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Games Cont…

July 15, 2009

Logistics:
I have been involved with organized athletics for 90% of my life. I have seen good and bad events. I have seen good and bad referees. This post is not meant to put any of the volunteers or judges down. I personally know many of them and know they are of the highest quality coaches and people.

Having said that i have never liked referees. They will make mistakes and sometimes that can determine the outcome of a game.
I don’t feel like that happened at the games. There may have been some inconsistencies but i think overall they did a great job with what they were given.
Now lets talk about what they were given. The overall organization of the event was pretty poor. The judges had no idea what was going on both with the time line for the day and the workouts coming up. Almost all announced times throughout the weekend were off by at least 20 minutes. This made it hard for competitors to plan for recovery and food. It also made it very hard to watch as spectators never knew when the next event was going to happen.

There was a big screen which would have been perfect for standings. Just a thought.

I was not impressed by the way this event was run. Next time i hope they get more help on the logistics side.

No Comments

  1. dave
    July 15, 2009 at 9:06 am #

    That’s interesting… I wasn’t there but everything I keep reading on the games site comments said everyone was really happy with how things went off. Are those opinions in the minority?

  2. Miguel Garza
    July 15, 2009 at 10:05 am #

    I wasn’t there either, but it seemed WOD’s weren’t announced until about 15 minutes before as many of the twitter updates had people confused as to what was coming up next. Were they keeping with the “unknown and unknowable” thing? As Dave said, all I’ve read is that people really liked or were happy with the logistics of everything, but maybe this was just as spectators.

  3. Rob
    July 15, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    Dutch, I would argue that the super-abundance of hott, fit, scantily clad women walking around everywhere more than outweighs any deficient logistics:)

    It was sub-optimal that I couldn’t go into the athlete’s area with my athlete(Polly Bobseine). I had to just make her a kit of stuff(liquids, food, tape etc.) that she could keep with her. We had a tent and cot set up on the hillside but that sucked to have to keep walking up there back and forth, making sure you weren’t out of the loop on what was coming up. I understand there was only so much space in the main building though. Updates on the jumbo-tron is a great idea. She was happy with the recovery services ie. ice-bath and massage that were provided. The medical dude was very helpful to us, lots of tips.

    I’m not complaining and am sure these things will continue to be improved and streamlined. I was pleasantly surprised at how well parking was set-up. No big deal there. The tent-city approach was primitive but that also made it cool, to me anyway.(what’s up with the dirt out there? shit was like baby-powder and I’ll be cleaning it out of my gear for months) ok, little complaining there.

    The vendor area was awesome. Gotta love me some free t-shirts. Torque Equipment had some kick-ass ‘toys’. I had a great time walking around there and talking with all those people. Sure that will continue to grow huge every year as the big sports companies catch on.

    On the programming/competition design:
    In hindsight(always 20/20), I would have liked to see Day 2 performed on the first day, flip-flop ‘em. The whole thing was more interesting from a coach/trainer perspective than it was entertaining from a spectator perspective, IMO, but that’s just how it goes. Multiple heats and set-up for the next event are going to be dead spots for the crowd.

    I liked the competition as it was though and don’t think there is one, definitive way to analyze it. As you and others have stated, the design was taxing beyond the limits of health/fitness that the CF method strives to improve. Accurate but too narrow. The event was testing fitness capacity, not trying to develop it. We may have to agree to disagree on that point but I think this was a sporting event and like any other(Superbowl, UFC bout etc.) its about pushing the limits to beat the competition.

    Was it all ‘too much’ still? I remember all the comments that last year’s games were ‘too much’, ‘unhealthy’, ‘excessive volume’, and my favorite boogie man “adrenal fatigue”. Some notable CF critics(gym johns, mountain athlete to name two) have always charged that CF doesn’t prepare you to ‘go long’ and be able to withstand prolonged punishment. So you could say that this year’s games answered those type of critiques much, much better than last year’s.

    It’s seems to have become fashionable to criticize the ‘mainpage’ programming in favor of heavy lifting and sprinting/sprint-type metcons. That approach seems to have left gaps in the long-term durability of many though. The mainpage, on the other hand, has been full of the 5-10k runs, Murphs, Eva’s, Filthy-50′s, etc. that would have been great preparation for this year’s programming. That seems very much in line with what CF has always claimed to strive for. Broad time domains, meaning you gotta be ready to go long too.

    I don’t look at any of that as an indictment of anyone or their training. As Glassman said in his opening remarks, the games are a test of methodologies. This year showed that hypothesis’ like ‘hybrid’ and ‘strength base’ might not stack up against the much maligned ‘mainpage’ as well as many have been saying. All great stuff to think about as a trainer.

