While it might work for some people—possibly the more naturally technical folks out there—for many, nothing can replace a real life coach.
This isn’t a knock at those who hire virtual coaches and who go back-and-forth online sharing programming, thoughts and videos. But if you’re like me and need more hands-on, in-person care, there are plenty of CrossFit coaches in your area who are incredibly passionate about developing elite CrossFit athletes.
Technical aspects aside, there are many other, more subtle considerations to take into account when hiring a coach. Do you prefer someone who calms you down or someone who builds you up? Do you prefer a tough love approach, or do you need constant reassurance? And what about things like gender and sexual attraction? And if you coach at a gym already, like myself, maybe you want a personal coach who doesn’t go to your gym: I love the fact that I have a second facility where I go once a week, where I’m merely an athlete.
If you’re in the market for a personal coach, here some Vancouver-based options, coaches who do individual programming and personal training sessions with their regional-level athletes:
Chris Schaalo at CrossFit North Vancouver:
I might be a little biased, since Chris is my coach, but I will say that I wouldn’t be half the athlete I am now if it weren’t for Chris. I’ve been doing CrossFit since 2009, and hiring Chris was hands-down the best thing I did for my athletic development. We use a google doc to share workouts each week, where I leave notes for him and he for me, and then we meet up once a week on Fridays for a one-on-one session, where we usually work on weaknesses and more technical skills and lifts. Without him, I never would have made it to the Games last year. Personality-wise, he’s a calming presence. He’s honest, but always puts a positive spin on things, so if you’re an insecure and emotional athlete like myself, Chris is your guy.
Tom Sarosi at CrossFit Vancouver:
Again, I might be a little biased since I’m dating him, but I’ve watched his intense passion for coaching over the last two years. His goal isn’t to be a top-level CrossFit athlete. His goal is to be a top CrossFit coach. He sits there into all hours of the night geeking out—devouring articles, videos, information about the latest training methodologies. Last year, he took on Natalie Duronio as his prodigy, and in just one year of training she qualified and will compete at the West Regional in four weeks. He's more of the tough love type and is known for his “Tompliments ” (aka subtle compliments).
Nate Beveridge or Rob Perovich at Hybrid Athletics:
Nate and Rob have proven themselves as athletes, team leaders and coaches year-after-year. Their results speak for themselves. They’re known for their big volume and relentless work ethic, which is also reflected in their athletes, like Delaina Snider, who seems to be able to go, go go. Both Nate and Rob provide individual programming for and train non-Hybrid Athletics members. Up-and-comer, Deanna Schaper Kotter, for example, from CrossFit Kitsilano, who had the best score in the Canada West Region in 15.5, is one of Beveridge's athletes.
I know there are many, many more coaches out there who want to work with aspiring regionals and Games-level athletes, and I truly believe you can’t do it alone. You need someone in your corner who knows your strength and weaknesses, someone who can tell you exactly how to warm-up for Event 1 when you’re nervous as anything, and someone who knows what you need emotionally.