Shaping a Box Culture

Posted by Kayla Castro
Aug 25 2014


As a coach and owner of a large box with 24 coaches and hundreds of athletes I feel like I need to shape the culture of our gym by doing as little as possible to shape the culture of our gym. I know that sounds ridiculous.

I tell my coaches often that I don’t want PCF to be “The Brian Wilson Show”. This is based on the presumption that I don’t know everything that makes a successful box and I don’t know what is going to make everyone happy. What I strive for is an organic or evolutionary process that naturally encourage and discourages certain types of behavior. Greg Glassman made the statement once, which resonates with me: “If you make me do something, even if I’m already doing it, I’ll stop doing it. Even if I thought it was a good idea and it was something that I wanted to do. I’m not going to be told what to do.”

I’ve talked about this before in terms of why some people train with us. While I do “tell you what to do” in a specific training sense during WODs, I don’t tell you exactly how to do everything because I want to a) let organic processes based on individuals decisions select best practices, and b) want folks that fit into our prevailing culture that’s based on a dynamic and responsive system and community of athletes.

Our culture will shift, change, and morph based on what folks want to do more than by what I tell people to do. The only really hard and fast rule I have is that nobody will affect the culture, policies or practices at the expense of another athlete or athletes. If folks want to do something, whether that’s a larger project like Throwdowns, Competition Teams, Happy Hours, or a seemingly smaller thing like cheering on athletes at the end of workouts, taking shirts off during WODs or asking for more Ke$sha, I’m going to try it or not do anything to stop it based on the simple proposition that anybody can do whatever feels right to them so long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else. If it’s something that catches on, great! That’ll be another facet of our culture. If it doesn’t that means that most athletes don’t share your love of cheering, shirtless WODs or amazing DJing.

This puts a tremendous responsibility on athletes especially, because I’m not going to see everything that has a positive or negative effect on your satisfaction with PCF. It puts the onus on you to both take part in practices that you see as beneficial and try to stop practices that don’t. So if you like what somebody is doing (whether that’s me, a coach or an athlete) pat them/us on the ass and say “good game”. And if you don’t, do something about it.

[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 140603]


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