The doctor said I couldn’t DO Crossfit for a few weeks. She didn’t say I couldn’t COACH Crossfit, and yes I asked specifically.

That meant I got to coach the 6:15 Bootcamp today and it also exposed some areas in my coaching technique that need some development.

My doctor allowed me to coach, but put two restrictions on my activity: 1) No demonstrating movements and 2) just generally take it easy. Ruh-roh, Raggy. If you know me at all, then you know that she’s pretty much described the exact opposite of me.

I always demonstrate movements to the class before I let them practice. As for “take it easy,” well, that’s just not how I’m wired. I’m loud. I’m energetic, boisterous, bouncy, all that and more. It’s just how I’m wired. So I had to give some real thought to how to make things happen this morning.

The first part wasn’t too hard. There were some veteran athletes in class today and they were glad to demonstrate activities while I spoke and highlighted points of performance for everyone else. Honestly, this is a tactic I should employ more. It can be difficult trying to talk and chew gum at the same time when I demonstrate myself. Form breaks down while I’m chatting or whatever. Being forced to adopt it today wasn’t a bad thing and I need to try and incorporate it more. It’s not that it’s particularly hard. It’s simply not the first option that my mind reaches for. Need to concentrate on that more.

The inability to demonstrate is going to present an even bigger challenge next Saturday in the kids class. So much of that teaching methodology is  based on Simon Says/Mirror my Actions sort of instruction. Working around that will be tricky. Hopefully I have a few kids who are familiar with the moves who I can use as examples. Realistically, by next week I should be good to do squats and simple movements. I just shouldn’t be throwing myself on the floor for burpees or running amok around the room with the kids. That brings us to the second challenge which was/is much harder to manage.

I am by my nature goofy and loud and it takes a lot of self-restraint to keep myself from jumping directly into the middle of a METCON which I am coaching. I was immobile so long before I started Crossfit, that now I just have a hard time not getting in the game. In most coaching settings that translates pretty well to a lot of enthusiasm, encouragement and support for the athletes. I harness that energy by bouncing around the room spot correcting folks, encouraging the group and individuals, some times poking good natured ribbing at folks who I know can take it. For example today, during one of the rounds of side plank one of the athletes went a bit zen and closed their eyes, presumably to try and calm themselves. I saw this and called out, “oh look. He’s pissed at me. He won’t even make eye contact with me any more.” Folks chuckled. It helped lighten the moment in a very intense workout. I didn’t say anything critical of the individual, just harmless fun.

Today I had to concentrate to WALK my circuits around the room and keep my energy restrained a bit to avoid getting carried away. In the end, I think I was reasonably successful.

After the class though, it left me thinking. I’m going to need to keep this experience in mind for the kids’ classes too. While my goofy schtick generally helps me connect with most kids, it’s not fool-proof. Not every kid WANTS to hang out with the big goofy loud guy. I forget that to a kid, I’m a fairly big person. Add a healthy dose of noise and jumpiness and that’s bound to intimidate. I will have to work to find that middle ground of high-energy and enthusiasm without going totally over the top as I’m prone to do.

When it’s all said and done a simple bootcamp session turned out to be a very valuable training session.