Hold the Standard


Question for you, Affiliate:

There are two Boxes in the same city. Neither has athletes who are anywhere close to going to Regionals. One implements the new handstand pushup standard for 18.4 that has everyone hating Dave Castro. The other does not. The Box that doesn’t says no one in the gym is competitive, so why have their athletes great frustrated at a piece of duct tape on the wall?

My question is simple: Do you agree or disagree? I came across this case over the past weekend. Athletes from the gym using the standard were fired up; they called it unfair even though none of them are moving on from the Open. It got me thinking: How many Boxes don’t follow standards? How many athletes let standards slide?

I know Castro’s new handstand pushup standard was hard; every rep I did had to be perfect and concise, focused on full extension. It wasn’t easy and without it I could have done much better. So why have a standard if people are just going to get mad at an inanimate object?

I think the answer lies in a parallel to your business, Affiliate. While one of the best things about being a gym owner who is affiliated with CrossFit is they give you free reign — no stringent guidelines or “must-dos” like other fitness franchises — it can also be detrimental. You will be compared to the worst gyms around town. You could be amazing and wonderfully run, but a crappy CrossFit down the street can give everyone in the local community a bad taste about the fitness regimen. I mean, that’s what Elevate in St. Petersburg, Florida, found.

However, as an industry the standard for the CrossFit Affiliate is ever-increasing, kind of like Castro and HSPUs. Four years ago, dirty gyms were fine. Now, you better breakout the mop and bucket twice a week or your members are heading for the door.

So, I think the reason behind Castro’s standard is similar behind the growing standard expected of the Affiliate: the industry — the athletes — are changing and getting better. More is expected. And if more is expected, clearer lines have to be drawn. The athletes who follow those lines — who practice within those boundaries in 2018 — will be more ready for whatever new standard Castro throws at us in 2019. Affiliates would be wise to acknowledge the changes in the industry, the new standards, and begin to adapt to them.

While it sucks to stick to a high standard, especially if the other gyms in your area aren’t, I would encourage you to do so. It might be hard, you might get no-repped by members who want cheaper prices or offerings that don’t fit your gym, but stay true to you and hold the standard. You’ll be thankful for it in 2019.

Heather Hartmann
Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.

1 Comment

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    April 1, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Agree 100% Heather. Honestly, the amount of crying and moaning this year over the HSPU standards has kind of boggled me. Did it frustrate some athletes? Sure. But, since when was it a coach’s job to smooth out fitness so there wouldn’t be any frustrations or challenges? Seems to defeat the purpose.

    I’m of the belief that challenges make athletes stronger. If we as gym owners are truly focused on building better athletes and doing so as a community, I cannot see how eliminating challenges like the HSPU standards helps that. If anything it sets a dangerous precedent of watering down other standards.

    We didn’t’ see Mikko or Froning whining when they had to learn movements at the Regionals or Games years ago did we?