Tag: competition

Competition Day: What to Tell Your Athletes Ahead of Time

It is crucial that you communicate competition-day logistics to your athletes before event day.

This sets you up for success and keeps your focus off of answering athlete questions throughout the day. We recommend sending your athletes an email with all the information they’ll need for competition day. We recommend sending this email 7-10 days before the competition.

Here are a few things you should tell your Athletes ahead of time:

  1. Where to park (or NOT park):

    It’s helpful to send a parking map with any all-clear or off-limits parking zones clearly marked. You might consider taking a screenshot of your venue from the Google Maps Satellite View and marking off the “Yes” and “No” zones to attach to the “Week of Competition” email. If there is a specific place you want them to set up their tents (or NOT set up their tents), you need to tell them that in advance as well.

  2. The Food Vendor Situation:

    Your athletes need to know if there will be food onsite, what that food will be, and if it will be free or available for purchase. If it’s available for purchase but has specific payment requirements (like Cash Only), be sure to indicate that as well.

  3. When they are working out:

    Your athletes need to know the heat schedule before competition day for several reasons. The first reason is food timing and knowing when/what they should plan to eat. The second reason is because it allows them to invite spectators without expecting them to be there all day and wait around. And the third reason is so they know how long they will have to rest and recover. Note: *Check out this post for tips to making a great heat schedule.*

  4. Special equipment needs:

    Most athletes will have a stocked bag of their preferred equipment. But it’s  still better to let folks know what they might encounter on competition day so they can pack their bag accordingly. For example, if Annie makes an appearance, you definitely want to give athletes a heads up that they will need a jump rope – especially if you didn’t publicize your workouts beforehand.

  5. Anything you DON’T want them to do:

    If there is something you don’t want athletes to do, you need to tell them. For example, if you don’t want athletes using the gym bathroom and instead want them to use the Port-O-Johns, you need to tell them.

  6. Waivers:

    Some competitions require athletes to print and sign their waivers ahead of time. If you’d like athletes to bring their waivers to the check-in table, that’s great! Just make sure you include a copy of the waiver and set the expectation in the week-of email.

  7. Check-in information:

    Include any details about when athlete check-in begins on competition day. You might include any details about what you need to check-in (for example, all team members must be present to check in, etc)

What other information do you send to athletes on competition week?

Tips for Making Your Heat Schedule

A heat schedule is a must-have for a well-run competition.

If you want to have a smooth competition, a heat schedule is absolutely essential. A heat schedule helps keep you on the clock. It keeps your athletes and judges informed about when they need to be ready. And a timeline ensures that you have “go-times” for volunteers who are doing things like equipment changeover. *Check out this post for more information on how many volunteers you need at your competition.*

While it is critical to have a heat schedule, your standard “this is the order in which athletes signed up” timeline might miss the mark. Take a tip from regionals and the games: heats organized by ability level make for a more exciting competition day.

There are a few ways to approach organizing your heats by likelihood of earning a spot on the podium.

  1. Now, you could do all the leg-work yourself and export the athletes’ performance in the Open. But that is a lot of unnecessary work, especially because the athletes can do the work for you. You can ask them to provide their region placement in the past Open as a registration question.
  2. Alternatively, you might consider running a qualifier workout. In this scenario, you would program a workout that is representative of the difficulty level of your event. Athletes would complete the workout and log their score by a certain date (with or without video submission – you choose), and you can make your heat schedule from there. You could also decide to have the qualifier score count towards their overall event placement, or wipe the slate clean and use it just as a heat scheduling tool. If you have a lot of athletes competing and your competition day timeline is stretched a bit thin, it might be very useful to have athletes complete one of the scored workouts beforehand. This can also be useful if the workout is longer and/or boring for your spectators to watch.
  3. A strategy that our friends at Lex Artis use is one we endorse and love. At the point of registration, they ask athletes to answer one additional question: “How likely is it, on a scale from 1 to 5, that you podium? (1 meaning very likely and 5 meaning just for fun).” Athletes typically know and are honest about their ability levels. And you’re happy, because they do the work for you!

Have you used another strategy to make your heat schedule? What worked? What didn’t? We’d love to hear about it.

Judges: how qualified should they be?

Every competition has judging staff, but not every competition has the right judges. When you are considering how to staff out your judge roster, consider the quality of the judging. If they are unfair, unqualified or inconsistent and your athletes are unhappy, they will be unlikely to sign up for future events. If there aren’t any athletes, then you don’t have a competition.