    Dutch, I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet you personally. I saw you once in the athlete area warming up and wasn’t about to interrupt. Another time then. First rounds on me…

  4. Dutch
    July 15, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    I can’t say that I am a big fan of the unknown and unknowable theme but I guess you can write anything off if you put it that way.

  5. Dutch
    July 15, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    Rob.
    Totally agree about the ladies. Enough said there!

    Re: programming and preparation.
    I really like the point brought up in the last post about an athletes background. I truly think we are still on the b team as far as what we are going to see in crossfits future. I guess that puts me on the c team.
    As we start to see guys that have trained their whole lives we will see what backgrounds really stand out. Tommy for example has only been doing crossfit for a couple months with a background in football.

  6. dave
    July 15, 2009 at 11:19 am #

    I think I should note that I don’t think the games this year debunked or disproved the efficacy of the Heavy Hybrid/Black Box/Strength Bias training by any means. I think those programs got some extra attention last year because a lot of CFers saw the DL and Grace weights and realized they would get crushed by those weights. Elite CFers don’t have a problem with those weights. Given this, I don’t think those heavy takes on CF are necessarily designed for someone like Jason Khalipa. Khalipa is a monster with strength. He is plenty strong for every metcon

  7. dave
    July 15, 2009 at 11:20 am #

    I think the main site would serve him very well. But a huge number of CFers are not anywhere near that strong. If they want to get better at the “sport of CrossFit” they need to get strong–it’s just a fact. The bigger your engine the higher your output. This is where I think the main page falls short. It can make you stronger, but I don’t think it’s the best way to go about it. The heavy programming is probably the best way for someone like me to train to compete in CF because I’m still not strong enough to be limited by my lungs. In a heavy grace, my muscles fail far before my lungs. This isn’t really the case with a lot of elite guys. So this is where the main page works for the already strong. I could definitely get stronger on the main page, but I don’t use it because my strength gains slowed to a crawl while following it. I have what I consider a laughable squat that desperately needs to get stronger. I just went back and checked the month of June for main site programming and back squats came up once. You could argue there was lots of squatting movements and front squatting but if I want to get stronger in something like the back squat, I need to back squat heavy more than once a month.

    This is a bit off topic, but I felt like I should post something. I have also talked to a few people who–after this weekend–said I was foolish for believing in Dutch’s programming ideas. I don’t think anything Dutch teaches in his seminars is at odds with what happened this weekend. If I remember the numbers right…it’s something like 80% of your metcons should be between 5-15 minutes with the remaining 20% outside that domain. Look at the WODs this weekend: the only two that fell beyond 15 minutes (for the top guys) were the run and the final any-asshole. That means 25% were longer than 15 min, pretty darn close to that 20%. If someone thinks that the prescription of keeping MOST (but not all) metcons in the 5-15 min domain is wrong, they’re either implementing it incorrectly or weren’t paying close enough attention this weekend.

  8. dave
    July 15, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    whoops…that got split up on accident. that’s what i get for writing so damn much.

  9. Miguel Garza
    July 15, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    This is just going off of Dave’s comment about Dutch’s programming. I’m a pretty strong believer in the 5-15 minute time range for WOD’s for different reasons. One reason being that when one works the anaerobic pathway, they see the benefits in both their anaerobic and aerobic capacity. So for the past 5 months, I’ve been training in this 5-15 minute range and have seen huge improvements in my capacities beyond the 15 minute range. Without ever running any of the 5k’s and 10k’s I was able to run a 5 mile run quite well. I think training beyond the 15-20 minute time range doesn’t allow someone to have a high relative power output. They end up doing more overall work, but in a lot more time and the workout slows to a jog.

  10. CR
    July 15, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    Dave,
    My thoughts exactly about those suited well for mainpage. It seems that the athletes who thrive on mainpage programming are those that bring a high level of something (i.e. strength or metcon or fill in the blank) to the table. Dutch’s gives a perfect example: Tommy H. He’s been training for football for the past 10 years, works on his metcon/CF capacity for about 5 months, and finishes second in the Games. Khalipa was much the same way last year. Obviously a higher level of strength is vitally important, and, as most know, a high level of metabolic capacity can be achieved quite quickly as compared to strength. It will be interesting to see the next few generations of CF athletes that have trained CF their entire lives (i.e. the Martin kids). One must wonder though, would younger athletes be better served by getting strong as hell and then focusing on metcon as they get older and/or more involved in competitive sports? I guess we’ll see in a few years as the Martin boys (and other kids like them) start going head to head with kids who have trained in a more traditional fashion.

