If you religiously read my blog or follow me on social media you’ll know that earlier this year I competed in my first Crossfit competition (read it here) at The Rainhill Trials. Even though the weekend was insanely stressful and tiring I have to say it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages. I thought I would be self-conscious competing in front of the crowds of people as I’m not even a fan of coaches watching me in the gym (yes I have issues!) but on the day I completely forgot that the crowd was there and just focused on each wod, each rep and enjoyed every minute of it!
The Rainhill Trials is a Crossfit competition which is actually organised by my box, Train Manchester, so when they put a post on Facebook asking for judges I was happy to oblige. They asked me to complete the online judge’s course first, which having been a Crossfitter for nearly two years now – and being very strict when it comes to judging my own reps in class – was pretty straight forward. And besides if you failed on any questions you were able to go back to the start (just make a note of your right answers as you go along in case you need to do this). Then it was just a case of reviewing the wods before the event to make sure I was familiar with the movement standards required.
It was nice that I knew what to expect on the day as this really helped me to relax before the event. When I got to the venue in the morning I put on my judges shirt (which made me feel pretty special!) and headed to the morning briefing where athletes and judges were shown the movement standards and got the chance to ask any questions. Then it was time to get cracking. In order for the judging to be fair we each randomly selected a clipboard with an athlete’s info on it and headed over to the waiting area to collect them. The athletes were all quite nervous so putting their nerves at ease and briefing them on the wods actually helped me to relax.
I personally judged most rounds so was on my feet from 9am-6pm. It was both physically & emotionally draining, but over the two days I became more confident with my judging and stopped second guessing myself. The head judge had some great advice and said if you are unsure about the rep – call no rep – chances are the athlete will make sure the following reps count. This was indeed true for most of the athletes; although there were a couple who didn’t seem to be able to stand up straight with the weight but under the watchful eye of the head coach I always felt as if I was being supported.
(this woman was badass and won the top category – opening with a 80kg clean complex!!!)
The best thing about judging was getting to watch some great athletes at work which is very inspiring and gave me a lot to think about for my next competition. And the worst? When my athletes rowing machine decided to malfunction in the final!! Thankfully it did eventually kick in after having to manually count a few calories and the athlete kept her cool and continued, putting in a stellar performance *Phew*.
If you’re signed up to judge a Crossfit comp or after reading this are interested in judging one, I’ve listed my Top Tips for you below.
Prepare like you were competing – Get a good night’s rest, have a decent breakfast and most importantly stay hydrated. If it’s well organised they should make provisions so that the judges get some food (& coffee!) and have enough rest. Judging can be exhausting especially if you are expected to judge for multiple days.
Dress comfortably – You’ll be on your feet all day, moving around and squatting beside your athlete to check depth so make sure you dress as comfortable as possible. I just wore my regular Crossfit gear, my train t-shirt and some trainers (plus it’s likely to get hot so take some deodorant!)
If you don’t know ask – If you’ve got any questions, whether it be about how the days runs or a movement standard you’re not comfortable with, then ask. There is nothing worse than standing out on the court pitch floor (not actually sure what you call it) and realising that you don’t actually know what you’re doing. Plus it’s not very fair on the athletes competing, which brings me to my next point.
Be firm & fair – You may feel uneasy no repping someone who is obviously working their butt off but remember there are other people competing who may feel hard done by if they notice someone not correctly performing the movement (or cheating as they will probably see it!). We’ve all been there and it doesn’t feel great.
Be confident – It’s not nice having to no rep someone but if you are judging a competition you’ll probably have to at some point. Make sure you no rep with confidence though. Make the hand signals and quickly tell your athlete ‘stand up properly’ ‘straighten your arms’ ‘reach depth’ – chances are they won’t do it again!
You will make mistakes – Just carry on as normal and don’t let it affect you. We are all human and chances are the athlete will understand. And if they don’t and become aggressive then just call someone else over to deal with it – it isn’t ‘The Games’ and they’re unlikely to be the next Rich Froning so they’ll just have to carry on or move on (and out of the venue).
Enjoy it – Yes these days can be a great source of anxiety but if you don’t enjoy it then what’s the point in being there. Remember you are giving up your time to help out because you love the sport and the community, so make sure it’s time well spent and it’s where you want to be!
I’d love to hear your feedback below or if you’ve judged a Crossfit competition then it’d be great to hear how you got on.