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Monday, March 3, 2014

Quick Hits: Open 14.1 Initial Thoughts and Analysis

So, all of us misfired on our SWAGs this week, although give John Nail credit for almost calling a repeat of 11.1 before overthinking it and going in a different direction. KISS principle, John.

Anyway, with 14.1 being a repeat workout, many of us knew about what to expect from this one. I personally had done it 4 times before, so I knew what I was getting into. But as is often the case with CrossFit, you always find yourself learning something new. One thing I found was that I actually benefited from mixing in clean-and-jerks with the snatches. In the past, I think my pride had gotten the best of me and kept me from using the C&J, but I actually found them very helpful. Around the midpoint of the workout, I started using a clean-and-strict press for about 2/3 of my reps. I found the strict press to be nice because it took the stress totally off my legs for a brief moment. I ended up with a PR by 30 double-unders + 2 snatches (score of 302), but I think I'm going to give it one more shot tomorrow and mix in even more C&J's early on.

That being said, I personally would have preferred that the workout required the snatch. I think the option to use C&J's is basically a loophole that was exploited a lot more than perhaps HQ anticipated, much like the step-ups last year in 13.2. For many people, they won't even need to perform a single snatch during the Open, since it's unlikely (but possible) snatches will be programmed again.

I also spent a bit of time this afternoon reviewing video submissions to do a quick version of the leveraging analysis that I did for several Open workouts last year (as well as Jackie from Regionals). The concept here is to look at the average pace for each movement and the variability of the pace for each movement, which will then allow me to understand which movement is more leveraged. By leveraged, what I mean is a measure of how much an athlete's score will suffer if he/she struggles with a particular movement. See my post "How is Jackie Being Won?" from last May for more details.

Today's analysis is based on reviewing 10 male athletes who scored between 303 and 356. These are the type of athletes who will be fighting for those final regional spots. The analysis would certainly look different if we looked at a more average athlete or at a Games-level athlete. In particular, the average athlete may struggle more with double-unders, but this analysis assumes that the athlete is at least competent with double-unders.

Note that for the sake of time, I timed a couple of rounds for each athlete toward the middle of the workout. Their overall pace was probably slightly faster, but the overall message here is still valid, in my opinion.

Those final leverage figures mean the following:

  • An athlete who is 1 standard deviation worse on the double-unders but 1 standard deviation better on the snatches actually finishes 1.9% better than an athlete who is average at both movements.
  • An athlete who is 1 standard deviation worse on the snatches but 1 standard deviation better on the double-unders finishes 7.8% worse than an athlete who is average at both movements.
Basically, an athlete that struggles a bit with the double-unders can make up time on the snatches, whereas an athlete who is slower on the snatches will have a hard time making up enough ground on the double-unders. Interestingly, the coefficient of variation was almost identical for each movement (17% for double-under and 16% for snatches). However, the snatches took nearly twice as long on average, which is why we see that they were so much more valuable.

If there's anything to take away from this, it's that pushing the pace on the double-unders at the expense of snatches does you no good. Gather yourself during the double-unders, and be ready to roll on the snatches. (Easier said than done, of course.)

Well, that's it for today. Good luck for all those hitting this workout on Monday, and I'll see you back here Tuesday night for our SWAG for 14.2.

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