Spotlight On: CrossFit for Carson

Throwdowns.com HQ had the pleasure of working with over 200 competitions all over the world in 2016 alone. Many of the events gave some or all of their proceeds to charity, and we pride ourselves on doing the same. We want to take this opportunity to spotlight one of the events in 2016 that tugged a little harder on our heartstrings.

Daniel from CrossFit QFE in Lumberton, NC reached out to us early last fall about putting on their first ever competition – an event to benefit a 5-year-old boy named Carson. Carson was a constant presence in the gym (whether coming along to class with mom, Jonna, or in CrossFit Kids classes), and was/is a true ray of sunshine. Jonna and her three boys – Austin, Jackson, and Carson – were all presences at the box for several years. In a small town like Lumberton, the QFE community is really more like a family. When Carson was diagnosed with TALL leukemia on September 6, 2016, the community was quickly abuzz with the news. They knew they needed to come together to help raise money and support for Carson and his family.

Carson 2

The event, titled “CrossFit for Carson,” was set for October 22 – only 2 weeks after Hurricane Matthew hit the Atlantic coast. It was the first Category 5 hurricane to hit the coast in almost a decade, and even though it had demoted its category by the time it hit Lumberton, the damage was catastrophic. Half of Lumberton was still underwater at the time of the event. They honestly weren’t sure that the competition would be a go until the 16th, when running water came back to the gym. It was no longer a safety hazard to hold the event, but the main road to Lumberton was still underwater. On October 20, just two days before the competition, Highway 95 reopened after being closed for several weeks due to flooding. Daniel described that feeling as “…a Hail Mary that we caught, because it enabled people from either side of Lumberton to get to town.” With just two days until the event, they decided it was a clear “Go!”

CrossFit for Carson itself couldn’t have gone any better. The timing was right, there were minimal glitches, and the turnout both for competitors and community support was incredible. People who knew Jonna and Carson from all walks of life pitched in – not just the CrossFit community. Daniel expressed so much gratitude for all who had a hand in making the day what it was under extreme circumstances.

Carson 3

The silver lining on an already amazing event was that two days before (the same day that the highway opened up), Carson’s bone marrow scans came back clear. He is still in for three years of treatments and the road is long, but this was a huge win for Team Carson.

The CrossFit QFE team rallied and was able to pull off a successful event despite huge obstacles, and we were honored to be a part of it.

If you’d like to donate to Carson’s care, please get in touch with the CrossFit QFE team here.

Carson 4

How to Read the Leaderboards

CrossFit competitions typically involve one of two possible scoring policies: placement-based scoring or scoring based upon points tables. This post briefly explains the difference between these two types of scoring policies.

Most CrossFit competitions tend to use a points-based scoring policy. With placement-based scoring, an athlete’s overall score at any point in the competition is the sum of their rankings. For example, if an athlete were to place 1st, 3rd, and 2nd across three workouts, they’d accumulate a total of 6 points. With placement based-scoring, athletes place higher on the leaderboards by placing higher across workouts and accumulating as few points as possible.

Although most competitions prefer placement-based scoring, some competitions, including the CrossFit Games, prefer points-based scoring policies. With a points-based system, a table pre-defines the number of points that are awarded for each placement in a competition, and the tables are designed so that athletes receive more points for ranking higher in workouts. Thus, with points-based scoring, athletes aim to accumulate as many points as possible. The points tables themselves are typically computed with non-linear formulas such that athletes who place consistently place higher receive are rewarded proportionally.

What’s in your gear bag for a CrossFit Competition?

What are the most important items to pack in your gear bag for a CrossFit competition? Much like packing for a vacation or preparing for a shopping trip, we recommend putting together a handy checklist so that you don’t forget anything important. Most competitions are all day affairs, so you’ll want to carefully prepare so that you don’t stress out (or run out to the store) during valuable recovery periods between WODs.

Two of the most obvious categories you’ll want to think about are clothing and nutrition.

