Jim Fitzsimmons, head of University of Nevada CrossFit, is reaching out to all his athletes hoping they'll sign up for the Open. Last year, 64 of his athletes participated, and while the gym didn't field a team, as a group they placed 35th in the South West.
Fitzsimmons is hoping for more participation this year.
"Always," he says. "I realize some people feel we should hold tryouts or only recruit our star firebreathers, but I disagree. We have the space and the time. I want to see everyone who has the guts to compete have the chance."
Fitzsimmons is reaching out to his athletes during his regular workout schedule and already seeing results.
"The class announcements are where we recruit the most folks," he says. "People are getting fired up."
But that's not all he's doing. In addition to announcements, Fitzsimmons is bringing back a favorite from last year's Open at UNR: a large, weekly class dedicated solely to the competition.
"We still plan to hold a big Friday night throwdown each week of the Open,” he says. “We considered changing it, but the Friday nights have become a solid tradition and the energy of 60-plus competitors and their fans and families is amazing."
Some of Fitzsimmons' other efforts include specialized programming to prepare for the Open. He added a competition training section on the box's website and posted minimum performance targets for athletes interested in competing. Even though he's offering training geared to the Open, he plans on nudging all his athletes toward competition by working it into regular programming.
"Yes, there is different training for those interested in competing: Friday team workouts and additional coaching and skill development," he explains. "But it's a combination of the two. We are also starting to bias our daily workouts toward (the Open) with the volume and intensity obviously less than the secondary workouts we program for people focused on competing."
Fitzsimmons is using past programming to determine what weaknesses to attack.
"Most of the shortcomings we have seen in years past have been related to skill development and not work capacity,” he says. “So, we have been pushing skill development in the daily workouts and incorporating a larger skill component during the instructional and warm-up times."
The affiliate has been able to add some new equipment in the last year to accommodate a larger group.
"This year, we purchased 10 Olympic platforms and replaced our first generation Rogue pull-up rig with a new Infinity rig," he says. "This has really helped in the area of adding additional ring stations and the dirty south bars have made it much easier on our shorter and female athletes."