Dave Castro on … Programming for Team Competition

CrossFit’s director of training gives us some insight on how he programs the team challenges.


How do you create the team contest?

The team stuff is really hard to do logistically because there are so many people — six people, four people, however many people you want to make events for — and it’s a challenge with gear, it’s a challenge with judges, it’s a challenge with the athletes. But team events are sometimes the most fun to program because there are so many different ways you can take them.

Do I want to test each individual in isolation in a team in one long event where one person’s going to be exposed as the weak link? That would be like this person does x amount of work than this person, than this person, than this person. Do I want to test the teamwork of the team where they have to distribute load? Like, the whole team has 500 thrusters to complete and they decide how they want to do it. Do I want to test a pair’s ability to work as a team? Do I want to test six people’s ability to work together? If you were to take 2014’s workouts and lay them out and look closely at them, you would see stuff like that. You would see that in this one there’s one person working at a time throughout, in that one everyone’s working, this one’s pairs, this one is all females, this one is all males.

Actually, at the Games, at least the last couple of years — I don’t know if it will be this big going forward — you will see by design all six members are working out. At the Regionals, because of time, we design it so only two people do a workout, then four do a workout, or three do a workout and three do a workout and so they don’t have to do everything. But that’s because of the schedule and time and bodies. It’s a logistics thing. But at the Games, I try to design every workout so all six people are working. There are just different variations of how that plays out.

I do like to expose individual weaknesses with the team stuff, and that’s what the first 2014 Invitational workout, “Fran” (45 pull-ups and 45 thrusters), was for — to expose an individual. If you drop off the pull-up bar, everyone else knows you dropped off the pull-up bar, you know? No one else did, but he did. He’s why you got a bad time.

I guarantee you there are teams that go home and go, “Man, Cindy lost that for us.” You know? And then there’s stuff where I like to incorporate teamwork where someone’s saying, “Man, Joe’s a fucking dick. He lost his cool, he couldn’t manage under the pressure.” I want to see all those happen. I want to see the teams work together, fight together, look at each other and say, “That guy is a star. That guy fucked up.” I like to put all the dynamics in because it’s how you see people’s true colors and it’s where you see teamwork. And it’s how you see teams. Team programming is so much more than the CrossFit workout.

For more with Dave Castro, pick up the July/August 2015 issue of The Box, on newsstands now. Or click here to subscribe.