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"The Games is the least important thing that happens in CrossFit. There is nothing less important than The Games."

- Coach Glassman

Entries in teacher (9)

Quote of the Week vol. 203

"As someone who is a coach and a teacher, my main job is to be a student... What you are seeing right now from me is just work in progress, and so is everyone else."

- Carl Paoli

Leader of the New School: Murley Burly

Through a string of connections and interviews, Champions Club OG and coach Nicole Murley is now a full-time science teacher at Riverview Gabriel Richard High School.

Freshman Orientation is today, and tomorrow they begin the regular class schedule. She will be teaching two chemistry classes, two biology classes, and forensics. What's even more impressive is she got the job despite not even being finished with school yet.

This fall will prove to be very hectic for Murley. On top of her 7am - 3pm teaching gig every day, she is also taking a full courseload at Madonna. And if that wasn't enough, she has not given up running Cross Country - seeing as this is her final year of eligibility. As you can imagine, this schedule will be taking up a majority of her time and she most likely won't be available to coach at the gym this fall. Hopefully she managed to borrow Hermione's Time Turner because I can't imagine someone doing this many things at once. But if anyone can do it, it's Murley.

Good luck this semester! We have quite a few future teachers and educators in our ranks and they will no-doubt be following your lead. I am very proud of you and I'm sure I can speak for everyone else in saying the same thing. 

CrossFit for Teachers

If you wanna see an education student get fired up, ask them about Common Core or anything standardized. In this article, teacher Julie Potts adresses how CrossFit helped her teach each student as an invividual. For anyone who's interested in education or working with people at all, this article draws some good paralells.

21 + 15 + 9 = Better Teachers

by, Julie Potts

New Kid on the Block: Joe Johnston

Here's the big question: Who is the single most important person to influence the Champions Club (Besides Chris and Brian)? Is it Carl? Kelly? The Martins?

My vote is for Coach T. This new kid he brought into our ranks is another reason why.

Coach T and I sought out this year to develop a movement based physical education program in WCS that didn't just start when they got to his class in high school. We started out in the fall with a professional development day, where we got to introduce this idea to every P.E. teacher in the district.

You can see Mrs. Bass enthusiastically paying attention and Shiff dozing off on the top bleacher.

Joe is sitting closest to the camera in this shot taken during the clinic.Afterwards, all of the middle school teachers decided that they wanted to jump on board. We planned to meet this past winter to talk about movement principles more in depth and offer some tools to help them implement this stuff in their classrooms. The winter came, but the time for a clinic just wasn't available.

In a last ditch effort, Coach T sent out a plea to the teachers to consider one-on-one training as a second option. Joe answered the call.

Joe Johnston is the physical education teacher and basketball coach over at Beer Middle school. He's the kind of teacher that knows what's best for his kids and will do whatever it takes to make that happen. Naturally, he's loving fundamentals. Joe is already using hollow holds and trying new workouts in his classes after only three days of training. That's what I call buying in!

We have to schedule all of our sessions on weekends to fit both of our schedules, but Joe is moving along and catching on quickly. It looks like Joe will be another piece to the puzzle for Warren's MottFit revolution. Maybe he might think about training with us with his daughters over the summer as well!

New Kid on the Block: Mr. Shiff

Russell Shifferd is a Phys. Ed teacher at Warren Mott High School who has been following some of our movement standards since Murley's clinic in December. Through a recommendation of Coach T, Mr. Shiff signed up for Fundamentals with the plans of training with us a few times per week.

Mr. Shiff works out with Coach T in the mornings at school, so he is already coming in with good movement patterns. So far, we have been going over some theory behind how we move, as well as hammering shoulder mobility. He's had no problem with the strength movements like push-ups, dips, and pull-ups, and he picked up on the skill of those movements very quickly. If he remains consistent, we will be seeing improvements very soon.

He is scheduled for Day 5 later this week.

Day Care Diary vol. 1: The Plan

For those of you who didn’t know, I am currently doing “gym classes” two times a week at the Day Care that used to be at St. Dennis (now in Warren). I do eight 20-minute classes every Tuesday and Thursday with groups of anywhere from 2-9 three and four year olds. Yesterday was the end of my third week. So far, it has been one of the best learning experiences of my coaching career. I’ll definitely be sharing more as the year progresses, but I figured I’d give you guys some insight on what’s been going on.


