Judge School Is In Session! 🧑‍⚖️

We’re going to be asking you to judge for a fellow athlete in Friday classes for the next month or so, in preparation for the 2024 CrossFit Games Open that begins at the end of February.

Here’s a handy guide to everything you ever wanted to know about judging for CrossFit (in case you were afraid to ask!)

Lesson 0: Why Is Judging Important? 🔬

The Open is a rare opportunity to record a score that’s been verified by someone standing next to you who has a much greater amount of oxygen getting to their brain, and can make sure you’re doing the right number of reps with full range of motion.

With good judging, you’ll be able to do these workouts again in future years and be absolutely sure that your scores are accurate and that your fitness is improving.

Judges also make sure that the Open is a fair competition: do you want to be comparing your score to someone’s whose judge let them get away with throwing half their wall balls a foot lower than the target?

⭐️ Want to be a superstar judge? Take the CrossFit Judges Course online in time for the Open! You can register for it here. CFV members, if you pass the course, we’ll reimburse you the $10 fee: email your certificate to [email protected].

Lesson 1: Counting! 🧮

One of your primary judging responsibilities is to count. This is harder than it sounds! A couple pro tips:

✍️ Use your scoresheet! Make hash marks for every rep (or every 5 reps for something speedy like double-unders). It’s really, really easy to lose count if your athlete takes a rest and your mind starts to wander: this way when you have that “oh f*&^” moment, you’ll have it written down!

📢 Count out loud: this reenforces the number in your head, and also lets your athlete know what rep you think they’re on so they don’t move onto the next movement with one rep left, get confused, ask you to clarify, go back to the previous movement to do 1 rep, waste precious seconds doing all that, end up with a worse score, and leave you feeling like you messed it up for them.

Lesson 2: NO REPS ❌

One of your primary judging responsibilities is to enforce movement standards. This is harder than it sounds: no one likes to make their athlete repeat reps. SO… some tips to get comfy with calling no reps:

☀️ Be clear & succinct: call the no rep, describe what they did wrong in as few words as possible, and keep counting. For example if they’re squatting: 1, 2, 3, 4, NO REP SQUAT LOWER, 5, 6, 7 etc.

💪 Practice! The more no reps you call, the easier it gets. Get that first one under your belt the first chance you get. Do it NOW while you don’t have the pressure of it being the REAL Open!

😅 Stop feeling bad about it: you’re not only helping your athlete record a valid score, but you’re making sure that the Open competition is fair. It might not seem like a huge deal to give someone a rep when they merely got very close to the bar with their chest on a chest-to-bar pull-up (for instance), but a single extra rep can have large scoring repercussions.

🥺 Don’t give pity reps! Yes, it sucks to watch someone struggle. Everyone wants to reward the person who tried 30 times to get their first toes-to-bar. But if they didn’t do it, don’t give it to them.  It’s pretty condescending to be like “awww, you tried so hard, have a participation rep”.

Lesson 3: The Athlete Angle 🪞

How to be a good athlete so your judge has an easy job!

☀️ Make your reps clearly good. Don’t make your judge guess. Squat an inch below parallel. Let them feel your chest hitting the bar on chest-to-bar pull-ups. Keep it as clean as you possibly can.

💁 Breeze through the no-reps. If your judge no-reps you, do the rep again. It will screw up your score if you spend time sweating yourself or your judge for the no rep.

🙅 Don’t accept pity reps! If your judge tries to give you a rep that you didn’t earn, don’t accept it!! Sometimes judges have a hard time seeing everything. Tell your judge it wasn’t a rep and move on.

🫶 Don’t forget to thank your judge for their service!

Lesson 4: Preparation 🤓

The best judges come to the workout prepared!

📋 Read through the movement standards (they’re linked from each workout description on the Games website and in SugarWOD) and bring any questions to class to ask your coach.

👀 Peep the scoresheet so you know how you’re going to need to record things. Take special note of easy-to-forget things like TIEBREAK TIME (this gets people every single year!!)

🧐 Watch your athlete do a couple reps of each movement before the workout starts. Make sure you know where your athlete is likely to struggle, because that’s where you’ll have to do the most work.

⭐️ Take the CrossFit Judges Course online to be a superstar judge in time for the Open! You can register for it here. CFV members: if you pass the course, we’ll reimburse you the $10 fee: email your certificate to [email protected].

Lesson 5: Scoresheets 📋

CrossFit is nice enough to make beautifully formatted scoresheets for us to use every year, but it’s easy to forget parts or write things down that are confusing!

Some tips from Sam, who has entered about 7000 scoresheets into the Master Virtuosity Intramural Scoring Spreadsheet, and has seen some things. 💁‍♀️

🏋️‍♀️ Athlete Name: make sure to write down your athlete’s first name AND LAST NAME, because believe it or not, there’ a pretty good chance your athlete is not the only person at the gym with that first name (and if we’re not sure who they are, we won’t know which team to credit their score to!)

👨‍⚖️ Judge Name: write down your FULL NAME also, just in case you write something down on the scoresheet that your data entry professional / score validator doesn’t understand or needs clarification on.

Rx or Scaled: check the box corresponding to the score that you’re going to enter for your athlete. This can get complicated if your athlete starts the workout Rx, but then gets stuck and decides to continue as scaled. If this happens, STOP JUDGING when they switch to scaled, record their Rx score, check the Rx box, and don’t write anything else onto the scoresheet. The part they did scaled won’t count anyway.

⏱️ Tiebreak Time: Many Open workouts require that you enter a tiebreak time, which helps separate athletes who scored the same number of reps. It’s really easy to forget about these, but they can make a real difference to an athlete’s score so try your best not to!

🏆 Score: You will need to enter your athlete’s time, reps completed, or load lifted, or some combination of those things, at the bottom of the scoresheet. Almost all the scoresheets have some tiny numbers at the corner of each box that help you do the math on how many total reps your athlete got through. Use them! And/or a calculator.

Lesson 6: Have Fun! 🥳

Don’t forget to have fun with this: The Open is always a blast!!

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