  11. David N.
    July 15, 2009 at 3:00 pm #

    I think this weekend was an interesting event. I had a similar reaction as SYN, “darn glad I didn’t qualify”.

    I agree with the idea of following the main site for training, however what we don’t know is what Khalipa, Theil, Spealer, Mikko (sorry for misspellings) and everyone else does to enhance their skills, strengths and weakness. I’m not talking about drugs or supplements, but work in the weight room to make themselves more CrossFit “fit”. If you do main site 3 days behind you would be able to program in specific strength work or skill work to improve your ability to CF.

    However, for some people it doesn’t matter how hard you work, or what you do the lack natural ability or previous athletic background will put you in the hole. I would be will to say the majority of the competitors this weekend were regularly involved in fitness/sport before CF. Since finding CF, they have adopted it as their sport. B/c of their back ground their learning curve for the more advanced movements is much smaller/shorter than someone off the street.

    Although I love the competition and popularity of CF as a sport, I sit back and wonder how a simple whiteboard has created such interest. The whiteboard has now been turned into a weekend of crazy hard workouts. I am in no way stating I have the answer for finding the fittest individual, but I now wonder HQ’s though process in all of this.

    David N.

  12. StevenL
    July 15, 2009 at 7:26 pm #

    2 points.

    1. MEBB, Gant’s hybrid, etc. are not inferior … they are programmed more for the strength deficient athlete to increase their capacity. We all know that the strongest athletes tend to have the best capacity as proven time and time again with people with strong athletic/strength or manual labor backgrounds doing well at the games.

    For the majority of people who are not elite, strength biased or pure strength work is the best way to get their potential for capacity up to par. You can develop their metabolic pathways from there.

    2. Insofar as mainpage goes I think it’s almost always going to be the case that a mainpage athlete will win the games. Why you might ask? That’s a pretty simple quesion to answer because the people who do the mainpage programming also have a considerable amount of influence on the game’s workout designs. If you are prescribing lots of chippers and long metabolic blowouts on the mainpage, and the game contains at least some of those vs. someone who is on a more strength biased regimen it’s obvious who is going to do better unless you just have some genetic freak come in and take the crown away (Icelandic Annie perhaps?).

    In any case, basically what I’m saying here is that strength biased regimens aren’t “debunked”, and mainpagers have been winning the games for fairly obvious reasons. I’m sure that in the future there may be some people who can program more effectively for “broad time and modal domains” than mainpage, but we haven’t seen what works yet because the games are constantly changing so far. (well, that and the mainpage guys are making up the games workouts so yeah…).

    The events this year seemed a little over the top though as far as trying to find the fittest man and woman on earth goes as many of you have stated.

  13. Chris
    July 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm #

    Sad. From afar, this looks like crying over spilt milk. Two champions were crowned, that were well deserving of the title, “fittest man and woman.” They dominated the unknown and unknowable. One should never get emotionally attached to their training modality, only learn and modify. A better post Dutch would have been more self reflective and transparent with regard to how you might have prepared differently, etc.

  14. dave
    July 15, 2009 at 11:21 pm #

    Chris, I don’t think anyone here was questioning whether or not the winners were deserving of the title. I certainly wasn’t.

  15. Miguel Garza
    July 15, 2009 at 11:34 pm #

    I didn’t see anyone say that the winners weren’t deserving of their title “fittest man” or “fittest woman”. I don’t think that Post Games Dutch would have trained any differently. In previous posts, Dutch has discussed that he trains to be fit and to make sure its fun and that he doesn’t train specifically for the Games. I think that one shouldn’t get attached to their training modality, but one shouldn’t change their training modality to suit a competition, if that competition isn’t their goal. Training in different time domains is important, but my fear is that this year’s Crossfit Games will cause people to change their training for the worst. I also fear that less people are going to want to put themselves through the amount of torture that was bestowed on those this past weekend. I really hope that next year’s Qualifiers don’t follow suit with the Games.

  16. David Nichols
    July 16, 2009 at 5:05 am #

    Forgot to add, if you train main site you are more likely to hit your weaknesses more often than if you program yourself. I think we all have a tendency to lean towards our strengths whenever we can.

    DN

  17. dutch
    July 16, 2009 at 6:57 am #

    Chris.
    It is sad that you really aren’t understanding the discussion here. In fact there has been little criticism of the programming. Aside from the volume I feel the competition was a fair test. I also feel that you can’t complain about the rules of a game if you willingly sign up to play. Because of this I have not been very critical of the programming.

