It’s been something special for six years now. Even back when it was not polished and super gritty; before there were box seats and bottle service. This time of year always sparks a fire.

The Open is always fun for me. This year, leading up to it I was actually not planning on doing it… but as soon as I went to CrossFit Purpose for their “Friday Night Lights,” I HAD to do it. Supporting the athletes as they prep for the event and their heat time is one of the elements of being a coach that I love.

Is the Open for everyone? At the elite level, I don’t think there is room for everyone, nor should there be. I do believe there is a way each affiliate can participate in some way, shape, or form. I look at the Open like I used to look at main site when I first started doing CrossFit: I was still in NY at the time, so the WOD was not posted until about 8 or 9PM every night. I would sit by the computer, waiting for it to post. Then, I wanted to be the first to post a comment– something like, “Ah man, that’s going to be tough…”. Then the next day, I would think about the WOD all the way up until I got to the gym. At the time, I knew nothing of scaling for training response or energy systems. All I knew was that this was designed for elite fighters, athletes, and operators, and I wanted to try my best. Scaling was obvious in some workouts due to the sheer fact that I couldn’t do the movement or I didn’t have the equipment.  

Now when the Open comes around, I see it through two sets of eyes: from a competitor point of view, and also from a coach’s point of view. These can be very conflicting at times. My coach’s eyes have been trained for athletic development over time and improved general fitness for all athletic levels. Doing an Open WOD and spending the entire time trying to get 1 rep of T2B (toes to bar) does not do much for the overall physiological fitness development of the individual– but it does do something for the psychological side. Having the support of the entire gym as you repeatedly give your all to get that one rep builds a stronger bond with your fellow gym mates, and also lets you know you can do something if you really try. It sets a fire for next time. So, what line do you draw as coach or affiliate? That’s your call. Whatever you decide for the athletes, let them know your view point so everyone is on the same page.

If you do let someone try for that one rep over and over, then the workout basically transforms from a test of fitness to a skill-work session. It should be accompanied with a workout that the athlete CAN do. This will elicit the training response the Open WOD would give if they were able to perform the workout as prescribed and at the intensity level of the elite athletes.

In conclusion, I love the Open and will support it and the CrossFit Games season while taking into consideration the athletes that trust me with their continued fitness growth. You can never force everyone into one box, and you should not guilt athletes into doing something they do not fully understand or are not ready for. Let’s educate our athletes better and encourage them to be part of a community that ultimately only wants to make them a fitter, healthier individual.

That’s my 2 cents.

[author title=”Author: Lamarr Smith” image=””]Owner of Legendary Competitor
Twitter: @liveasalegend
Facebook: LegendaryCompetitor[/author]

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