Category: Competition Planning Resources

Planning an elite fitness event such as a CrossFit competition involves a lot of planning and coordination. The articles in these archives contain tips and tricks for helping you to save time and increase the impact of your competition. Learn tips and tricks for scoring competitive fitness events, selling out registration, and building serious reputation within your community of athletes.

Should Your Event Have an Online Qualifier? (Five Things to Consider)

Should My Event Have a Qualifier?

This is a question we wish more people would ask. Qualifiers can add huge amounts of value to your event… but if you aren’t able to give them the attention they deserve, they could do more harm than good.

There are a few things to think about if you are on the fence about having a qualifier.

  1. Size of the Event
  2. Administrative capabilities
  3. Level of Athlete
  4. Brand Goals
  5. Internet in Your Area

A qualifier requires as much, if not more, work than an in-person event. Although you don’t have to concern yourself with the onsite logistics, you will have to deal with every athlete concern under the sun – from accurately communicating and enforcing standards, video upload issues, validating submissions and beyond. A qualifier is not for the faint of heart.

Size of the Event

Large competitions are natural contenders for qualifiers, however, having an event with a lot of people does not inherently mean you should have a qualifier. If your venue can accommodate many athletes, you may be better off letting people register from the get-go. Also, if you have a large event but people hold off on registration until the very last minute, you may wish to skip the qualifier.

The last thing you want to do in the weeks before your competition is worry about validating online videos. That said, you can still incorporate a qualifier component into your event without having a full-blown qualifier. Consider having one workout for athletes to submit prior to the final event to decide your heats.

Administrative Capabilities

Some large events are run by a robust team where the duties are distributed. Some large competitions are run by a solo administrator. Neither option is wrong, but if you are running lean, you may not be able to give your qualifier the attention it deserves. Consider this: If you have 300 would-be competitors, three qualifier workouts over the course of three weeks and every competitor has one question per workout, that is 900 questions over the three week time period. Do you really want that many Facebook notifications and emails if you don’t absolutely need them?

There’s also potentially a ton of work involved in reviewing and keeping track of video submissions. Be sure to pick a system that simplifies this as much as possible. We’ve designed our system so that athletes can easily include video links in their score submission, and you can optionally configure whether or not the videos appear publicly on the leaderboards. If they do appear publicly, you’ll have the benefit of other athletes helping to police and maintain standards. If you prefer to keep the videos private, you’ll still have a streamlined way to review and keep track in our easy to use admin interface.

Castle Games preferred to keep video submissions hidden from the public leaderboard for their qualifier event.

Level of Athlete

Qualifier events are not suitable for every type of athlete. If the event you are throwing is popular but not exceptionally competitive, a qualifier may dissuade athletes from signing up because it feels more official. You know the kind of athlete you want to attract to your competition, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be an all-or-none decision. A hybrid approach is also possible. For example, you might require a qualifier only for your RX or Elite divisions, but allow registrations into Scaled divisions without a qualifier.

Brand Goals

You have to get honest with yourself for this one. What are your goals? Are you looking to have a successful event once or twice a year, or do you want to build a competition-throwing empire? Maybe you are looking to branch into programming for the masses, or becoming a memorable event franchise. A qualifier may be a natural thing to incorporate into your competitions.

If you are thinking about ways to expand your brand footprint and generate some extra revenue without too much additional overhead here’s an idea for you: host a live event each year, but host an online virtual event at the halfway point through the year to stay in touch with your community of athletes. It’s easy to offer incentives such as free registration or discounted registrations to athletes who place well in the virtual comp.

Internet in Your Area

In some parts of the world, access to video hosting software is less than optimal. If you know that your athletes will have a hard time uploading their workout videos, you may be better off not requiring video submissions or skipping the qualifier component altogether. Ultimately, if it makes your athletes’ lives harder and makes them think less of your event, it is not the right choice for your competition.

You know what your community of athletes will appreciate. If a qualifier is the right choice for you, make sure you have the right scoring and leaderboard platform in place to simplify and reduce as much of the work as possible. The team here at Throwdowns would be honored to support your next qualifier event with our tried and true registration and scoring system. It’s been designed to streamline online qualifiers as much as possible, and we’re committed to your success. Get in touch with us here to get started.

Flexibility is Strength

Throwdowns.com understands that you need a solution that does exactly what you need — no more and no less. You know what you need to best run your event, but you don’t want to pay for extra services you don’t need. You need flexibility. And guess what? We have it.

  • Easy to launch landing pages
  • Highly configurable registration forms
  • Standard and customizable scoring policies
  • Multiple options for choosing how you get paid
  • Around-the-clock customer support
  • Special pricing for military and charity events
  • Price match guarantees

We are constantly tweaking our business and products based on customer feedback, because our goal is to be a great partner, create relationships that last a lifetime, and make sure that our product is even better the next time that you use it. To that end, we’ve been experimenting with our pricing model and have converged on three options that seem to offer maximum flexibility for the most common needs of the CrossFit competition software market.

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All options are at a predictable fixed price, and our most popular option is the fully-integrated registration and scoring package at $299 USD. However, we also know that some competitions may be looking or last minute scoring solutions so we make it super easy to import your registration data and deliver best-in-class leaderboards to your athletes and spectators. (It’s not all that uncommon to help organizers and coaches get setup as late as the night before.)

We’d love to partner with you on your next event, so if you have an event that doesn’t fit into one of our boxes, let us know! We will build the exact level of service you need, at a price just for you.

Whether it’s in your training schedule or in business: flexibility is strength!

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.

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.