    I am glad for your willingness to discuss but please keep it respectful.

  18. Roberto Garza
    July 16, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    Chris,

    I don’t think that emotional attachment to a training modality was the impetus for Dutch’s post. Dutch is a crossfitter so he trains across various modalities. Which specific modality do you think Dutch is emotionally attached to? Did you instead mean time domain? Dutch has stated that he keeps his metcons under 15 minutes and that he runs as little as possible. Why? Because he trains for fun, and not for the games. In that sense he is tied emotionally to metcons under 15 minutes in that they are fun for him. It is interesting that with programming for what he enjoys still prepared him well enough to take 1st place at the Southwest Regional. There’s no doubt that Crossfit improves performance and that alone will drive many to Crossfit. But that won’t sustain most people long term. It is both the performance gain and enjoyment of the activity that will keep people coming back.

  19. Roberto Garza
    July 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm #

    With regard to programming, and the games it’s difficult to validate one programming philosophy over another unless we have the full picture. This includes athletic/work background, sleep, nutrition, genetics and programming. Even with that knowledge it’s still difficult to say with certainty which is best. A program for GPP is best in how it addresses weaknesses. Remember that athletic background is a factor. The games competitors may be new to CrossFit, but they are not new to exercise. The real test is to take absolute novices. We’re talking people with no athletic background and train them for a year. Then have them compete in the Crossfit games. Which programming is best? Is it the program the winner of this competition? It’s safe to say that it was a good program. But I don’t know that we can say that it was the best for everyone. It was good for that individual. We have to consider genetic potential, body size and mental strength. What if another novice trained the exact same program but did not win? Let’s say this competitor did not do as well on strength movements. What of this programming now? The same program was followed with different results. We can say which programs are good for reaching a performance goal. It is harder to say what’s best. Have you ever noticed that the one size fit all hats never look or fit quite as right as the fitted hats? Programming is much the same. There is no one size fits all program.
    Even if we could say which programs were best how would we differentiate between them? What does it mean to follow the main page? Should there be a differentiation between those who do the main page and nothing else and those who do the main page and something else? If I do the main page and also swim once a week am I now doing a hybrid?
    Mikko and Tanya were awesome. I don’t know their pre-crossfit training or their current training, but they obviously worked hard to be able to complete the games and win them. Two years at the top for Tonya is outstanding. I’m excited for the new competitors next year and for what events will be next year.
    As to the organization of the event, I haven’t heard much in the way of negativity. I give HQ some grace on the organization. This is only the 3rd year for the Crossfit games. Managing the affiliate cup in addition to the 8 events must have been tough. If there were issues they did not seem to affect the enjoyment of the spectators. My friends who attended really enjoyed themselves. I do wish that there had been better internet coverage. Streaming audio would have been nice. I’m sure they will work that out next year. It seems like Crossfit would work well for a station like VS. Maybe they can work a TV deal in the near future.

  20. Roberto Garza
    July 16, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    I’m apologize for the formatting. My HTML fu needs work.

  21. Jay M. in SC
    July 17, 2009 at 4:50 am #

    Chris,

    I also think you missed the point of this discussion. The winners of this Games were obviously exceptionally fit and had enormous tolerances for pain, but I see the ideal way to determine our “fittest” is by using one’s performance over time. To use an analogy from another “sport” (used loosely here), golf. the USGA does not determine it’s #1 golfer based on one tournament since on any given day, the best can excel or bomb depending on the course, weather, and their particulaly mental preparedness. Now while CF is worlds different in philosphy and goals, it may not be much different in the “method” of determining our best. To me the most fit athletes are those who perform at or near the top over time, with different aspects of fitness tested. Without weight classes, there will always be competitors with strengths and weaknesses depending on the design of the competition and programming
    My last comment is re: Dutch’s comment about the future “players” in CrossFit. I see some things changing here when the ‘financial purse” arrives. Lets face it, if guys like Ladanian Tomlinson and Reggie Bush trained CrossFit HQ mainsite specifically for 6 mos, given their background and level of fitness already, I think we all know where they’d place in these events. But, until the money is there, these guys will never put themselves through what went on last weekend in Aromas, its like the line from Jerry Maguire, “show me the money”. Like it or not, I believe, if the “money comes” with a “prime-time” position, these athletes will show up and our discussions will be very different. Not to take anything away from the “players” now, but this sport is definitely evolving.

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