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.

Social Media for Fitness Competitions

Social Media For Fitness Competitions: 3 Guidelines for Success

If you’re looking to take an established event to the next level, you need to do more than run a great competition. You need to think about building a brand. One tool that you can use to help build your competition brand is social media.

An important rule: social media is not an end unto itself. At best, it’s one metric that you can use to gauge the success of your brand as a whole. The true purpose of social media is to drive people to action. For a fitness competition, this means a few main things: getting athletes to register; encouraging their friends and family to come support them; and recruiting sponsors who want to reach all of those people in one place.

Here are 3 guidelines for a successful social media strategy that you can use to build your competition brand:

1. Be clear and concise

Social media is built for short attention spans. You have to make your point obvious immediately. Posts need to have a single, focused message that catches your eye as you scroll. “Less is more” should be your mantra. Think about the Twitter platform and its 140 character limit — there’s no room for excess.

2. Tell a story

People care about people. They relate to stories because they like to see themselves in them. The stories you tell in your social media posts should inspire people to be apart of what your competition stands for. By connecting with your audience through stories, they will want to connect with you.

3. Engage first

Once people want to connect with your brand, you must give them the opportunity. It needs to be simple for them to take action. The best way to engage people online is with links. Every post you make needs to have a “next step” link that will engage your audience further. This doesn’t have a be a “sale” — think of it as continuing a conversation by offering something else to your athletes.

Social Media for Fitness Competitions Graphic

Basic Budgeting for Fitness Competitions

Basic Budgeting for Fitness Competitions

No brainer: the revenue you generate from athlete registrations must cover all the costs of hosting your competition. The best way to arrive at this fee is to work backwards. This process will help you build an organizational framework you can use to plan your next fitness competition. Read on to learn more about this basic budgeting checklist and template.

Expenses checklist

Here’s a basic list to get you started on estimating your expenses for your competition. These are all items to consider, but by no means are they all necessary. Every competition will be different, so use this list as a starting point.

  1. Venue – rental fees, licenses, permits, shade structures, tables, chairs
  2. Equipment & supplies – stopwatches, clipboards, photocopies, pens, extension cords
  3. Insurance – coverage specific to your competition
  4. Safety – emergency medical services, first aid supplies
  5. Sanitation – portable toilets, trash cans
  6. Software – registration system and digital scoring/leaderboard
  7. Personnel – security, paid staff, professional MC/DJ
  8. Marketing – website maintenance, advertising, videography/photography
  9. T-shirts – for athletes and volunteers, extra shirts for spectator purchase
  10. Prizes & swag – cash purse, swag bags, trophies

Participant estimation

Next, you have to determine the size of your competition by estimating how many participants you will have. There are two factors that affect this: how many athletes you can expect to register and how many athletes your venue can reasonably accommodate. Start with some market research to see what other local competitions have done to get a starting point. You want to have an idea of both a lower limit (the least amount of people you need) and an upper limit (a registration cap).

Basic budgeting

Finally, math: take your total expenses and divide by the number of athletes to get your registration price per person. Consider this value a minimum. It’s best to include some cushion in case you have extra expenses.

As an example: your estimated expenses total $3000 and the average in your area is about 50 athletes per weekend competition. Take $3000 and divide by 50 to arrive at $60 per person to register. If you raise that price to $70 per person (as long as that is also in line with the local average), then you have an extra $500 that can help cover additional costs.

Budget template

From this basic budgeting framework, you now know many of the factors you need to consider when planning a successful competition. You have estimated your major expenses, you have an idea of the size of your competitive field, and you have a projection for your gross revenue. You can adjust these variables depending on your goals.

 

Basic Budgeting for Fitness Competitions

Competition Safety: 5 Things to Consider

Competition Safety: 5 Things to Consider

The top priority for any event in the CrossFit community needs to be competition safety. No matter what your goals for your competition are, having someone get hurt is the absolutely last thing anyone wants to deal with. The best defense here is offense: the more prepared you are for the worst-case scenario, the safer your event will be.

Here are 5 considerations to maximize your competition safety:

 

1. Emergency medical services

Hosting a competition is different than your day-to-day classes and training at your box. In some sense, you have to look at the competition itself as a separate business entirely. As such, there are different standards for a competition. While your emergency plan for your box is to call 911 in the event of a serious situation, the additional variables of a competition necessitate more direct access to critical care. Yes, this can be a very expensive factor in your budget and yes, it’s completely necessary. There’s no price you wouldn’t pay if it means saving a life.

