Competing in CrossFit

To Compete, or Not to Compete, That is the Question

CrossFit can be a competitive sport, but it can also be a way to keep fit, make friends and enjoy some time having fun within a community of people that enjoy lifting weights and playing on the rig. The question is; what sort of athlete are you?

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN TO START COMPETING? 

If you are confident that you have the general skillset required to compete (at the appropriate level), and you start feeling inquisitive about the competitive side of CrossFit, this is a good time to consider entering a scaled division in an “easier” competition. This will give you a feel for what it means to compete, and whether it is something that you could possibly enjoy pursuing.

If you’ve started noticing that you have become more competitive in daily WODs in your own box, or if your coaches have seen something in you that have led them to encourage you to compete, it might be time to push this aspect of your training.

INDIVIDUAL OR TEAM COMPETITION?

Team competitions are a good first stepping stone to ease yourself into competition. You aren’t going it alone, you (hopefully) have supporting team-mates at your side and it isn’t all on you. However, this decision is largely based on the athlete’s personality. Some CrossFitters can’t bear to work in a team because they are petrified of letting others down, some are too OCD to let others do the work for them and some prefer not to have to compete on their own. There is no right or wrong choice here – but a good balance of team and individual competitions will cultivate a mature, goal-driven athlete that is ready to grow.

COMPETITION WILL IMPROVE YOUR TRAINING

We often see athletes experiencing a complete mind shift after a competition, regardless of the level they competed at. Competition pushes people to train outside of their comfort zones, encouraging them to push harder and reveal to themselves what they are truly capable of. It’s easy to stand back and let the “seasoned” athletes take the win in a WOD at the Box, but when your name is on the line in a competitive setting, you will surprise yourself with your abilities. This realisation leads to a higher level of maturity in post-competition training, with athletes honing in on their goats with a greater hunger to achieve.

Once athletes begin competing, we see an increase in self-confidence, and greater courage to put themselves in a position where they may not achieve what they set out to, because they know that, even in failure, they will learn what they need to work on.

AVOID DOING TOO MUCH TOO SOON

Athletes that enter the wrong division due to inflated ego or bad guidance are bound to get injured and/or become demotivated. There’s no harm in entering a division that is millimetres from your reach, in order to try to achieve that movement you are just-just missing; but don’t enter RX and try a bar muscle-up when you are unable to string two kipping pull-ups together.

Don’t allow your ego, poor judgement or peer pressure to put you in a position where you are going to get injured. Injuries incurred at competitions limit the positive experience you could have had; turning something that is supposed to be enjoyable into regret. Rather use the divisions in all competitions as a ladder to climb, rung by rung, as your skills increase.

IT'S OK NOT TO COMPETE

For a lot of athletes that aren’t planning to win the next CrossFit Games, competition is about meeting people, being part of the greater CrossFit community and having fun pushing yourself at something you enjoy doing. However, not all athletes are competitive, and that’s ok too.

Written by: William Schutte, Co-Founder and Coach at CrossFit 360Vida