Likewise, if you don’t have enough judges, they will be overworked, unhappy, and unlikely to volunteer in the future. Check out our post about how many your competition needs. In this article we will stick to the characteristics you might look for in a judge.

We recommend having your judges possess some (or better yet, all) of the following qualities:

  1. Have passed the Judge Course
  2. Are CF-L1 trainers or greater
  3. Have been doing functional fitness for over a year
  4. Have good attention spans
  5. Are confident (read: loud and effective!) communicators
  6. Have legible handwriting

What other qualities do you look for in a judge?

5 Things That Will Make Your Swag Bags Better

Most competitions offer swag bags for pick-up at the registration table on event morning. What you might not know is that the items in your swag bag can directly affect your event favorability. Athletes expect a well-curated bag, but that is at odds with your goal of keeping costs low.

Here is a list of affordable, sure-to-impress products you may not have thought about including in your swag bag:

1. Strideline Socks

If you are tired of dealing with athlete shirt sizes, custom branded socks may be the perfect solution. There are no order minimums, but you will need a little more lead time than you would for shirt sizes – 3 weeks. However, because they are one-sized, it will be next to impossible to mess up an order. Bonus: You won’t receive any last-minute emails with requests to change an athlete’s shirt size.

 

2. Junk Headbands

Another non-shirt option for your swag bag is Junk Headbands. You can choose from one of their MANY headband options in a color scheme that matches your event branding, or you can have custom headbands made in a variety of styles.

3. Retail Coupons for Vendors At Your Event

Don’t just offer coupons in your bag – offer coupons for vendors that are present at your event, so your athletes can make a purchase right then and there. If you ask for swag bag coupon contributions as part of the cost of being a vendor or sponsor, this costs you nothing!

4. Creative Snacks

You can offer protein sample packets, but you can also get creative with your snack offerings! Consider offering something like Jelly Belly’s Sport Beans for a quick dose of carbs that your athletes will love snacking on between events.

5. Lunch Voucher

If you are running an all-day event, there is one universal truth: your athletes will need to eat at some point. Show them you’ve already thought about this by having a lunch offering on-site (maybe your local meal-prep company and/or a favorite food truck) and giving all athletes free or reduced lunch.

Op-Ed: Hosting Your Competition On Throwdowns.com Will Make Your Event Better

There are a lot of options on the market for competition registration and scoring solutions. Some are companies substantially larger than Throwdowns.com. A few require a smaller investment. Some have been around awhile longer.

We have run 500 successful competitions since we opened for business three years ago. I have personally been with the company for half that time; running all the operations for almost as long.

Why should you choose us to partner with you for your event? There are a few reasons.

We are not a big company with a huge support team you’ll only have email access to. It isn’t our policy to hit you with an FAQ and ask you to figure it out on your own. I will personally partner with you every step of the way. Not a fan of asking questions via email? No problem. You can call, text, What’s App, Facebook message, Skype or Snapchat me anytime. You can even try your luck with carrier pigeon, if that is your preferred method. Leading up to your event we guarantee a 24-hour response turnaround time, and on event weekend, that guarantee is an hour (if that).

We have a robust platform that is highly customizable. If there is something you want your event to be able to do, there is a good chance we can accommodate it. But we are also constantly taking suggestions on how to improve the product, so if you want something we don’t currently offer, we may be able to bake it in. In the grand scheme, we haven’t been around very long, but we are battle-tested and have tons of flexibility. You can relax in knowing that your score system is going to work exactly the way you need it to when it counts. We’ll even travel to run your scoring onsite if you want the added peace of mind.

Another one of our advantages is that we are fully owned and operated by competitive crossfitters, coaches and event logistics planners who also happen to be software gurus. We don’t just know technology – we know CrossFit, and we know events. We’ve been there on every side of the table, so we anticipate what you will need for your competition before you do. And if you need a protein sponsor, a videographer recommendation, an emcee or an apparel company; let us help make the connection for you. We also have relationships with vendors in all different sectors of the competition business.

You care about your people, and your registration and scoring vendor should too. We have a heart for the community and will help with charity events to the best of our ability. At the very least, we will always decrease our rate for charity events.

And finally, our reputation in the community is unparalleled. Throwdowns.com has run 500 successful events all over the world – and our community of highly satisfied repeat customers will agree: we are the best out there. We care just as much about your event being seamless as you do, and we take pride in not just having a beautiful product that your athletes, vendors and scorekeepers will enjoy using – but in having the strongest and most accessible team behind the scenes to help you succeed.

