July 5, 2012
Weakness Focused: CrossFit Townsville's Tropic Thunder
By Andréa Maria Cecil

Team members have spent much of their time on individual weaknesses in preparation for the unknown.

Competitive CrossFitter Daniel Strickland is certain CrossFit Townsville’s Tropic Thunder can take out reigning CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup champions CrossFit New England.

This is with one caveat, however.

“Us Aussies are prone to some (unsubstantiated) trash talk,” Brett Fforde, coach of the team, says. Fforde is also a member of CrossFit’s Seminar Staff.

Although Tropic Thunder got off to a sluggish start at the Australia Regional — finishing 10th in the team Diane — they finished third in the second and third events of the weekend. What followed was a sixth place, fourth place and fifth place finish. Their performance was good enough for a third place finish overall and an invitation to this year’s Games.

Since the Regional, the team has been spending much of its time on weaknesses.

“My take is that the team (competition) is not as physically demanding as the individual (competition), so time is best spent attacking weaknesses,” Fforde says.

Team members have been training up to seven days per week. Although training once per week as a team was normal prior to Regionals, the regimen quickly changed as they began to prepare for the Games according to team member Melissa Hill.

Hill went to Europe when Games training began to see her significant other who was previously on duty in Afghanistan. Two days after Hill returned to Australia, Strickland left for the U.S. Team member Trent Shannon was in the states already. Kate Wade, another team member, works untraditional hours as a firefighter.

Needless to say, the team hasn’t had a lot of time to train together. “We haven't done a lot of training as a group, but have mainly been focusing on our individual weaknesses,” Hill says.

Still, she’s confident the team will perform well on game day.

“We know we can work well together, though, so that really shouldn't be much of a problem,” Hill says.

Fforde’s instructions to each team member were to hit one hard workout each day and at least one session focused on improving weaknesses. The day’s workout includes a strength element and a met-con. Members also hit the Olympic lifts and gymnastics movements often.

“The goal is that, going into the Games each athlete has a good understanding of what their capacity is at the whole range of modes,” Fforde says.

Many of the team members are hoping to see what Hill calls “military style stuff,” including tire flips and farmer carries. Four out of the six teammates are in the military.

Hill has been focusing on running and muscle-ups as they are two of her weaknesses.

A long workout with moderate weight and a lot of pull-ups is in Tropic Thunder’s wheelhouse according to Fforde.

“We would also love to see a workout that uses all six of us at once,” Hill says. “We haven't yet had the chance to work as a group.”

Just being a part of the Games experience is something the team is looking forward to very much.

“I am excited for them as it is the ultimate CrossFit tourist experience. Compete at the Games, see the individual (competition) and then live it up at the Tour — awesome,” Fforde says. “Look out for these guys. They will embody the Aussie battler: a little under-prepared but super competitive and keen.”

Hill says the team is prepared to give everything they’ve got at the Home Depot Center.

“We have not paid all this money and sacrificed so much of our time not to put in 100 percent in L.A.,” she says. “The trip over to the USA is a big one for all of us. Competing on the world stage surrounded by such big names is going to be huge.”