How To Host The Perfect Summer Throwdown: Programming the Test

June 21, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Kay Wiese

In the first two parts of this series, we discussed how to plan out the financial and logistical elements of hosting a summer throwdown at your gym. Now we get to the fun part. One of the key elements of what makes a competition fun and exciting, programming marries the goal of testing athletes with the art of creating a fun and exciting experience for both the athletes and the spectators.

One big thing: Because programming incorporates nearly every element of the competition from logistics, to finances, and press/communications, programming falls into its own category.

When crafting the competition test as a whole, you’ll want to take into account several factors. The workouts should be manageable for all athletes competing while being entertaining for spectators and simple enough that they don’t cause unnecessary judging issues.

The ideal combination of workouts will perfectly marry a test of fitness with an exciting athlete and spectator experience. Here are several questions to ask yourself as you begin to craft your workouts.

What level of competition do you want to host?

  • Choosing Your Divisions:
    • In building your competition, your goal should be to open the doors for as many athletes to compete as possible.
    • While the ideal competition would have an infinite number of divisions, logistical constraints will allow most competitions to offer two divisions: Rx and Scaled. If hosting individuals only, you may get away with an Intermediate division, as well.
  • Defining Your Standards: Once you’ve decided on your divisions, you’ll need to think through what level of competition you want as your “base level”.
    • Your base level is the level you utilize to define your Rx division. You’ll want to think of what level of Rx athletes you want to attract.
    • Many competition hosts make the mistake of creating standards around what they believe a Quarterfinals or Semifinals athlete should look like and not what the athletes in their affiliate and surrounding area are capable of.
    • The reality is that a large chunk of the athletes will come from inside your own four walls. If 30-40% of athletes are able to attain the Rx standard each day, that can serve as an excellent base for how you’re creating your Rx division.
    • You want to challenge athletes with the competition, not make it so they can barely scrape the bottom of the standards.
    • Once you’ve crafted your Rx division, you can then craft your scaled division standards based on how you typically scale your workouts in your programming.

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