"We told people it was OK to scale in the Open. We're chasing inclusivity ... Scaling movements results in a score of zero, and we're cool with that. If it means more people get to be part of Team Range of Motion, we'll take it!"
The countdown for the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open was an exciting one for Dan Williams for two reasons.
On a personal note, it marked the beginning of another CrossFit season for last year’s 20th-place finisher at the Australia Regional. But as head coach of Range of Motion CrossFit in Perth, Australia, it also marked the achievement of registering more than 90 competitors for the global CrossFit event. That’s one for every square meter of space in the affiliate gym.
Currently, Range of Motion has 93 registered athletes, placing fifth in terms of team size in the Australia Region. That’s an impressive feat given Range of Motion CrossFit has exactly 100 athletes.
"We had a number of strategies in place to get everyone involved," Williams says.
"We started with a wish list of the people we wanted to be involved, which was everyone. As people signed up, we transferred their name from the wish list to a whiteboard, so people can watch the team grow day by day."
Social media also played a large part in promoting the Open for Range of Motion.
"We started a private Facebook group and began running info on the Open three months out," Williams says. "As we drew closer to the Open, we tagged the people on our wish list who hadn't yet transferred to the whiteboard. Then, we let the weight of community peer pressure take over with support, encouragement and arm-twisting."
While it wasn’t too hard to get the die hard CrossFitters to register, Williams made sure he made the Open appealing to those new to the sport, by educating them a bit more about exactly what the CrossFit season is all about.
"We also ran a special edition of our internal newsletter focusing on the Open," he says. "The newsletter included information on strategy, what to expect, tips for a successful Open campaign and numerous links to articles on the history of the Games.
“We used this to expose the non-obsessed to the world of CrossFit outside of Range of Motion."
An internal television was set up within their affiliate, which continuously ran pictures from previous CrossFit Games and bits of information on the Open.
"This was targeted at people who may not be as active on social media, or who see CrossFit as a small part of their day, rather than their entire life," Williams says.
And it wasn’t just Williams spreading the word, there was a number of Range of Motion members who helped out.
"We delegated responsibility for spreading the word," he says. "Individual coaches were given responsibility for their clients and our inter-coach communication included bi-weekly updates on which of that coach's clients hadn't yet joined the team."
"We also ran a competition and offered bonuses to the coach with the highest percentage of their client's competing.”
In the lead up to the Open, Williams also began offering free weekly skill workshops to get newcomers ready for the five-week event.
"By achieving these movements for the first time, people were less anxious about signing up," Williams says.
He continues, "We told people it was OK to scale in the Open. We're chasing inclusivity. We have a lot of people competing for whom some movements are a distant goal. Scaling movements results in a score of zero, and we're cool with that. If it means more people get to be part of Team Range of Motion, we'll take it!"
"In the end, we simply told people we wanted them to do it. It meant a lot to us and a lot to the team. We told them that aside from the personal benefits, it would benefit our community, and they didn't hesitate to get involved."