The State of Competitions

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Competitions are a way for us to get involved with the local community, hang out with our friends, push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and excitedly anticipate the upcoming date. Such is true for many of you right now in the FCF community, as the Masters is now less than a month away. At this time each year, I start getting all of the emails asking for events, updates, movements, tips, hints, etc. I love that people are into this event, and I love the anticipation…but I would be lying if I said that it didn’t make me a bit more sad each year when I get asked these things.

Competitions events used to be announced the day of, right before the event. There was an announcement, brief of movements, then the athletes were released and this HUGE buzz overtook the crowd, who now knew their challenge. Athletes would scatter off to get their equipment, start their warm-up, text their coaches and discuss among themselves what their plan would be. It would remain to be seen what the winning strategy would be. It was equal parts puzzle, gaming and talent. It was fun, I felt something in those moments that was special–even more so as a coach. Sometimes it was something an athlete couldn’t do…or something an athlete didn’t know if they could do because they’d never been faced with it. You had 30-minutes to practice, and get advice from the coach-competitors, and sometimes you failed. But sometimes…you would accomplish, be a part of, or see something special. First muscle-ups, handstand walks or push-ups, PRs in lifts and movements that the person couldn’t achieve just a moment ago in practice; their competition juices flowed just enough to make it possible on the floor.

It was electric.

Now competitions are expected to release full events. Competitions are expected to release the entire layout weeks beforehand. Athletes anticipate practicing the events with their teams, or perfecting the movements. I have competed in CF for over 8 years, and I can definitively tell you, that if you practice a full workout before the date of the event, that competition WILL NOT BE AS FUN FOR YOU. You will already know if you can do everything, and likely talk yourself into scaling something because it didn’t go perfectly in run-through. There won’t be much adversity for you, and your biggest success will likely be beating your practice times, which doesn’t bring about a fire or passion like we used to see. It takes away strategy, and the unknown, and often times gets us a competition full of properly paced athletes performing only the movements they know they can do. This is not the spirit of competition I know.

Recently, I’ve stopped planning or practicing. I’ve stopped looking at any events or workouts before I show up. Anything online is done “one and done” style. Team or partner stuff is handled as “Let’s just communicate on the floor.” IT IS SO MUCH MORE FUN; I would highly recommend it. And unless you’re planning on making CrossFit a full-time, professional career, fun is about all that matters.

All that being said, from a logistical standpoint I will release some workouts ahead of time for the Masters. I will try to do it in a manner that promotes awareness and knowledge of the event ahead of time, but discourages practice. Obviously, you can do what you want…and I’m sure many teams will disregard this email. If you want to work on things: Work on CrossFit’s main movements. If you want to hone in on skills–focus on Rope Climbs, Overhead Squats, Snatches, C&J and Double Unders. Get together with your team and focus on having fun with those skills, create your own guesses of workouts and don’t stress about walking in perfect pacing strategies.

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