So for the first time in as long as my memory serves me, I planned ahead. It went against everything I’ve ever told people, but I really felt like it was necessary this time around. First off, I was getting paid. Secondly, it had been awhile since I coached “the babies” – we didn’t have their group this Summer. Thirdly, I just figured I’d give this planning thing a try once and for all, and it was simple; base it off Fundamentals. Teach the hollow rock (all balled-up like), do a push-up with hands backwards, then jumping with foam between the feet, and finally let them run and maybe mesh it all into a workout kind of thing.

And then I walked into the room – which I came to find was about half the size of our loft.

And then the kids came in.

Immediately they began running around and jumping on the three mats I had out – all laughing hysterically.  So I attempted to corral the kids and have them ball up in a hollow rock, but they kept trying to run around. Same thing happened when I tried to switch gears to jumping with foam. I remember thinking it’s probably just a bad group. Then when the next group of six came in they did the exact same thing: frantic running and uncontrolled laughter. It was then I realized what “three years old” meant.

Champions Club "babies" - aka not three year olds

It took me one more session to figure out my new game plan: watch and learn. Now, the first five minutes of “class” are dedicated to stepping back and letting the kids do their thing. The less structure the better. And this brings me to the most important thing I’ve realized so far: I have learned ten times more in these three weeks than the kids have. Today, for instance, I learned:

  1. Sharing is not possible at this stage
  2. Shoes either stay on the whole time or stay off the whole time. Nothing in the middle.
  3. Kicking works better than throwing.
  4. Six kids in a session is ideal – this allows for “roughhousing” that doesn’t cascade into the mob beatings that happen in a session of nine.
  5. Fire alarms should not be low to the ground – or anywhere in the eyesight of Johnathan.

I think the role of a teacher or coach is to learn from the students, not to teach them. They figure things out; I observe how and why they do it. Where I might play a role is I can set a very broad standard that might expose something I want to know about how they can complete a movement, activity, or a game. That’s the extent of the game plan, but it’s all improvised on the spot – which is how I’m used to operating. And now that I actually have an idea of what I'm supposed to be doing there, let the real learning begin!

Teachable Moments







It's not very effective.



I cannot think of a more difficult, more highly underrated job than that of a substitute teacher. The substitute days are the days when you have a 10-minute worksheet to fill a 50-minute class period, or you sleep through a pointless movie. If the teacher does have a lesson plan for the sub, it usually never goes as planned. The students make it their mission to prevent the sub from doing anything productive. They'll say, "That's not how Mr(s). So-and-so does it!" Or something along those lines. The other teacher is just a temporary addition to the classroom, so most students treat them like an outsider, trying to manipulate them to avoid doing actual work.

Part of the problem comes from the position of substitute teaching itself. Teachers usually don't assign any new material while a sub is expected. Most substitute teachers are not actually certified to teach either. But that's not really the point.

What I'm trying to say is this: Everyone deserves your respect. At all times. You don't have to like them or agree with what they have to say. But you do have to give them the freedom to do their job to the best of their ability. Take coaching for example: You listen to Chris and (sometimes) me when we are running a session. What if a coach from another gym came to run a session for a day? What if that someone was Jarrod? What if it was another coach from our own gym, like Jason? How would you respond to the coach?

Whether they've had many years or only a few short months of experience, everyone from a substitute teacher to a coach has something to offer you. They have had different experiences and learned different things. They might be specialists in a particular area. If their process is different from what you're used to, it doesn't hurt to give their process a try. Let the substitute teacher run their own lesson plan. Let the new coach experiment with programming a different warmup, or a different way of coaching something. Think of every encounter with every teacher and coach as an opportunity to learn. Learn what works for you, and learn what things look like through a different lens. The best coaches and athletes can do this without thinking. They listen openly and are the first to try new things before criticizing them. These coaches and athletes are happen to be the ones to learn the most and improve more quickly. Coincidence? I think not.