The 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games Super Regionals kick off in less than a week and continue each weekend throughout the month of May! This year's Open was particularly fun to observe; especially when so many athletes and coaches applied the warm up tools we provided for each workout.
Among the coaches we have met throughout our travels with CrossFit Football this past year, many of them are excited to share their success stories. They explain how tools they've picked up from the seminar, blog, and forums, have been valuable performance assets for their athletes. CrossFit season is no different. We are excited to follow several of our friends and coaches into the next round and do everything we can to empower their performance!
All of the hard work and preparation for the athletes is complete, all they have to do is show up Friday and have some fun. The real stress is on the coaches! The 3-day competition is spent managing athlete's emotions, ensuring the athlete's food timing and consumption is dialed in, and keeping the athlete focused on the competition instead of the fans, vendors, or barriers presented by the venue that deviate from their normal pampering.
We have connected with a handful of experienced coaches at the Regional level to see if they could help provide some insight into their preparation for their team and individual athletes. A coach can leave nothing to chance on Game Day, so we have introduced barriers these coaches have experienced in the past and provided solutions to keep the athletes in a position to just plug-n-play come event time.
Get your hands on a complete schedule. The event schedule was delivered to all coaches and athletes, but this will only be somewhat helpful for your cause. Using the event schedule as a guide, identify when the athletes are allowed to enter the warm up area for each heat and find out each heat's 'shoot time' start exactly. Leave no room for error, distraction, or rush here. Remove all excuses and put yourself in the best position to lead and take responsibility for your athlete this weekend. Last thing they need to worry about is a schedule and feel rushed during event prep.
Scout It Out
Get there early and get your eyes on the athlete/team room where everyone sets up their base camp. If you can, get space inside and out of the sun. If you are forced to set up camp in the parking lot of the arenas, be damn sure you have at least two tents to spread your team across to stay out the sun and use cool concrete for mobilizing. The base camp area is your call as the coach. To minimize distractions, outside is your best bet to spread out for mobilization and limit athlete interference.
Make your way warm up area Thursday and get a feel for what you have to work with. Expect big equipment to be provided such as bars, plate, ergs, bikes, and hopefully some Trueform runners this year. In the past, coaches have not been allowed in this area, identify if you're allowed to be there during your athlete's warm up time. If not, the scout becomes that much more important so you can know what they got and can coach without being there.
Also, check out the recovery practices that will be at your athlete's disposal for the weekend. Identify time demands for each and whether they are scheduling athletes or first come first serve. Don't expect there to be many foam rollers, lax balls, or bands available for public use in these areas. Bring enough recovery tools for each of your athletes to have their own. Recovery times differ greatly between the Teams and Individuals, so be prepared if the chiropractors and ice baths are jammed up.
Get Your Chili Hot!
Regionals are kind of a big deal. Many of your athletes are the big fish in the small pond of your gym. Now that they've combined two regions into the Super Regional! Everyone is a big, bad fish and there for a reason.
Part of being a Power Coach is having a connection and feel for your athletes. Be prepared to read them and look for the emotions they are not telling you. They may be anxious, nervous, or an all around mess! The warm up time is the perfect opportunity for them to get their mind right and focus on the opportunity at hand. To accomplish this, you must have a set warm up plan and keep them on a timeline. Don’t allow for their mind to wander one bit! The warm ups should be plug-n-play. The last thing you need is for them to disappear up their own ass or wrap themselves in a mental knot that even the onsite masseuse can't work out.
Don't let your athletes be shy in the warm up area. The area is stocked, but you need to make your presence known. If a piece of equipment is necessary to warm up, grab it. Doesn't matter if a former Games athlete wants to work in, if your athlete needs reps, they better get them. I know this is CrossFit and etiquette in the warm up area is usually 'hop in when you need', but remember, everyone is competing for the same thing. With only limited spots available to move on to the Show, plus the introduction of competitors from a new region, expect a greater sense of competition tension to be in the air.
The Cattle Shoot
Chili will be hot, 1RM openers hit, and athletes will be mentally prepped to crush it walking out the warm up area and heading out onto...the shoot?
All Regionals rookie coaches and athlete need to be ready for the holding stall that lies between the warm up time and the actual competition time. For roughly 15-20 minutes, the athletes are rounded up like cattle and huddled together in their heat before stepping out onto the floor. While this may seem like a barrier, it is actually a great warm up opportunity!
Power Athletes know all too well that you do not need a barbell or a rower to keep your HR up and blood flowing! In our Regionals Warm Up Protocol, we will include movements following the designated warm up each athlete should hit while they're waiting in the shoot for the slaughter!
The Space Between
The down time between events each day varies greatly between the teams competing in the morning and the individuals competing come afternoon. Coaches locking in the schedule first thing and identifying the exact times to enter the warm up area, shoot time, and how long each recovery perk offered takes will now come into play.
Individuals will get generous downtimes of two - two and half hours, but the teams will have approximately 45-60 minutes of free time between events. This does not leave the teams with a lot of time to take advantage of the recovery options provided, so dialing in the warm ups is extremely important to prepare the recovery process for the day’s first event and make the warm up for event 2 much more efficient. Don't rely on the recovery resources provided between events if you are manning a team until they have completed both events each day.
This is not picture time. Not vendor village time. It's Game Time.
Each year, the Regionals becomes a bigger and bigger event, and the competition becomes tougher with a more athletic and well prepared individuals and teams. Buzz from the previous year's Games is also in the air as previous Games competitors are back to reclaim their position on the podium. These athletes walk around the arena and are often stopped by friends or fans to shake hands and take instagrams. Coaches and athletes will have closer access to big time competitors than fans. Don't go asking for photos when these athletes are in the private access areas, respect their space as they respect yours.
On the reversal, when your athletes are in the athlete, recovery, or warm up areas, get their mind right. Don't let your athletes get pulled into the hype as they walk around the arenas when they have a job to do. There will be down time each day for the athlete's, do not let them lose site of the goals and expectations.
Shirts, Verts, and Certs!
This is not the end of our Regionals prep! Power Athlete will continue with our Warm Up Protocols, and we will be present at three of the Regionals held in the United States:
- May 15-17: Atlantic Regional in Atlanta, GA
- May 22-24: California Regional in Del Mar, California
- May 29-31: West Regional in Tacoma, Washington
Swing by the CrossFit Football booth to test your vertical jump and grab some Power Athlete apparel before it hits the online shop!
Thank you to coaches Greg Rhefeld of CrossFit Mettle, Neal Kay of CrossFit Katy, Chris Sheppard of CrossFit DC, and Freddy Camacho of CrossFit of Fremont for your insight. Best of luck to your athletes, we'll be rooting for everyone throughout the competition!
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Former collegiate lacrosse defensive midfielder, 4-year letter winner and 3-year team captain. Coached strength and conditioning collegiately with Georgetown University football, Men's and Women's lacrosse and Women's Crew, as well with the University of Texas at Austin's football program. Apprenticed under Raphael Ruiz of 1-FortyFour-1 studying proper implementation of science based, performance driven training systems. Head coached CrossFit Dupont's program for two years in Washington D.C. Received a Master's in Health Promotion Management from Marymount University in 2010, and has been a coach for Power Athlete since October, 2012.
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