5 Ways to Boost Community Involvement in Your Gym During the CrossFit Open.

CrossFit Open, CrossFit Community
/ Feb 08, 2023
Eric Botsford

The CrossFit Open. A proverbial Everest of a challenge for athletes each year. Like walking into finals week in college just hoping that those long fought hours of studying pay off.

Will the exercises I have been perfecting show up?

What will be the curveball that they throw at us this year?

For so many athletes, these questions sit in the back of their minds and float amongst the groups on the workout floor.

And where does all this take place?

In the gym. In the communities that have been developed by dedicated owners and coaches. It is inside your walls that goals are achieved and memories are made. So don't overlook this time of year! This is the time to dive in head first into community development. Follow these key tips that have worked for me over the years.

1. Be a Leader, and lead by Example. Make sure you and all your coaches are bought in on the Open and signed up.

You probably have many athletes in the gym that waiver on the fence about signing up for the Open. Is it worth it they say? Your leadership as a gym owner and the coach's guidance have the power to tip the scales and bring them into the fold.

With you and your coaches prepping right alongside your athletes, you comfort the struggle that is going on in your athletes mind. You provide the foundation for others to reach their goals.

So this means getting your staff on board. I don’t care if one of your coaches is on a weightlifting program… Too bad. Sign up. I don't care if they have a race or a competition coming up, sign up. Everyone needs to be on the bus for it.

2. Update your Website. Traveling Crossfitters are hungry for a place to train. Get some new blood in your gym by advertising Opens Judging and community social events.

I know I am not the only road warrior CrossFitter out there. Thousands of traveling athletes are in motion during the open all over the country. By updating your website with a header that someone browsing the site can see “Open of the Open” then I guarantee your drop-in rate will improve.

The knock-on effects of an updated website are two fold. You boost the members' enthusiasm and you develop a deeper connection with the worldwide community. I, for one, always check a couple things on websites when I drop into a new town for a workout.

  • The Header. Your header should be clean and easy to navigate. Put high quality photos or video up and make it look good. It's your first impression.
  • The About section. This is your mission statement expounded into a nice article about what your gym stands for. Talk your community up, talk your coaches up. Make it look good.

3. Build to Success through deliberate programming. This is the perfect time to retest workouts from previous years. You could also mock up some workouts you think might appear this season . Also specialty clinics help bring new lifts to a stale schedule.

The lead up to the Open is an important time for athletes and for you as a coach or owner to ensure your members feel like they are prepared for the tests. And the cool thing is that you have all the answers from previous years right in front of you. Around the Open, go back to the workouts, re-do them and stick to the basics.

Yes, you can still do accessory work but make it relevant to the Open. All your members should know about the rower, how to scale movements correctly, and understand that quality movement is not recommended but expected.

Your coaches should lean in on their strengths and host a clinic about specific skill based exercises. This reinforces the coaches efficacy and allows the community to come together knowing that you are helping them towards success.

4. Give your members a reason to connect.

How often do the morning and afternoon classes get to see each other? Yes I'm sure they see each other on the instagram feed or occasionally in a class crossover, but they need more time together!

A strong community knows each other. Friday Night Lights events are a great way to encourage people to come together and increase connection. Schedule times when your coaches or registered judges will be onsite to judge. Discourage open gym testing, the vibe is never right.

5. Gamify the results. You can build teams with registered athletes, reward them for completing the workouts and/or goals they set for themselves, and provide prizes or accolades to the winning teams.

I wish you all the best this year as athletes, gym owners and coaches. Building the strongest community possible is the legacy we get to impart on history. Step up and lead your people to success.