2. First aid

For non-emergency situations, you will need to have first aid supplies for common injuries like ripped hands and banged-up shins. Depending on the laws in your area, you may only be able to provide your athletes access to these supplies and will not be allowed to “administer” care. Make sure to include other items like water and sunscreen that can be helpful for athletes, spectators, and volunteers. If possible, you can staff a medical professional at your first aid area who can determine if more serious medical care should be given and then refer out.

3. Programming

Think about that one guy in your box who is outrageously hyper-competitive with absolutely terrible form who doesn’t ever listen to his coaches. Now imagine 100 of those guys and they’re all at your competition. When you’re programming your events, plan to manage this possibility. Use your best judgement when it comes to choosing the movements and loads for the workouts, knowing that certain movements (overhead lifts, heavy pulls from the ground, etc.) are higher risk for athletes with poor mobility and body control.

4. Logistical design

Not only is stubborn-competitive-sloppy guy a danger to himself, but he can be a danger to other people as well. You need to plan out a buffer zone around athletes to ensure they and their equipment don’t interfere with the next lane over. Spectators need to maintain a safe distance as well. It’s a good idea to have a designated volunteer whose sole job is to make sure that no one is in harm’s way.

5. Spectators

Crowds can be unpredictable. You need to be able to manage traffic flow at your competition. If you are inside, there should be clear paths and signs towards the emergency exits. For outdoor events, your biggest concern is traffic where you don’t want it. Invest in flags, rope, or barricades and make it clear to your crowd with large signs where they are and are not permitted to be.

 

Types of Competitions for CrossFit Athletes

Types of Competitions for CrossFit Athletes

 

There are multiple types of competitions for CrossFit athletes. It may be tempting to want to “do it all” and include a little something for everyone, but we encourage you to consider otherwise. Creating a more specialized event gives you the opportunity to focus on quality over quantity. It makes your event more memorable and stand out from the sea of other competitions.

You’ll need to answer these questions to help you decide how you want to design your competition: who, how, and why? First, how many people are competing together? Next, what skill levels (and age categories) do you want to include? Finally, what’s the main focus of your event?

Who?

From a logistical point of view, you can have following the types of competitions for different athlete groups:

  • Individual competition: Athletes go head-to-head with each other. This is perhaps the easiest type of set-up to manage from an organization point of view. However, it is not as profitable as having more athletes compete in the same number of spots.
  • Partner competition: Teams of 2 athletes is one way to get more people involved in competing that takes the pressure off of each person and can allow them to have more fun.
    • Same sex: It’s easier from a programming and equipment point of view to have same sex partner teams. It also addresses the gender disparity inherent to competitive athletics.
    • Co-ed: While a little more difficult to manage operationally, coed teams give the opportunity for opposite sex couples, family members, and friends to compete together, which can be a crowd-pleaser.
  • Team competition: Here’s where you can get really creative! There are lots of possibilities for teammate combinations. Just remember, the more people who compete under the same team, the greater the likelihood of last-minute registration changes.

How?

Skill levels, also commonly referred to as “divisions”, can also be a factor when designing your event:

  • Firebreather/Beastmode: This is the smallest division, but also the one with the most complexity. These athletes are more inclined towards higher level competition, but there are two kinds of semi-elite athletes. There are the ones who will compete at every given opportunity, and then there are the ones who instead are very selective about the events they sign up for. 
  • Rx: This is your bread and butter for most competitions. These athletes are looking to see how they stack up against others and/or are seriously looking to win. This is where most of your creative energy should go. Design a worthy competition that will leave these athletes feeling tested, satisfied, and eager to come back again.
  • Scaled: There are a greater number of athletes looking to have fun. We encourage you to think of a scaled division like a 5K race. The majority of people who run are either looking to set a goal and meet it by finishing, or who want to do improve on their past performance. As such, the emphasis should not be on being competitive with the rest of the field.

Competitions also can include separate categories for different age groups. It’s easy to get carried away with youth and masters groups. We suggest either having very broad categories if you wish to include these athletes in a general competition. Alternatively, you can plan youth-only or masters-only events, which can allow you to have more narrowly defined age groups.

