Today we are going to touch on a hot topic – the leaderboard. It’s a great tool to see how you stack up, to see if you are getting better amongst your peers. But there are some negative aspects of the leaderboard, as well. Today we are going to discuss all of the benefits and all of the costs of the leaderboard to hopefully answer the following question: do we even need it? Let’s dive in.
If you’ve been CrossFitting for even a little bit, you know the feeling. You look up the workout for the day and wonder to yourself how you’ll do. Then you look at the leaderboard. A few thoughts run through your head... What do the scores look like? Will I put up a competitive time? CAN I put up a competitive time? Who else is looking at the leaderboard? If I don’t do well, what will they think?
Raise your hand if you’ve been there before. Unfortunately, we all have. And don’t get me wrong, I think the leaderboard is an awesome tool for pushing yourself and to drive the competitive nature out of people. But you also know where I’m going with this. There are people who care TOO much about the leaderboard, which causes nothing but frustration, angst, and dishonesty.
I’ve been coaching CrossFit for close to 4 years now, so I’ve seen a thing or two. One of those things, unfortunately, is cheating. A lot of people don’t want to believe it, but it’s a thing. And unfortunately, there’s one main reason people do it – to look better on the leaderboard because they either want to impress people, or don’t want to look bad. Think about that for a second. There is nothing negative about finishing last in a CrossFit workout. By definition, even the worst finish is still creating a positive effect on that person’s health and wellness. But somewhere along the path we got lost and forgot what the point of working out is.
Another negative aspect of the leaderboard is that it teaches athletes to push themselves relative to others, instead of relative to themselves. I’ve had the misfortune of watching athletes slow down during a workout because “they already beat the best score.” In reality, to drive the best out of someone, we need them pushing themselves relative to themselves. It doesn’t matter what the scores on the scoreboard are, if an athlete has more in the tank then he needs to push harder. We are trying to become the best versions of OURSELVES after all, not the best athlete in the gym.
Obviously the leaderboard has its positive attributes as well, otherwise it wouldn’t have been the mainstay that is has been since CrossFit began. The main benefit is that it gamifies what could otherwise be a trivial workout and it gives meaning to each workout. It makes you want to go kick your buddies butt, and it can be a bonding tool as well.
So, in conclusion we are going to ask what you guys think about the leaderboard. Do you like it or no? Why or why not? Do you think it serves the purpose of driving the ABSOLUTE BEST out of you?