Adrian Bozman and Dave Eubanks on Judging Online and at the CrossFit Games

April 12, 2021 by
Image - Adrian Bozman
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As we move through the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games season this weekend, over 25,000 athletes (not including the many more thousands competing in the team Affiliate Cup division next weekend) competed and filmed themselves performing the five Quarterfinal tests. 

With that process there comes a margin of error, something that CrossFit Games Director of Competition Adrian Bozman and Director of Timing and Scoring Dave Eubanks discussed on the latest episode of Fitness With Friends on the Talking Elite Fitness Podcast.

During the podcast, hosts Tommy Marquez and Sean Woodland hit on a number of topics ranging from how the judging and scoring process works throughout the new season to standards on performing movements. It was during that conversation on movement standards that the points that Bozman and Eubanks were making started to sound familiar. It then occurred to me why it sounded familiar, these were the comments and responses that they gave during the athlete briefings at the Games and when there were Regionals.

One big thing: When Regionals went away after the 2018 season with it went the exposure to the community outside of those who competed at the Games to two of the most knowledgeable minds in the CrossFit space. 

  • Both men are well-respected amongst the athlete community for their no-nonsense approach when it comes to competition standards and scoring. What they say and any advice they gave during these briefs were to help athletes. 
  • Those who heeded their advice more than often did well in the competition, those who didn’t failed. What we got in the Talking Elite Fitness Podcast was essentially an athlete brief, one that could make the difference between moving on from the Quarterfinals to the Semifinals for some athletes competing this weekend.

“Leave no doubt”: The main point that both Bozman and Eubanks were trying to get across to athletes was that they need to take responsibility for their performances especially during the online, video-review process of the season whether it was the Open, the current Quarterfinals and the possibility of online competition in some Semifinals. 

  • What an athlete submits in terms of their video for review for the judges to look over is a direct reflection of that athlete. An athlete is submitting a video to be scrutinized and fine-combed and it should be treated as such.
  • Review your video before submitting it. Ask yourself if you would accept the quality of work in the video as well as the quality of production of that same submission.
  • Also have another person watch it with you, a fresh set of eyes that knows the standards but was not directly involved in the making of the video or in assisting in the workout.
  • If something is questionable or off in the video then you can bet that the video submission judge is going to catch the same thing.
  • I was a video review judge for three seasons and have seen some of the worst videos imaginable when it came to submissions. And these videos were coming from elite athletes. I have no way to tell if they were trying to cheat the system in their submissions but if a judge cannot without a reasonable doubt see the standards in a workout met then they cannot in good conscience accept it. Either you did the work and you did it correctly or you did not.
  • Submissions in question are filtered to a number of sets of eyes before making a final determination.
  • Eubanks paraphrased what Bozman tells athletes at briefinings, that when you are “asking the judge to make a judgment call, you may not like how that judgement call goes.”
  • When selecting someone to judge you during this stage of the Games I offered some tips prior to the Open and want to reiterate those same things as CrossFit starts cutting down the amount of athletes as we get closer to the Games. Selecting a judge will also be vital for those competing in the team Quarterfinals as well as those athletes invited to compete in the Age Group Online Qualifier.
  • I cannot reiterate it enough when I say select someone that will hold you to the correct standard.
  • As Bozman said in the podcast, “it’s in nobody’s interest to have someone lenient in the movement.”
  • Judges should “set and enforce the standard now to save an athlete the awkwardness and embarrassment of getting it later.”
  • Bozman suggests that athletes and their judges do a quick “dry-run” of the movements and standards at competition speed prior to actually performing the test. This allows feedback between and also setting the expectations during the actual test.
  • If you notice you hardly see the elite athletes arguing and questioning judges during competitions when they are no-repped. Doing that just costs that athletes time and reps which athletes can ill-afford to lose in competition.
  • For judges, do not be afraid to no-rep an athlete, for athletes do not get frustrated or be afraid to get no-repped.
  • Athletes hold yourself to the standards and if possible higher. If you do that you will leave no doubt in your performance and that you belong among the elite in the sport.
  • As Marquez stated in the podcast, “championship winners hold themselves to championship standards.”
  • This is true in my experiences judging athletes. I’ve judged Mathew Fraser, Tia-Clair Toomey, Kristin Holte, Kristi O’Connell, Brent Fikowski, Patrick Vellner, all considered the best when it comes to movement standards. It’s no coincidence that they are champions or some of the top athletes in the sport. A point that both Bozman and Eubanks make multiple times in the podcast. The best movers make the Games and stand on the podium.

The bottom line: With this new and more difficult stage of the Games upon us, expectations of the performance of the athletes are elevated and will continue to be elevated as athletes progress through the season. There are no grey areas when it comes to the standards. No room for errors or trying to cheat the system. If it looks like there is doubt in a movement or reps then more than likely there is. The video will show that or not show that. So take the advice of Bozman and Eubanks and leave no doubt.

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