Divided We Fall

By Andréa Maria Cecil

In Affiliation, Coaching, CrossFit Games

October 15, 2013

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Balancing the needs of competitive CrossFit athletes and general athletes can be done. Andréa Maria Cecil surveys the community for solutions.

When CrossFit Dallas Central opened its doors, the CrossFit Games were in their second year. Broadcasting them on a major TV network wasn’t at the forefront of most people’s minds.

“When we started, the Games weren’t even on the map,” said Spencer Nix, of the Texas affiliate. “You didn’t do CrossFit so you could competitively exercise. (You did it) so you could just go out and do other things.”

Five years later, fans can watch the Games on ESPN outlets and a few athletes can even make careers of competing in CrossFit competitions and other throwdowns offering prize money.

That evolution, however, hasn’t changed the fact that most of CrossFit Dallas Central’s members are still simply trying to improve health markers and feel better about themselves, Nix noted.

“Those two things have nothing to do with athletics,” he said. “I still think that’s what the majority of people who come in have on their radar.”

But as the competitive aspect of CrossFit continues to grow, so, too, does the conundrum: how to balance competitors’ needs with those of the general population, which comprises the vast majority of affiliates’ memberships.

The solution for some is to create special programming for competitors or for individuals to follow their own programming, either during group classes or in other time slots. That can create a host of obvious problems including space management and group cohesion, but it also stands in contrast to these lines from the What Is CrossFit? page on CrossFit.com:

“The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. Our terrorist hunters, skiers, mountain bike riders and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen.”

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6 Comments on “Divided We Fall”


wrote …

Great article with excellent opinions from some top coaches.


replied to comment from Pat Sherwood

Thank you, Pat.


wrote …

Really enjoyed your article Andrea!


wrote …

Very nice treatment of a very real issue in our community. The "Gamesification" of CrossFit is a potential problem, albeit one with several very reasonable solutions as you pointed out. Well done!

At my son Randy's (Lil'bingo) Affiliate Comet CrossFit we program right down the middle GPP using CrossFit.com as a template. We then scale in BOTH directions, up for the competitive athletes and down for beginners, etc. We have one Open Gym each week; we have had little to no call for more. Our only concern with Open Gyms would be safety ones, especially with athletes we don't know as well. In my 8 years of experience around these CF parts it's tragic when an unattended or under-attended athlete gets hurt when they are working on their own but over their true ability or capacity.

Regionals-level athletes represent .01% or less of the CrossFit community. While very important it's important for us all to remember that. Coach's quote about "degree not kind" is as much genius today as it was in CFJ Issue 2!



replied to comment from Ian Helling

Thanks, Ian.


replied to comment from Darrell White

Thank you, Bingo.

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