You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great!

The difference between a coach and a cheer-leader. By Jan Westrik. Head coach at CrossFit Iceni – Colchester
Posted On : October 24, 2016

The difference between a coach and a cheer-leader.


There is a common misconception between what a good coach actually is. To determine what the difference is, we must first define what, in my opinion, a coach should be.

“A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who can be who you always knew you could be…” 

This is a quote I really like from Sara Sigmundsdotir. The most important part for me is the “tells you what you don’t want to hear”. Far too often people say “but they’re a great coach!” But what they’re actually saying is they told you you were doing amazing for an hour, and you left that class feeling amazing – why wouldn’t you? You’ve paid good money and put faith in an individual to coach you. When in actual fact your movement was far from perfect and you could massively improve on your technique. But no one had the balls to tell you. 

This is when a coach should step in and give you the correct queues to improve your movements. But this is where the art of good coaching comes in. It’s all well and good picking apart everyones movement and saying “this is wrong, and that is wrong…” But a great coach will leave you feeling like you have achieved something in that session; feeling like you left having improved in your technique and achieving something that you couldn’t have done before. 


As a coach, I feel that this comes down to the individual you are coaching. Is that person there to improve themselves? Or are they there for an ego boost? This may sound harsh but there are 2 types of people that walk into any fitness class and you have to work people out pretty quickly. 

This brings me back to the cheer-leader. Have you ever been in a fitness class where the person taking the session spends more time shouting at the class, than walking around checking form, or making sure that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing? There are endless videos of crazy inturucters on Facebook and other social media – where the front row of the class look to be working really hard, but everyone in the back are looking out the window. At first glance this looks amazing fun and why wouldn’t you want to try this!? But look a little deeper and you find that if you’re not one of the ones that excel, then you’ll be left to struggle at the back. 


At CrossFit Iceni, we have a little saying when it comes to coaching classes. “You’re only as good as the person that’s struggling the most.” What we mean by this is we work to bring the base level of every class up, rather than spending that hour focused on the people that are the most competent. 


CrossFit Iceni, Hawkins Road, Colchester, CO28JY

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Great classes with Great coaches who are always there to push you and make sure your technique is spot on. Crossfit is a fantastic way to get fitter, stronger and more flexible! I would recommend Iceni to anyone!  

-Amy Hughes

Crossfit Iceni is in one word AMAZING from the Main workouts and personal training sessions to the atmosphere and the coaches, I just can\'t say where this box needs improving i am the sort of person that goes in and out of different fitness phases and normally after a few weeks I give up but not at Iceni!!! All day I think about training there and seeing the awesome people at the box and testing myself every day! I feel great and better than ever and Crossfit Iceni can take all the credit for that I would recommend this box to everyone I meet. 

-Will Goody

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