Unlike a typical classroom workout in the box, you’ll be completing multiple workouts throughout the day and likely won’t have an opportunity to shower. Unless you like spending the day in sweaty, smelly clothing, be sure to take enough changes of clothing to get you through the day.

Competitions increasingly offer food items for purchase through local vendors, but don’t leave anything to chance. In addition to recovery drinks and protein powders, consider packing a small cooler with a few small meals just in case you need to rely on it. At a minimum, a couple of premixed shakes, a pound or so of cubed chicken breast, some mashed sweet potatoes, and a couple of bananas would make for a good competition lunch box.

Don’t forget the essentials like top notch recovery powders when planning your competition lunch box!

A few essentials to kick off the list:

  • Shaker bottles (including protein & electrolyte powders)
  • Food (shakes, cubed chicken breast, bananas, etc.)
  • Shoes (oly & metcon)
  • Extra clothes (shirts, shorts, socks, etc.)
  • Compression gear (belt, wraps, sleeves, tape, etc.)
  • Personalized/fitted items (jump rope)
  • Miscellaneous (deodorant, phone charger, camera, etc.)

Leave a comment and like us on Facebook for a chance to win a Rogue gift card so that you can compete with more awesome gear!

How to Get Sponsors for a Competition

How to Get Sponsors for a Competition

Most fitness competitions seek sponsorship support in the form of prizes and swag. You want to make sure it’s simple and easy for sponsors to support your event. The Throwdowns.com registration system has the ability to collect sponsor information and fees, which make the process better for everyone involved. As a rule, we recommend starting your search for sponsors well in advance of your event, preferably 6 months lead-time. Some businesses plan out their commitments a year in advance! The more time you give yourself, the better your chances in securing sponsors. Here are 4 sources of support to consider in this process of how to get sponsors for your competition:

 

1. Local connections

This is your first go-to when considering support for your event. We recommend contacting members of your own box who are business owners to see how you can develop a mutually beneficial partnership. Otherwise, reach out to your local business community and get them involved. Think of places you or your members like to frequent: restaurants, retail stores, day spas. 

 

2. City, county, or state resources

If your competition draws a large out-of-town crowd, various levels of government may have an interest in supporting your event. Visitor and tourism organizations often have resources at their disposal to aid events that will benefit the local economy. They may also provide you with hotel or dining discounts for your athletes, an added incentive to encourage participation at your competition!

 

3. CrossFit-specific companies

Don’t just go for the familiar big names here. There are many up and coming businesses aimed at the demographic of CrossFitters and several are eager to get their name out to your athletes. This gives you a great opportunity to build a relationship and offer value to your participants in whatever form of support these companies can provide to you.

 

4. Other health and fitness-related businesses

Think of any company who would be happy to have the attention of health-minded, active customers and reach out to them. It’s a good idea to explain what your athletes are like to a business who may be unfamiliar with what CrossFit is. Having some baseline demographic information (ages, percent male vs. female, etc.) about who these potential customers are is a good selling point when requesting sponsorship support.

Bonus tip: follow-up, follow-up, follow-up!

Persistence pays off in this process. Many companies are bombarded with sponsorship requests, which means a single email from you might get lost. Use multiple means of communication and try to connect with multiple people. The more you get your name on their radar, the greater the likelihood that a business will return contact and you can establish a relationship.  

Competition Programming: Part Three – Be Unique

Competition Programming: Part Three - Be Unique

 

This is the final part in our series on competition programming. If you’ve followed our advice so far, you should have a solid understanding of how to smartly design your events. Here, we take the final step by suggesting 3 ways you can make your competition stand out and be unique.

Read the Throwdowns.com complete series on competition programming:

 

1. Venue Choice

If you want to take your competition outside the box (pun totally intended), you have an opportunity to offer a refreshing setting for otherwise familiar activities. For example, high schools have sports facilities such as tracks, fields, and maybe even pools available to use for your competition. If the weather allows, outdoor venues can offer space and flexibility.

