Tag: scoring

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.

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.

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.

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