- Happy birthday, Daniel B. and Carolyn H.!
Starting Class with Introductions
The original version of this article appeared on Coach David’s blog Inside the Affiliate.
A longstanding tradition at CFSBK is to start classes with introductions and a short Question of the Day (QOD) while we do our general movement preparation. We’ve been doing this since the 2007 days when were still meeting in a park and over time, it’s become a staple of our class template. Initially, I just thought it was a nice way to start classes and get people acquainted, but it has since proven to be a valuable tool for setting the tone of the class, learning peoples’ names, and showcasing the personality of our members and coaches. The QOD reflects the importance we place on both having an on-going, continual conversation with our members and creating opportunities to foster a sense of community.
Especially for newbies, CrossFit group classes can be really intimidating. By adding some light introductions and silly banter at the beginning of class, we simultaneously break the ice and get everyone to relax and laugh at themselves.
Intros are a great opportunity for people to help learn each other’s names, especially for regulars who often share a bar with the same few people each class.
A lot needs to be accomplished within a group class and there isn’t much time to spend trying to create the warm and fuzzys. This is why we always couple intros alongside basic movement prep. You’ve probably noticed that class usually starts with the coach having everyone circle up to start some dynamic range of motion movements (DROMs). We also do this during ground-based mobilization. As folks are hunting around looking for tight positions, we go through names and questions.
You may have noticed that in some larger classes, the coach will skip the QOD. We know this makes you sad, but completing the QOD sometimes becomes difficult since it will take longer to go around the circle and people might not talk loud enough for those across the circle to hear. (Talk louder!! We all want to know your answers!) It also makes it harder for our coaches to stay within the time budgeted for movement prep. Take these classes as an opportunity to ask questions of your bar partner or get to know a person you’ve never met before.
We asked for our members’ thoughts on the Question of the Day and we’ve included some of their responses below:
Two people said the QOD was incredibly helpful when they came out of our Foundations program, in terms of getting to know the coaches and other members, and another wrote that it “makes us closer in a weird way.” Peter M. said that “knowing the names of the people you’re working out with and a little something about their personalities is a part of what makes CrossFit special to me.” Lauren B. wrote that she’s a “big fan of introductions and hearing bizarre bits about people. When you’re new it makes you feel part of what’s going on instantly. Over time it builds community. Discovering your own strange habits and opinions is a nice bonus.” Richard G. wrote, “Of all the reasons I keep coming back to CFSBK (health, fitness, varied workouts), one of the main reasons has been the community. And learning names facilitates those encouraging hoots and cheers during the workouts.”
We don’t underestimate the power of creating a novel and interesting experience in your day. We hope these are the kinds of little things that keep people coming back to CFSBK. We want to make space for you to put some names to new faces and have a laugh, and for us, it’s an opportunity to learn your names and have informal face time with everyone who takes classes at the gym.
We also love occasionally posting QODs on the blog. So tell us: What is your favorite piece of art?
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