcher, communicator: broader or shorter lists can readily be found by google search. However it is the responsibilities and boundaries in which the teacher operates that gives this list further meaning.

Responsibilities and boundaries are often found within industry codes of conduct, in this case the Institute for learning (IFL., 2010) promotes a code of professional conduct on which the following review is based

The learning cycle is an ongoing process that emphasises the need to to be open minded and critical about new techniques, new learners, new knowledge and self performance. However the responsibility on the teacher is only to deliver what the teacher is competant and qualified to deliver. Whilst Crossfit does not have a formal CPD structure, all teachers are expected to undertake CPD (IFL, 2010) activities and belong to professional bodies.

An obvious impediment to physical learning is injury. The responsibility for the teacher is that students need to be kept safe as part of a planned process (HSE, 2010), from health and safety, appropriate drills, safe equipment, access to further support (fire. ambulance, police). This obligation follows all stages of the teaching cycle and should not be relegated to a tick box form. A passion for safety is interwoven into the fabric of the cycle, including assessments of near misses.

Discrimination undermines all stages of the teaching cycle as it diverts the teachers mind from focusing on the student, instead focusing on personal discrimination. This can cause uninformed judgement about students which can impede their learning, hence government places the responsibility on all teachers to act in a non discriminatory way especially in the areas of sex and sexuality, race, disability and human rights, In short this amounts to the overarching obligation to be fair.

There is an obvious responsibility to Administer and plan : to keep evidence and records in accordance with the data protection act, and ensure that copyrights, etc are not violated.

Administration and planning is not merely a step, it must follow the cycle through every stage, recording attendance, writing up reflections, updating the scheme of work amending session plans, otherwise there is no real way of ensuring that the whole of the curiculuum has been delivered. and no effective way to record and push forward improvements. Planing should ensure resources are available.

To be effective, learning should be tailored to the individuals needs. Within the Crossfit London class delivery system this means all sessions should use a variety of drills that could appeal to different learning styles (visual, auditory and kinetic, VAK) : a mixture of cues, demonstrations, and hands on correction, where appropriate.

Issues of sexual inappropriateness seem to dominate most discussions of boundaries, and whilst they are serious in nature, and often attract publicity , it is the low level violation of boundaries that can be more damaging to the students. Boundaries should remind Crossfit trainers that as both professional and individuals, they have limitations: they must be ready and willing to refer issues and to make it clear where there expertise ends, and amateur personal interest begins. Teachers are paid professionals, and they should not use their role to seemingly validate uniformed, unqualified information, nor should authority be misused to impose personal beliefs on others.

Superficially, this seems worryingly complex, but the role, responsibilities and boundaries of the teacher in teaching cycle makes sense, once the learner is placed in the middle. Once the delivery of excellence is understood, as part of a vibrant ongoing process, the mundane lists of duties, legislation, do’s and don’ts, comes alive.


  • Glassman, Greg, 2006. Crossfit Journal .Fundamentals, virtuosity and mastery. Crossfit Inc.
  • Institute for learning 2010 The code of professional practice accessed 21 september at www.ifl.ac.uk
  • Health and safety executive: statutory guidelines. accessed 21 sept http://www.hse.gov.uk/
  • Wilson L (2008) Practical Teaching: A Guide to PTLLS and CTLLS . Delmar Cengage Learning

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