Bedford Days: CrossFit & Barbells on the Waterfront, July 2nd

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About Our Culture - It’s Time For The Talk

Date Posted August 19 2015

I'm a coach, one of my responsibilities is protecting the box’s culture.

What the heck am I talking about? Let me explain. First, we have to understand what “culutre” is. The culture in the box is a collective feeling of teamwork, enthusiasm, and work ethic. Some boxes have an incredibly strong culture. You can see it when you’ve trained in one of these places. You look around and notice things:

  1. Everybody is training hard, focused and not screwing around.
  2. The whole crew gets along really well. They cheer for each other.
  3. If any of the athletes dislike each other, you can’t see it.
  4. It’s obvious that the coach is in charge, and the athletes like it that way. 
  5. People know what they’re supposed to be doing without having to be bottle-fed every five minutes. The workouts are structured and organized.
  6. Athletes have been taught correctly. The technique is all sharp, speedy, and consistent. 
  7. You hear occasional chirps. People bust each other’s chops and nobody gets bent out of shape about it. This shows that they all trust each other.
  8. Nobody talks when they’ve got their hands on a bar. 

When you visit different boxs, you can almost rate their culture on a scale of one to ten. Some places are tens, big time. It makes a pretty stiff impression on you when you go there. If you don’t train there regularly, you wish you did.  If you do train there regularly, you’ve got a little bit of an attitude because you know how much ass you kick.  That’s a good thing!

Other places might rate lower, seven or eight... The culutre in these places is still quality, but it’s just not as strong as the others. 

Places with really crappy cultures are rare. They don’t stay open for very long because they’re basically just a collection of losers. These people get out of CrossFit quickly, which is why you don’t bump into them very often. You might occasionally see a place with a rating of one or two, you just happen to visit during the short window of time before it collapses. When you’re there, it’s a lame experience that puts you to sleep. 

Now, here’s where my job becomes important. We've got a strong culture going in our program, so I have to guard it.  This means I can’t let some dysfunctional personalities come into our place and screw things up. I’m talking about vogue athletes, drama starters, whiners, attention seekers, tantrum throwers, lazy turds, etc.  The world is a complex place and we all know these people are living among us. Occasionally, they decide they want to be CrossFitters. When they join, I have a job to do.

The job is very simple, actually. I make it clear to this person that they’re either going to shape up or ship out. They have to understand that they’re not going to walk into this program and start causing problems that will wreck our culure. They have two options: 

A) They can make changes in their attitude that will allow them to fit in with the crowd and contribute to strengthening our culture.
B) They can pack up their stuff and get the hell out. 

That’s it, end of conversation.  Now, I believe it’s my resposibility to try as hard as possible to make option A happen.  If these people have trouble working with others, I teach them to straighten up just like I teach snatch technique. It’ll require some patience, understanding that their quirks aren’t going to change with the snap of my fingers. I'll probably have to reprimand them at some point. I might even have to raise my voice and be harsh about it. 

The most important thing is having all of my athletes aware that I'm not going to let this odd duck mess up the Rocky Lake experience. People who have been with me for a long time deserve my loyalty, and that might mean I have to pull the plug and kick troublemakers out of the program if they absolutely, positively won’t reform. It’s a fine line to walk because I want to help people, to guide them along and make their attitudes more positive.  But I can’t keep tolerating them if they refuse to change and this culture is dropping into the toilet.

You guys are not only members... your family, so I'll take care of you.  Keeping the culute high is how I try to do that. 

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