My name is Kate, and I’m co-owner and Director of Operations for Throwdowns.com. You can reach me directly to set up your next event at kate@throwdowns.com or (419)-279-9974.

Kate is Great (Interview with our Director of Operations)

If you have ever worked with us to plan an event anytime recently, there is a good chance you have worked closely with Kate. She came on board back in February 2016, and her responsibilities have evolved to the point that she’s now a co-owner in the business and our Director of Operations. She’s done a tremendous job of keeping things moving (look no further than some of our awesome Facebook Reviews). and we are incredibly lucky to have her as part of the team. Without further adieu: A Q&A with Kate. (She is great!)

How long have you been CrossFitting?
My husband and I wandered into the 9AM Hopper at CrossFit Cool Springs on Saturday, May 24, 2014. The owner invited us to come back for a “workout and community cook-out” on Monday, and we thought that sounded fun. Of course anyone in the CrossFit community stateside knows what that means – and our second CrossFit workout ever was “Memorial Day Murph.” We were either going to quit immediately or be hooked. It was the latter.

What are your most and least favorite movements or workouts?
I absolutely love double-unders, and I’m learning to love Olympic lifts. It’s really important to me to pursue excellent form in my training (Not always at competitions – that’s the time for speed). My love of Oly has increased as my capacity to lift more and lift well goes up. I loathe thrusters. I can’t stress this enough – they are just the worst. 17.5 was a very mixed bag for me.

What was your proudest moment as an athlete?
I am fiercely competitive by nature. Like, “I haven’t had any cavities but my husband has” competitive. I am also my own worst critic, and I’m not very good at positive self-talk. I recently competed on a team at Mayhem for Mustard Seed Ranch, and my team made it to the final. The whole day I felt like I was holding them back because I don’t have a strength, per se – I am not the strongest or the fastest. Leading into the final, my teammates lead me to have a total breakthrough. They basically had to look me straight in the face and tell me that I’m consistent and well-rounded, and my lack of strength IS my strength because I am steady across the board. They also picked me to go last on the waterfall final, and we won that event. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of something fitness related.


Kate Clean

Do you have any game-day rituals?
Great music, witty banter, and a bag of Twizzlers for fuel.

What’s in your gear bag?
A shorter question would be “What isn’t in my gear bag?” I have so much stuff. My staples that you can pretty much find with me at any point are my Reebok legacy lifters, Nike Metcons (I usually like the Men’s colors way better), Rogue Grips, several clean pairs of low-rise socks, and a rope or two. I love my RPM rope, but I just got a Momentum Rope in the mail – literally yesterday. It’s a brand-new rope with a never-come-undone design and I’m excited to give it a spin.

On to professional life – How did you get to this point in your career?
I was running operations for a department at a major automobile headquarters here in the states, and I was beyond miserable. (Cue the video montage reel with my realization that money doesn’t equal happiness, and my eventual liberation from corporate America.) Around that time I reached out to the Throwdowns.com owner, who I knew from my gym, and I also got my L1 and started to coach. The rest is history. Taking care of our customers from start to finish is THE most important thing to me, and that value is what enabled me to rise from a standard account manager to the Director of Operations with an ownership stake in the business. I can truly say that I love what I do.

What is the best part about working for Throwdowns.com?
All the amazing, fitness-minded people all over the world who I am blessed to interact with. You make this fun.

What one thing do you wish event-planners knew?
We have seen it all, so take advantage of that and use us for our knowledge, not just our software! Some of our most successful competitions have involved us in things like workout planning, strategies for maximizing donations, and generally acting as consultants rather than just the registration and scoring provider. And we love doing it.

What are your interests outside of Functional Fitness?
In my free time, you can generally find me with my husband and our army of fur babies. We have three dogs and two cats, plus the occasional foster animal. I love spending time on the water – waterskiing, tubing and kayaking are my favorite. I’ve had tacos 4 times this week (if my nutritionist is reading this, it fit my plan!!), so you could say I’m interested in those. I also really like podcasts. My favorites are Girls Gone Wod, This American Life, Stuff You Should Know and Ask Me Another.

Anything else you want readers to know about you?
I have an identity crisis. My legal first name is Louisa, and just about everyone in real life calls me Weezy, but I introduce myself as my middle name – Kate – because it just feels too strange to introduce myself as “Weezy”. You can call me whatever you wish; I will answer to them all!!

 

Photography taken by The Barbell Spin