Why?

Finally, before you get too caught up in the details of “who” and “how”, consider “why”. Decide on one thing you want to focus on for your competition. This will help you to create not just an event, but a brand. This brand can stand alone, or it can help boost the existing brand of your box. What do you want your competition to stand for? How do you want your event to fit within your CrossFit community? Why will your athletes remember your competition? Answering these questions will give you clarity and focus that can take your event to the next level.

Top 5 Best Practices for Competition Planning

Top 5 Best Practices for Competition Planning

You’ve been there: a local CrossFit affiliate’s first competition. Complete with late and confusing heat schedules, glaring judging inconsistencies, and general logistical chaos. You never want to have to endure such a nightmare again. You know that this is not the way competitions should be run. You know you could do better. Congratulations — you’ve got the competition planning bug. And if you’re reading this, you’re way ahead of the game when it comes to hosting your own event. Get started on the right foot with these best practices for producing a professional competition that will leave your athletes happy.

Here are a few best practices for planning your competition…

1. Schedule a considerate date.

People are busy. Check with other local CrossFit affiliates to make sure that any competitions they might have in the wing will not conflict with your event’s planned date. This includes not only functional fitness competitions, but things like weightlifting or powerlifting meets, Strongman competitions. Also ask about CrossFit Level 1 or specialty seminars, charity fundraisers, and in-house challenges. Think regionally and nationally, also — many of your athletes will want to plan their annual “season” around the CrossFit Open and possibly Regionals and the Games, also. Your competition planning has to fit within the bigger picture.

2. Plan ahead. Way ahead.

You need to give yourself, at minimum, 3 months to plan a high-quality event. We advise 6 months lead-time. The more time you give yourself to prepare, the better chances you have at securing a date that won’t conflict with other events (see number 1). Getting the word out early allows your athletes to prioritize your competition and be able to train properly for it. Of course, planning ahead also gives you the advantage spending more time on the small details that make a big difference. One of the most important factors of taking your competition planning to the next level is sponsors. They need as much time as possible to prepare for donating prizes, being a vendor, or supporting your competition in other ways. Many companies receive a high number of requests for sponsorship. Give yourself an edge by contacting sponsors with as much advanced notice as possible.

3. Put safety first.

As the sport of fitness becomes more popular and a greater number of CrossFitters decide to test themselves in competition, we’re seeing a broader demographic of athletes compete. That means athletes who are both older and younger than the middle of the bell curve. As we age, there’s a higher incidence of health risks and an increased chance of those risks becoming serious and, yes, potentially fatal. Younger athletes, on the other hand, may not be old enough to have been diagnosed with medical conditions that could appear for the first time in the middle of your event number 3. We are also seeing an increase in adaptive and other special populations athletes compete. These athletes who require a higher level of medical care than a standard First Aid certification can equip you with. Make it a priority in your competition planning budget to pay for EMS. A mistake here could be life-changing.

4. Think of the spectators. (Bonus: and vendors!)

One of the best aspects of competition is how it brings the CrossFit community together to support and encourage each other. There’s something about the roar of the crowd that amps up your adrenaline and gives you the push you need to achieve a competition PR. As an event planner, you want to maximize that effect by designing your competition with the spectators in mind. An example: the CrossFit Games has evolved beautifully over the years. They’ve smartly designed the WODs to progress down the field of competition so it’s easy to see who’s ahead. Your spectators should be your first priority when picking a venue and programming your events during the competition planning process.

Bonus: Vendors want in on the action, too! They want to be where the crowd is focusing their attention. This means very close to the competition field or arena, or alternatively, next to the athlete village. The more exposure you give your vendors, the more likely they will be to support your even in the future, which makes for a better experience for everyone involved.

5. Set your competition apart.

What is going to make your competition memorable? It’s a mistake here to think this must mean “unique,” although it certainly can. CrossFitters like novelty, that’s for certain — being the first of any particular type of event is one way to spark interest. But we challenge you to think beyond that. If you truly want to take your competition to the next level, spend a lot of energy on this aspect. You want more than a competition; you want a brand. The most successful brands stand for something. They represent a concept, they imprint their audience with a lasting impression. You can reverse-engineer here. Decide what it is that you want your athletes to think of when your competition is mentioned, then work backwards to design a competition around that experience.