I absolutely love CrossFit, CrossFit competitions, the Open and think they are an absolute necessity. They give individuals goals; push limits and allow athletes to showcase their abilities. For me personally the CrossFit Open was one of the best experiences and huge influence in my pursuit of fitness. I am a huge advocate of athletes participating in it… if they meet certain requirements. This isn’t specific to just The Open; it’s my view on all regional or national competitions.
As of late, you see awesome videos of individuals accomplishing amazing feats during the Open. It’s probably the most inspiring time for CrossFit as the entire world completes the same workouts. Some individuals do it with aspirations of going to Regionals and the Games, and other athletes do it to be a part of something larger. The aspect of CrossFit that we call “community”. The Open is a pinnacle among the CrossFit community and will be for years to come.
Now, to answer the question I posed in the title, I believe that individuals should ONLY register for the Open if they have the experience, technique and confidence with every movement required for that competition. Like all competitions, the Open is an opportunity for athletes to showcase their hard work and dedication towards becoming a well-rounded athlete. The Open workouts are generally released with weights and movements most RX athletes can complete safely. The problem with that is the majority of CrossFitters are not RX’d athletes.
The majority of individuals, especially at my box, utilize CrossFit as a method to get in their best physical shape. While some have competitive aspirations, it is a very small number compared to all of the athletes I coach. The majority of my athletes are progressing very fast and are in better physical shape than they ever have been but… my concern is a how their form and technique will break down over time in a WOD. If their focus becomes finishing faster or heavier, my cues to remain safe become more difficult for them to hear. Their competitive spirit temporarily blinds them from my coaching voice of reason.
I spend a lot of time with all of my athletes and I am intimately aware of their strengths and weaknesses. I value the spirit of The Open and the experience it creates. For these reasons my gym will compete unofficially in The Open, scaled to our abilities and without the pressure to perform or tackle a movement they are not ready for. We will celebrate the community aspect of our sport, every Friday night for 5 weeks during this time.
The majority of my box will compete for pride, breaking a sweat, and grinding out a few more reps than they thought possible. Our “community” will recognize the effort and will reward them with cheers and encouragement. There are a few athletes that will register for The Open with the goal to advance to regionals. They have trained for more than a year to tackle these workouts as RX. The will receive the same cheers and encouragement as everyone else. We will celebrate the effort of everyone equally and recognize our collective pursuit of fitness. After all, we are in this together.
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Original draft by: Talon Smith
Edited: James Thomas