Sharing programming amongst coaches

Are you and your coaches sharing programming and simply “filling in the blanks?”

Or do you find your programming off of the internet the night or even the week before your classes because you saw a workout that you had to try?

There are inherent risks to programming this way and although plugging workouts into your clients’ schedules may seem simple, programming for consistent results and longevity is anything but simple.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that thoughtful programming has a template and design and is NOT random; random program = random results.

Simply taking something you saw on the internet completely disregards these aspects of a thoughtful plan and does not put your clients in the best possible position.

In the same token, when multiple coaches take on programming it’s easy for there to be oversight of energy systems, movement pairings, and overall objectives.

Here are some reasons why you should think twice about taking programming off of the internet or sharing it among multiple coaches.

  • Mindset: It’s nearly impossible to know the mindset of the coach from whom you are taking your programming. Although it may seem obvious based off of the program design, and assuming you did your homework researching months of old programming leading up until this day of programming, then you may be able to speculate, but you’re only guessing at best. Similarly, if multiple coaches are taking on the programming there would need to be clear lines of communication that involves sitting down and meeting to write the programming. Without that, you’ll be in the same situation if you had simply taken it off of the internet from another coach.
  • Oversight: Simply “filling in the blanks” should be avoided at all costs. There are many things wrong with this approach that will more than likely result in an “overlap” that can put your clients into potentially dangerous situations. It’s one thing for one coach to program 4-8 weeks at a time, but playing fill-in-the-blank is not going to be the best method of getting your clients results and keeping them healthy.
  • Overtraining: The risk of overtraining is real. This is a phenomenon that athletes may not recover from and lose all motivation to train at your box again. Other deleterious effects are a loss of appetite, weight, depression; clearly, all things that will not lend themselves to longevity. Consequently, without having background information, there may not be ample recovery between sessions which, over time, will run your clients into the ground. Many coaches are still of the mindset that hard-work = results and while there is some truth to this the work must be intelligently structured. Similarly, sharing programming amongst multiple coaches it would be easy to overlook the effects of high-intensity conditioning work or training the same planes of the body multiple days in a row.
  • Overuse: Without having a concise timeline of all past programming, the chance of overuse injuries increases. Overuse injuries will take your clients out of the game and diminish the trust they have for you and your coaches. In the case of multiple coaches taking on programming, it’s unlikely that one coach will want to be the coach that programs the “non-sexy” work. We know that compound movements play a role in your clients’ success, but too much of anything is a bad thing. A balance of assistance work will yield for more consistent results and as well as facilitate recovery. With multiple coaches programming, this balance can be neglected where the coach will more than likely be compelled to play to their own biases.
  • Negligence: It’s perfectly fine to use other peoples’ workouts, CrossFit benchmarks, Hero Workouts, etc., but they MUST fit into a PLAN and be accounted for. By taking someones else’s programming, there is no way that you can know this. Also, how much time and effort are you putting into the health and welfare of your clients if you’re simply taking your programming off of the internet the night before your classes? I get it, you’re pressed for time, but if that’s the case seek the help of a professional. You may be surprised just how well an outside coach can program for your clients.
  • Research: Who are you taking your programming from? It could be from a coach that has less experience in program design than you. Just because a coach is a great athlete or has trained a few high-level athletes does NOT mean they are an expert in program design.
  • Testing Fitness: If you’re using someones else’s programming how can you have a normal timeline of testing to prove to your clients that they are getting better? The great part of having a structured plan is we know exactly when to retest vital training pieces and we aren’t just haphazardly inserting pieces into our programming. This also rings true when multiple coaches are involved in programming each week; it’s much harder to lose sight of your testing-timeline with multiple chiefs on board.
  • Audience: It’s commonplace to take CrossFit Competitor programming off the internet and apply to the general population. Stop doing this! Your clients want to look and feel better, not incur a skeletal injury. If you’re doing this take a hard look at the logic here and ask yourself if doing high-volume, high skill movements all-the-time is really going to translate into long-term health.
  • “The Why”: More times than not you’re not going to receive background information when taking programming off of the internet. Things like the desired outcome, recommended loading, how a workout should “feel”, or overall objectives. How many workouts do you see on social media that actually tell you what the loading and effort should feel like? Or better yet, how many tell you the actual method that is being used other than just “going hard AF?” These are things that can be instrumental in your athletes receiving the proper stimulus and therefore improve their chances of long-term success.

As Louie Simmons always says, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Taking workouts off of the internet and using them down the road assuming they fit into your template/plan is perfectly fine.

Taking programming off of the internet the night before and posting it for the next day’s classes, you’ll completely miss the boat on key aspects of program design that will help increase the chance of success for your clients.

Lastly, allowing multiple coaches to program each week also presents a myriad of drawbacks. The best bet is to have ONE coach that is in charge of programming.

This coach can certainly take feedback from other coaches at your box, but this will prevent a number of serious issues that could arise while keeping the programming more consistent.

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