3 Signs of Throwdown Programming-Gone-Bad

After every single CrossFit competition and throwdown, one of two things happens:

1. Athletes bitch and complain about the programming.


2. Athletes praise your event, both privately and publicly, for your “good programming.”

While coming up with a consensus on what makes good programming is next to impossible—since opinions are as varied as the sport of CrossFit itself—most people can agree on things they don’t want to happen at an event. And often these unwanted issues stem from poor programming decisions.

crossfit fail

3 Signs of Throwdown Programming-Gone-Bad

3. Fizzling Fans

Heat 1 goes off without a hitch and your stands are filled with eager, cheering fans. But when heat 3 begins, your crowd is suddenly half of what it was at the start of the event, and the spectators that remain are bored and disinterested. And by the time the final heat gets going, the stands are empty. 

Three potential causes for this:

1. Too many heats! 20 heats of the same event—no matter how exciting the event—will put any crowd to sleep.

2. Too long! When workouts are more than 20 minutes long, you need to find a way to keep the crowd engaged: A great announcer is one way to do this. Read some TIPS from a GREAT announcer here!

3. Unclear: If spectators can’t tell whose leading an event, you’re going to have a problem. People will lose interest. Period. Avoid AMRAPS. A 30-minute AMRAP is the perfect recipe for fizzling fans.

2. CrossFit Fails 

Think box jumps with a partner on your back or human barbell thrusters: If your event winds up on a CrossFit fails video, you have done something wrong. Three potential causes for this:

1. Fancypants: Was your goal to blow people’s minds with the creativity of your workouts? If that was your goal, this is probably where it all started to unravel. Remember the saying you learned in grade school? KISS – Keep it Simple Silly!

2. Pre-test: Even if an event seems straightforward and foolproof, testing your events beforehand is always a good idea.

3. Spacing: Tight lanes usually leads to trouble, especially in a workout that includes something like handstand walking. Make sure you have enough space, and that lanes are clearly marked.

1. Midnight Workout

Your event was supposed to end at 5 p.m., but somehow the final heat of the final event wrapped up at 10:30 p.m. Two potential causes for this:

1. Time caps are your friend: Instating time caps makes it easier to stay on schedule.

2. Aggressive Scheduling: Always air on the side of giving yourself more time between events and heats than you think you’ll need, especially if it’s your first time running a throwdown.

Even if you avoid all of the above, problems can still emerge. But at least if you keep your spectators entertained, you avoid CrossFit fails, and your event runs on time, you’re off to a good start.

One final tip:

Shocking news: CrossFit Athletes Want CrossFit

Are people grumbling after your throwdown that there weren’t any real “CrossFit” events?

CrossFit athletes spend hours upon hours practicing and honing their skills at traditional CrossFit movements: thrusters, pull-ups, cleans, snatches, handstand push-ups, muscle-ups. etc…

Competition is the time to put their work to the test. Odd objects and obscure unknowable workouts can be fun, but if they make up the majority of your event, expect complaints.