While there are many benefits possible to taking your competition off-site, keep in mind there are many additional planning considerations as well. The extra work may be worth it, however, if it can provide something unique and valuable to your audience, which makes your competition memorable and successful.

 

2. Uncommon Elements

The purpose of CrossFit is to prepare its athletes for “the unknown and unknowable.” It uses elements from a variety of athletic disciplines to train a broad spectrum of capabilities. And what better way to truly test that fitness than with something unexpected? Programming elements for your competition that are uncommonly performed in the gym setting can set your event apart and make for an exciting experience for athletes and spectators alike.

Note: There’s a fine line between creative and crazy. We encourage you to brainstorm ideas, then refer back to our first two posts in their series on competition programming to see what ideas are left remaining, then see how you can incorporate them into your final workout designs. And make sure to test out any novel ideas so you have an understanding of what they will look like in practice!

 

3. Spirit and Culture

This is where you truly have the chance to shine. Think of the energy you want your competition to embody, then design your events around that experience. From a programming perspective, this can include small details like your choice of rep schemes or the names you give to your workouts. These finishing touches are what truly bring a competition to the next level and leave your athletes satisfied and eager to return for more.

Competition Programming: Part Two – Practical Considerations

Competition Programming: Part Two - Practical Considerations

 

Continuing our series on competition programming, this post will cover a practical approach to narrowing down your options for your workouts. We’re assuming that your goal is to program for diversity, meaning you aren’t biasing programming towards anything in particular. By taking a look at these practical considerations, you can build a framework that will help you make smart decisions for your competition programming.

Read Part One in this series: Guiding Rules

Consideration 1: Equipment

Start with a detailed inventory of the equipment available to you. While it may seem obvious, you do need to keep in mind that you won’t be able to use anything you don’t already have. This can keep you in check and prevent you from getting carried away from the get-go. If you plan on purchasing equipment for the sake of your competition, double-check your budget to make sure that expense fits comfortably within your projected revenue.

 

Consideration 2: Space

Similar to equipment, the available space you have to work with will be an important factor in your programming. This will determine how many athletes can compete at a given time, which will dictate how much equipment you’ll need to accommodate those athletes. Your venue will also decide what types of movements will work safely in a competition setting.

 

Consideration 3: Athletes

Your competition may consist of individuals, partners, or teams, or maybe even a mix of all of these combinations. No matter the number of athletes competing per slot, we strongly encourage that you program your workouts so that only one person is working at a time. This reduces the demand for judges and makes scoring simpler, not to mention reduces chaos and makes for a better spectator experience.

 

With the above practical considerations in mind, now we can move onto the fun part: programming itself.

We recommend at least 3 workouts to be able to make a claim at testing fitness as defined by the sport of CrossFit. Depending on the length of your competition (single vs. multi-day), you may have the flexibility to include more. As always, consider your athletes safety. Too many events within a short time period can be counterproductive at best, dangerous at worst. (Read our post on maximizing scoring for more ideas on making the most of your events.)

There are 3 elements of diversity that you’ll need to vary in your programming: time domain, movement type, and skill level. You’ll want your competition to include a good mix of these factors. This means doing your best to design workouts of different lengths, with a range of different exercises, at varying degrees of difficulty. This is where the magic happens, but by this point in the process, you should have some good parameters to work with that can will help you decide how to combine these elements in the best way for your competition.

Broadly speaking, your competition programming can have 2 different designs for diversity: diversity within each event or diversity as a whole. Programming each workout to be a comprehensive test of fitness is more challenging, but could be considered a better method. On the other hand, it is simpler to design your competition where all the events taken together measure diversity, but it may end up biased if not executed properly. In either case, when you athletes leave, you want them to feel like they were truly tested by your programming.

 


Stay tuned for Part Three in the Throwdowns.com complete series on competition programing.