January 16, 2018
The Affiliate Owner’s Guide to the Open
By Emily Beers
Affiliate owners, listen up!
Affiliate owners, listen up!

It’s the first day of the Open, and everyone is eager and anxious.

But before you say, “3…2…1…Go!” you realize you didn’t print out enough scoresheets. You run upstairs and print a dozen more, then rush over to explain the tiebreak procedures to the judges. Excited athletes rush around in search of a judge, and judges search for clipboards. 

Eventually everyone is ready, and the evening is a blast—but it could have been smoother.

Your heart rate starts to drop as you arrive home to put your feet up, but then the text messages start flooding in: 

“Can you validate my score?”
“Who was my judge?”
“What’s my tiebreak time?”

Athlete
Rushmore CrossFit Athlete during the 2017 Open (Traie Roberson) 

The Open is definitely a flurry of frenzied fitness, but with a little preparation, affiliate owners can make game day run very smoothly for athletes, judges and coaches.

Take Care of Business

You should do a few things well before the Open starts on Feb. 22 to ensure you don’t run into unnecessary hiccups.

  • Make sure your affiliate is in good standing with CrossFit Inc., meaning your fees and insurance are up to date. Remember, you do not need to register your affiliate on the Games website. If you’re in good standing, athletes will be able to select your affiliate when they register.


  • Double check which email address you have on record with CrossFit Inc.—the licensee of record (LOR) address. This is necessary for you to register yourself as an Affiliate Manager, which you will need to do in order to validate scores. If you’re unsure of your LOR, contact affiliatesupport@crossfit.com. LORs can also assign the Affiliate Manager role to a staff member, but to do so they’ll need to forward an email that will be sent to the LOR’s account. 



  • Complete the online CrossFit Judges Course and ensure coaches and athletes who want to judge do so as well. The Affiliate Manager must complete the Judges Course before he or she can validate scores.



  • Read the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games Competition Rulebook. Encourage your athletes to do the same.



  • Spread the word and get your athletes to register early so you can set up Team Managers and teams at your affiliate. Make sure everyone is clear about the difference between signing up to be part of your affiliate and being part of a team. Check the Rulebook early to make sure athletes are eligible to compete on your team.



  • Come up with your game-day plan and share it with your athletes. Things to consider include: days and times you’ll allow athletes to test and re-test Open workouts, heat registration, drop-in policy, and whether any of your athletes need to be filmed. Similarly, inform your athletes of your expectations for them—at minimum, an athlete needs to keep track of his or her scoresheet, which must have the judge’s name and tiebreak time. He or she must also submit a score before the deadline. 



  • Make sure you know the deadlines for submission and validation of scores. Consider setting calendar reminders. 



  • Make sure you have all the supplies you need to host the Open so you don’t run out of ink when printing scorecards or tape when creating lanes on the floor.



  • Inform your athletes of your validation plan. If they know you're going to validate scores just once a day by 6 p.m., you’ll be less likely to be bombarded with text messages each week. 

Overall, planning and communication are key—just as they are when running your daily workout.

Tips for Game-Day Success

  • Print enough scorecards the night before to handle the volume of athletes who are competing. Print extras in case more athletes show up.

  • Tape the floor to establish lanes and work areas to ensure safety and organization.

  • Read the workout description and watch the workout demo video the night before you host the workout at your gym. Anticipate questions and present important info to athletes and judges well before the workout.

  • Make sure you know which athletes need registered judges.

  • Make sure you have enough judges.

  • Brief your athletes in a group—even the experienced ones—about the workout and give them a chance to ask any questions before the first heat begins.

  • Reiterate small but important details, such as the tiebreak time or score, to all athletes and judges.

  • Should you run into any snags, or if you have questions, check out our social-media feeds for updates and news first. If you have a question, it’s likely others do, too, and we’ll get the info out to everyone fast.

Tips From Affiliate Owners

Traie Roberson, owner of Rushmore CrossFit in Rapid City, South Dakota, had great success last year after getting his athletes to sign up for heat times using a scheduling website.

“It streamlined the process of people signing up for heats, while leaving me out of it. In previous years, I left a sign-up sheet at the gym, and I used to get several messages right after the workout was released, mostly people asking me to sign them up for specific times. Now they can do it on their own,” he said.

Nick Shelton, a former affiliate owner, a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer and an athlete at Backcountry CrossFit in Denver, Colorado, suggests doing the same with your judges.
“Recruit judges ahead of time for the entire Open. Be nice and compensate them for their time, even if it’s a small gift card. Show that you care,” he said. And then create a judge schedule in addition to your heat schedule, he added. 

Something else to consider: use of space.

“As soon as Dave (Castro) announces the workout, I’ll start with a whiteboard and draw out … what I imagine the flow looking like and what’s most functional. This includes spectator viewing, warm-up areas and the most effective space for athletes to set up,” Shelton said. 

Ensure each lane or workout area is large enough, he added.

Gym Setup
Coach Nick Shelton's Open workout setup (Nick Shelton)


Shelton uses white duct tape on the floor to mark lanes and then numbers them, which makes it easier to shepherd athletes, he explained. And to avoid a mad search for a clipboard before each heat begins, assign each lane its own clipboard, Shelton suggested. 

“The process really isn't much of a hassle, and members really enjoy seeing a competition-like set-up in their home gym,” he said. 

The CrossFit Games team is here to help make the Open a great experience for everyone. Check this site regularly for tips articles like this, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Download the CrossFit Games app (coming soon), and be sure to watch the live announcements beginning on Feb. 22.

Good luck, affiliates!
 

Connect and share stories and highlights of your members by using the hashtags #InTheOpen and #CrossFitOpen.

Follow the CrossFit Games on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay in the loop, and be on the lookout for the new CrossFit Games app.