Whether its your grand opening throwdown or a competition in the Garage Games series, planning and executing a CrossFit competition smoothly requries a lot of preplanning and work. We've got some tips to make it a bit easier on you!
You can't just do any workout in a competition. The workout needs to be able to be completed in a small amount of space safely. Typically competitors are given a 4 foot by 6 foot rectangle. Ideally, all the equipment the athlete needs to complete their workout should be able to fit in this area. That means a workout with box jumps, double unders, kettlebell swings, deadlifts and situps are out of the question. Pick only a few movements and try to make it so they are complimentary to the space. For example, deadlifts and burpees over a bar requires little more space than just deadlifts. If you will be including anything that uses bars, make sure that each athlete will have a 3 foot section to use. Try to write an AMRAP, a timed WOD and a max lift(s) portion, the combination of which will create a well-rounded program that is fun to participate in, watch and judge. Speaking of judges, think about them when you are writing the workouts. Does each element of your workout have easy to judge range of motion? The last thing you want is a judging issue on your hands in the middle of the event.
You are going to need a crew of people helping you, try to enlist as many volunteers as you can. The number will vary with the size of the competition, but plan for at least 2 score keepers (one to collect scores and one to input/publish scores), 1 master of ceremony (this could easily be yourself), 1.2 judges per athlete in each heat (so if ten athletes are going in a heat, you've got 10 judges and 2 spares), 5 volunteers for setup, 5 for tear down and 2 volunteers to man the doors at the beginning and answer any questions. That means for a mid sized competition you should have close to 30 volunteers, each with their own job.
Before determining the cap on participants in your competition, you need to map out your space and time. How many 4x6 foot rectangles can you tape down? How many 3 foot chunks of bars do you have? Where will the spectators stand? Where will table setup be for local businesses and sponsors? Once you have your count on 4x6 rectangles and bar space you can figure out the number of athletes per heat. Each workout will either be an AMRAP (which has an inherent time cutoff) or will be capped (i.e. 15 minute max). Think about the number of workouts you have planned, the time allotted for the competition (all day, half day) and the athletes that can be on the floor per heat. This will give you an estimate on the number of athletes that you can invite. Then, determine if you want it to be an individuals competition, paired competition or team competition.
Post up the details of your competition to your blog, facebook page, twitter, and any other social media you partake in. Contact other local CrossFit affiliates to see if their members would be interested in competing. Be persistent, you need to advertise your competition a minimum of three separate occasions on your social media to get people aware and interested!
Find some sponsors for prizes. We often give out prize journals for the competitions of our current clients if we have enough lead time, and many other businesses will give away discounts or merchandise if you just ask and promise some exposure, table space or ad space in return. When you are looking for businesses to provide prizes, look to small local businesses that can really benefit from your clientele and the people that will be at the event (like a local massage therapist, photographer, nutritionalist, chef, designer etc). You can also take a portion of the entry fees to provide a cash prize or to purchase prizes.
Go shopping about a week before the event, so anything you miss the first time around you will have plenty of time to get before the event. Heres a recommended list of items you will need:
Once you have everything you need, setup and execution should be easy, make sure to lay out your duck tape, spectator areas, check in tables and food areas the night before to ease pressure on the big day.
Good luck! We would love to hear about how you have made your competition a success!!