In our constant quest to improve as coaches, an interesting thing happens to the best of us. We’re tempted to take ourselves too seriously when we’re coaching classes.
After all, we are professionals with a serious role. We help people improve their health and fitness. What we do has been proven to improve A1C levels and put Type 2 diabetes into remission. We’ve even helped people reduce their blood pressure enough to get off medication.
At the same time, we’re running a small business. We want clients to get results. Results are why people stick around. It’s pretty rare for someone to get a pull-up or normalize their blood pressure and quit the next month.
But we recognize the other key piece of the puzzle. They have to have fun! This is how we increase member retention and ultimately grow the business. Remember, people will forget what you said or did, but they won’t forget how you made them feel.
While it’s tempting to bombard clients with educational info and constantly focus on results, this alone won’t create the ultimate member experience. It might be what gets people to sign up but it’s not what keeps them coming back for years to come.
In addition to the results, it will be the way that you, your coaches and other gym community members make them feel. And sometimes the magic formula is as simple as providing a place for relationship-building and good, old-fashioned fun.
Six Ways to Make Coaching Classes Fun:
1. Start with a Question of the Day.
As simple or silly as it may sound, an ice-breaker can go a long way in bringing a fun energy to coaching classes right from the start.
While you’re warming the class up, ask a question of the day. This likely gets people talking and laughing, and (depending on the topic) maybe even provokes some friendly trash-talk.
Ask some light-hearted, controversial questions. Should pineapple be on pizza? What’s the correct way to put toilet paper on the roll? Or offer up some nostalgic questions. What’s something you know today you wish you knew at 18? What’s the best present you have ever received?
Another option is the “Would You Rather” game. If you had to give up something for a year, would you rather it be your cell phone or you car? Would you rather give up hot showers every day or your morning coffee?
Remember, keep the statements simple. Asking questions leading to long, elaborate stories will eat up too much time.
2. Never Have I Ever. But Make it a Warm-Up.
Another option is to find fun ways to connect questions to movement when you’re coaching classes. The “Never Have I Ever” game is a great example. And you can keep it as PG as your community feels comfortable with.
Here’s how it works: Have everyone gather in a big circle. As the coach, you pick the movement and start with a statement. For example, the movement is five wall balls and the statement is, “Never have I ever eaten a Big Mac.”
Anyone in the class who has eaten a Big Mac has to do five wall balls. Or, in an effort to make sure everyone is moving, assign a movement to either answer. For instance, five wall balls if you have eaten a Big Mac, only two if you haven’t.
This is a fun way to get to know people, create entertaining dialogue and get warmed up all at once.
3. Warm Up with Relay Races.
Relay races have always been a fun warmup option for coaching classes. And the best part is, you’re only limited by your imagination on how to create a fun one.
From crab walks to bear crawls, karaoke to med ball launches, team relays have a lot of benefits. They’re an effective way to get people socializing and build in some competitive fun. Plus, it generally adds some extra intensity into the warmup to get your members’ heart rates up.
Need some inspiration? Check out this CrossFit Journal article with some fun games and exercises to get your classes warmed up.
4. Guest Coach Warmup.
Chances are, several of your members have always wondered what it’s like to be a coach. The warm-up is a perfect opportunity to let them share the spotlight before you get into the more technical parts of coaching classes.
And who knows? Next time you're hiring coaches, you might have a few prospects!
One thing to note: When inviting a guest warm-up coach, avoid putting someone on the spot. If you’re going to extend the invite, let the member know about it ahead of class. If they’re experienced with CrossFit, they’ll likely be prepared ideas for warm-up movements. But always be ready to jump in and guide them if needed.
5. Encourage Barbell Sharing During Training.
Even if your gym has plenty of barbells, pairing people up is a fun idea. There’s some great social and community-building value in sharing barbells during the strength session of a class.
One option is to pair people that have a similar strength level. Experienced athletes will have fun coaching each other and offering tips. And newer athletes will likely appreciate the camaraderie in learning the basics with others at their level.
Another option is to consider pairing a more experienced athlete up with a newer member. Sometimes we forget how intimidating it can be to be in group classes during the first few months. So any help a new member can get to learn and feel more comfortable is great for increasing member retention.
6. Walk it Out to Cool it Down.
Once the MetCon is finished, a 200m-400m cooldown walk is the perfect way to finish coaching classes with some camaraderie. Walking is achievable for every fitness level in your class and there are a ton of health benefits.
Not only is it good for the nervous system, but it’s a better option than lying on the floor to recover from a tough WOD. Plus, the biggest benefit is in the chance for your members to connect and commiserate.
And finally, a group walk is a great opportunity for coaches to share any pertinent gym announcements or updates.
Pro Tip: Make sure members never miss an update by using PushPress Grow workflows to create the ultimate member experience. Book a free demo with our team today to find out more!
In Summary: The Recipe is Fitness Results with a Side of Fun.
There’s plenty of evidence to show that helping members get results is one of the goals of coaching classes. However, there’s also something magical about a group of adults that are really having fun. Laughing like children, enjoying their activity and connecting with one another are all indicators of a unique member experience.
As a coach, you have the opportunity to create that experience for them. Ask questions and play games. Try relay races or guest warmup coaches. Encourage pairing up and then bring it all together with a group cooldown walk. These things can develop a community culture that sparks friendships and keeps members coming back.