Like summer for students, Christmas for kids, and Fridays at 5pm for the average worker; Open season excites CrossFitters around the globe. The CrossFit Open also causes fear and anxiety because this is your only shot to get to the Big Dance; The CrossFit Games. The question is: should all CrossFitters compete in the Open?

I asked this question of athletes and coaches, and the opinions were quite varied. There are valid reasons for and against so let’s dig in.

If you are a serious competitor looking to get to the next level in CrossFit then it is a no brainer. You cannot advance to Regionals without going through the Open and with the new super Regions announced for 2015, the competition will be wicked fierce. If you fall into this category then you are already aware of this and have been training all year in anticipation. Your goals are set, you are reaching peak performance and you know what lies ahead of you. It’s time to execute your plan.

There are also a ton of athletes who simply compete in the Open to see where they fall in their age group locally, regionally and globally. They love to compete so they are drawn to it like bees to honey. There is so much excitement in a box during the Open that the air is electric! Just like with any WOD on any given day; you can sense the anxiety but there is an added fear factor. Is it because your name will now be listed on the Open website for the world to see how you fared? Is it because you know the Wod is going to be more brutal than a regular Wod? Or is it simply because this is the only competition you might do and the thought of it paralyzes you? Remember; fear and excitement produce the same chemical reaction in the body. The label you attach to that feeling is the deciding factor.

Should everyone compete in the CrossFit Open? No, I do not think they should.

Everyone can participate by becoming a judge or simply showing up to cheer on their box mates. One should not feel pressured to compete. It does not make them less of a CrossFitter by declining the offer. For example, is doing 150 wall balls beneficial to the CrossFitter with bad knees? How about the CrossFitter with a bad back? Is completing a deadlift ladder accurately assessing how that person is improving in CrossFit despite their limitations? No. It may crush them and cause more harm than good. The workouts are designed to be difficult in order to thin the herd so it may not be a wise choice to compete in the Open. Ahh…but there is a new Scaled division you say? Sure, the scaled division will allow more athletes who would never attempt the RX workouts to compete, but then does it not follow that there should be a Scaled division at the Regionals and the Games? The same goes for the new Teen division. You may see your name on the Leaderboard during the Open but that’s as far as it goes so you will need to ask yourself…is it worth it? If it holds value to you; then it is worth it. There may not be an end game in this scenario aside from tracking your progress but for some; that may be enough. HQ wants to make the Open accessible for all, but the Games…that’s for the elite.

Everyone needs to assess their own personal goals in CrossFit. It’s about YOU. If you want to compete in the Open then go for it! If you do not, then for heaven’s sake, don’t allow yourself to be pressured into it! Nobody knows you better than you. For 5 weeks, your box will be buzzing with excitement that you can be a part of whether you are competing, judging, or cheering. If your goal is to compete in the Open then by all means, ACHIEVE THAT GOAL. If you are a newbie and have no idea what to do; listen to your coach. Your coach will have your best interest at heart because they know you. If you simply like CrossFitting but have no interest in making it your full time career, then don’t stress over it by not competing. You are still a CrossFitter even if you don’t compete in the Open. Remember, CrossFit is about community and it takes all sorts of different people to make up a community. During this upcoming season, however you take part in the Open; make yourself and your community proud by being all in, whatever that means for you. I’ll be cheering for each and every one of you!!!

 

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