2023-24 Offseason World Tour Memoirs: Lessons Learned

February 15, 20248 min read

After 20 stops in 26 weeks it’s time to reflect on the biggest lessons learned. These are my own personal opinions when it gets down to it, but they are largely founded in consistent observations and repetitive conversations from several competitions during this offseason.  

Who, What, Where, When, and How to Watch

This is what people want to know. Make it easy to find. 

On both your competitions Instagram account AND your website anyone looking to find out:

  • Who is competing (leaderboard)
    • Every search shows the online qualifier before the actual competition; prioritize the actual live competition whenever possible, that’s what people are looking for.
    • At some point post a list on instagram of the elite divisions (1-2 weeks before the competition is perfect.
  • What the competition is called
  • Where the competition will take place (building or venue, city, state if necessary, country)
  • When it is happening (dates)
  • How to Watch it (if that exists)

Should be found by everyone looking within five seconds and/or two clicks. The simpler, easier, and more clear these communications are the better. Always provide a link for people who want or need to know more, but the basics will do for most people coming to your page. 

Workout Details, Including Time of Day

After the basics listed above, the other thing people love to know are the workouts. It’s ok to withhold some information in specific cases for an element of surprise, but in large part, there is no reason to be so secretive about programming within the last week or two before a competition. 

Included in this, it is of big interest to people when, meaning time of day, they are competing. This matters for all athletes, but even more so if you’re having any sort of livestream or broadcast. It’s the most common question I’m asked when doing the solo streams, what time is X division going? Make it easy to find, it’s another thing many want to know.

Programming and Floor Plans

Many great workouts come up just short of being excellent because of relatively minor misses when it comes to programming and floor plans. Speaking broadly, when a person spends enough time intimately involved with one thing they can grow too close to it and lose the broader perspective… share your work. There are people out here who are experts in specific fields, want the best for your competition, are not going to leak information earlier, and can offer a perspective that WILL make your competition better. Yes it will involve minor tweaks to your programming, and yes that can be difficult to accept, but it is for the best, I’ve seen it far too often done both ways to be convinced otherwise. 

Throughout this offseason, and actually for several years now, Chase Ingraham and Bill Grundler have been doing this on Get With The Programming for you. If you program for, or run a CrossFit competition, and aren’t listening to that you aren’t trying to be as good as you can at your job. One better than that though, what would it look like to integrate them into the programming as competition consultants and let them offer the small refinement suggestions that can take your competition from good to great, eliminate most avoidable critiques, and therefore put more focus on the performances of the athletes (which is what everyone is showing up or tuning in to see anyway), all before the competition even begins.

Scoring Systems

The points per place scoring system that is used in the Open should be reserved only for very large competitions (fields with more than 60 athletes in them). Otherwise, use a system which awards 100 for first and 0 for last place with a taper off in between of whatever you choose. 

Being the outlier which has points per place would be like being the one golf tournament of the year that rewards a higher score; you end up spending so much time explaining it that it detracts from other things. 

Appeals Process Needs to be More Consistent

The inconsistency competition to competition on this is mind blowing to me. Everything from no appeals at some, to searching the stands for alternative camera angles at others. Neither of those are what I am advocating for here.

I’m not the person to write the rules on this one, though I do have a really good idea of what works well and what doesn’t. But a best practice on this to share with competitions is badly needed. 

Awards Ceremonies

We need to change these. I really have nothing positive to say about how this is currently done at competitions. Every group of people you can think of who is involved with award ceremonies in any way agrees that the current norm for this is pretty bad.

If you have the right systems built for both scoring and appeals there is no reason that the final event for a division can’t end, and the awards ceremony for that division can happen within no more than five minutes of it ending with the athletes on the floor and their fans in the stands to celebrate with them. 

Squat Lower, Please

Across the board on my travels it is quite frankly appalling how many people who have been in a CrossFit gym, and.or competing at CrossFit competitions, do not squat below, or in many cases even to, parallel. 

We sit so much. Going below parallel and extending the hip fully when standing should be a major emphasis for everyone who knows what CrossFit is. Doing that on every repetition of every movement will pay off more over a lifetime than almost anything else. 

On the competition front, I cannot believe the number of semi-well known athletes or better who are not squatting below parallel in competition and getting away with it. Athletes you should do better without a doubt. And local judges need more confidence to call these reps. 

Parts of the community pride themselves on holding the standard… but too many others are failing to do so. 

Seven Suggestions 

Those are the seven things that stood out most to me in terms of being low hanging fruit as ways many competitions can benefit from knowing about over the last six months on the road. 

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Brian Friend

Brian stumbled upon CrossFit in the Fall of 2013. He has been a writer, data analyst, content creator, commentator, and broadcast coordinator. He's worked at a majority of the largest CrossFit competitions over the last three seasons, is a regular guest on the Sevan Podcast, and has been amongst the leading sports analysts in the sport in recent years. He has a passion for advancing the sport of CrossFit, and spreading the CrossFit methodology, by living it out in both his personal and professional life.


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One Comment:

  • cj

    February 15, 2024 / at 7:45 pm

    Great points. In addtion to having the awards ceremonies take place in a timely manner, it would be incredibly helpful if events/broadcasts committed to posting /reviewing the results of each event within a couple minutes of event completion. It’s ridiculous to show multiple heats of an event and then just sign-off (potentially for hours) with no actual results. Even if the scores are tentative they should be reviewed and presented to the audience (live or broadcast) at the conclusion of each event. It’s bananas how often that doesn’t happen. The results matter.

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