Inside the Certified CrossFit Level 4 Coach Performance Evaluation

ByNicole CarrollNovember 21, 2022

The Certified CrossFit Level 4 Coach (CF-L4) performance evaluation officially launched in January 2023. It’s worth a deep dive into the CF-L4 to explain how we developed this evaluation, give you a sense of what it entails, and tell you why it’s not only groundbreaking within CrossFit but also within the greater fitness and strength-and-conditioning world. Let’s get into it!

The History and Progression of the CF-L4

The Level 4 was developed from a rigorous performance-based evaluation formerly offered by CrossFit. At the time, that assessment was called the Level 2, but this was replaced with the updated education-based course (not an exam but rather a developmental course) that exists today.

A small number of people who passed that old Level 2 and then passed the Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT)/L3 exam were awarded the L4. They maintain this credential by meeting CEU requirements and coaching hours each year, which is why there are current L4s in our coaching community.

Before we get into the specifics of the evaluation, let’s take a moment to recap the progression that leads a coach to take the CF-L4. The Level 1 Certificate Course is our introductory course. This is where individuals learn the fundamental principles and movements of CrossFit. The Level 2 Certificate Course develops an individual’s ability to put these principles into practice and coach others in real time. The Level 3 is a certification and is a written, computer-based exam for the experienced trainer who wants to demonstrate a higher level of CrossFit coaching knowledge. Finally, the Level 4 certification is unique because it is an in-person performance-based evaluation for experienced coaches who have been coaching CrossFit in a group setting for several years. Candidates should be comfortable coaching a group of athletes of varied and unknown skill levels and abilities through any number of movements common to CrossFit.

The Evaluation 

The CF-L4 is not a course, it’s an evaluation of a trainer’s coaching ability. In the evaluation, a candidate coaches two workouts and is evaluated across six domains: teaching, seeing, correcting, class management, presence and attitude, and application. This real-time, in-person performance evaluation is what makes the CF-L4 so groundbreaking. No coursework, educational content, or on-site development is associated with the evaluation.

The new evaluation has an updated content outline and exam format. It was developed in lockstep with third-party testing consultants and psychometricians who have validated the evaluation process and assisted with the development of our rigorous rater training.

In any testing situation, the most important things are fairness (everyone gets rated on the same criteria) and rater reliability (raters score against an objective standard). With a performance-based assessment, this challenge is much greater than with a written exam. Fortunately, the precision of our trainer evaluation criteria (the six domains mentioned above) has enabled us to develop a fair and reliable performance-based exam.

The development of the exam was led by CrossFit content experts who are also longtime coaches and successful affiliate owners. This team is driven by a genuine passion for making great coaches, which is unique in the fitness industry. In working with third-party testing experts to validate our approach and assessment, we’ve combined the passion and subject-matter expertise of experienced CrossFit coaches and affiliate owners with industry-standard rigor in testing and evaluation development to create something exceptional.

How Do I Prepare for the CF-L4?

The prerequisites for this exam — L1, L2, and L3, as well as experience on the gym floor — are the best preparation for this exam. The L2, with its focus on real-time development against the same six criteria used in the L4 evaluation, will be particularly useful to people in preparing for the exam. The other best preparation for the exam is to seek out places to get actionable feedback and mentoring on your coaching ability from other great coaches in the ecosystem before attempting the assessment.

To take the evaluation, candidates must be 18 years or older, possess an active Certified CrossFit Level 3 Trainer (CF-L3) credential, and submit proof of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training completed within the last two years.

Why Should I Take the CF-L4?

The pursuit of the L4 will make you a better coach. The path to get there requires you to go through the L1 and L2 courses and pass the L3 exam. Everything we develop for coaches is designed to support those who are committed to delivering the highest-quality CrossFit experience versus just checking a box. While a credential alone does not make a great trainer, especially in the larger fitness certification industry, pursuing higher credentials with CrossFit truly does drive the development and improvement of one’s coaching ability and offers both personal satisfaction and professional distinction.

Earning this credential is no small feat. It means an individual has demonstrated advanced coaching abilities through a real-time performance assessment. This is an essential milestone in a coach’s career and one that signals coaching mastery developed over many years.

CrossFit trainers need to have the option to earn the CF-L4, as it fuels the advancement of their careers while simultaneously positively impacting CrossFit affiliates, athletes, and the CrossFit community.

Comments on Inside the Certified CrossFit Level 4 Coach Performance Evaluation


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Eamonn Boylan
November 30th, 2022 at 12:10 am
Commented on: Inside the Certified CrossFit Level 4 Coach Performance Evaluation

Really exciting to see the L-4 being released. Respect to all the coaches around the world pushing their limits and working hard in uncomfortable areas. All in the name of growth and development.

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