Another CrossFit Games season is done and with it comes inevitable questions, comments and opinions. Some are positive and some … not so much.
In case you are wondering, I will shed some light on how we at CrossFit Taranis select our team. (We have used this process since 2010 and it has been relatively unchanged except for the addition of the Open and the survey that we have athletes fill out prior to the Open commencing)
The process begins during every day training sessions. Observations are made regarding athletes’ physical abilities as well as potential. As the CrossFit Games Open draws near we begin to encourage our entire membership to participate regardless of ability, as it is a great way to develop community! If there are athletes that have aspirations to go further in the competition (Regionals or Games) as either a team athlete or an individual athlete we have them fill out a short survey.
The survey looks like this:
- Are you registering for the CrossFit Games Open? YES or NO
- Please circle one to finish this statement: I hope to qualify and compete at Regionals as: A) An individual athlete; B) A team athlete; C) Neither, just doing for fun and experience.
- If you qualify as an individual athlete at Regionals and make the choice to compete at Regionals as an individual athlete but do not make it to the CrossFit Games, are you interested in being a consideration for a Games qualified team position? YES or NO
- Of the 2 teams we hope to qualify for the Regionals which one would be your first choice to be considered for? TARANIS or THUNDER
- Are you open to being placed on a team other than your first choice? YES or NO
- Each team has 8 athletes, 2 of those athletes are alternates and do not play on game day but are still considered team members and the same level of commitment is required of those athletes. Please answer the following based on this information:
- Are you comfortable being listed as an alternate on a team? YES or NO
- In the event that you might be listed as an alternate on Team Taranis but we could use you as a starter on Thunder, would you prefer to be on Thunder? YES or NO
Any other information that you would like to tell us:
Thanks very much for taking the time to do this!! The selection process is a big task of strategy and we approach this process the same way we do for game day decisions: MAKE THE BEST CHOICE FOR THE GOAL OF THE TEAM.
Once the survey is complete the head coach and the coaches of the Competitor Development Program review the survey forms and attempt to build 2 teams that will qualify for Regionals. One team is built with fewer athletes in an attempt to free up a variety of athletes all of whom help in qualifying the second team for Regionals. The aforementioned process takes usually 2 or 3 meetings and several discussions with athletes to clarify information on the form (survey above) and any questions the athletes may have.
Once the decisions are made, athletes are placed on the Open rosters and attempt to qualify for the Regional competition.
The second stage of building our team begins once the Open is complete. If we have qualified a team(s), we begin to select our Regional roster of 4 male and 4 female athletes. This selection is based on several factors: Physical health, Physical ability, Individual aspirations (going as an individual to Regionals or not), placing in the Open, and attitude and effort throughout the Open.
The selected roster of athletes will begin team practices. At the very first team practice it is laid out to the athletes on the team what the expectations are and we explain in detail that NO ATHLETE is guaranteed a spot on the Regional floor and even if the athlete makes the Regional floor, there is NO GUARNATEE that the athlete will be on a qualified Games team. We are very clear about this fact.
Prior to the Regional competition, the head coach has closed door private meetings with each athlete on the roster individually. These meetings are confidential and the athletes are encouraged to voice any comments or concerns with practices, coaching, attitudes, or clashing personalities. The coach will ask for feedback in these private meeting as to whom, in the interviewed athlete’s opinion, should be on the floor at Regionals.
The floor athletes are selected based on the following criteria: Physical health, Experience, Team cohesion, Physical abilities, Attitude and effort during practice, Team athlete feedback, Regional events released and performance in those events during practices.
The third stage of building a Games team only comes if we are lucky enough to qualify for the CrossFit Games. Discussions begin with the 4 male and 4 female athletes that were on the Regionals roster as to whether or not they wish to continue. Discussions also take place with any individual athletes that did not qualify for the CrossFit Games as an individual to determine whether or not they are still interested in competing on a qualified Games team. Usually at this point a new revised 4 male and 4 female athletes are submitted to CFHQ. Practices then begin with the new team of 8.
At the first practice it is outlined to the 8 athletes what is expected as well as the financial obligation required to go to the CF Games (without significant sponsorship it is very costly) All athletes are reminded that everyone is now placed on the bench and the process of selecting the Games floor athletes begins again. NO ATHLETE IS GUARANTEED A SPOT ON THE FIELD AT THE CF GAMES.
During the process of preparing for the CrossFit Games there are TWO private interviews with each athlete of the team. The first interview takes place after about 2 weeks post Regionals, and the second interview takes place 7-10 days prior to departure for California. Once again these meetings are confidential and the athletes are encouraged to voice any comments or concerns with practices, coaching, attitudes, or clashing personalities. The coach will ask for feedback in these private meetings as to whom, in the interviewed athlete’s opinion, should be on the floor at The CrossFit Games.
Selection of the 6 athletes that take the field at the CrossFit Games in Carson California is based on the following: Physical health, Experience, Team cohesion, Physical abilities, Attitude and effort during practice, Team athlete feedback, Mental toughness and durability, Games events released and performance in those events during practices.
Because of the delay in talking to all of the athletes and the limited amount of information released by CFHQ, the final roster decision can be very late in the season. We try to delay it as long as possible to make, what we feel, is the BEST decision for the team and the majority of the athletes on the team. We do not consider one person’s motivations or agenda above that of the many.
This is an extremely arduous and challenging endeavor for the both the athletes and the staff involved in preparing the athletes and keeping them healthy. Sometimes there are hours upon hours of deliberating all the facts and intangibles in fielding a strong and successful Games team. We pride ourselves on being transparent from the very beginning so that athletes can make their choices with eyes wide open. At the end of the day there are going to be disappointed athletes. Disappointing athletes is not something that is enjoyable for us at CF TARANIS and we do not take it lightly. While it may pale in comparison to playing at the Games, the alternates are always given jersey’s identifying them as team members. They are always given the option to be included in the team travel, accommodation and pre and post wod activities. Fundraising is shared with the alternates and in true sportsmanship, playing athletes have always shared their Games swag with Team Alternates. We are a Team of 8 with 6 playing on game day. That is sport.
This is our system. We stand by it, rooted in truth and very transparent.