Now that the shockwave has been absorbed by most of the sport of fitness community regarding many recent, aggressive, and abrupt changes to how the CrossFit Games will be structured and executed going forward, it is easy to acknowledge that the sport, and how it is played has been changed forever.
Given the announcements made by CFG, athletes will now have to qualify and compete across 16 CrossFit sanctioned events yearly for the opportunity to play on the big stage. For many athletes, this means earning a spot on one of the many lower tiers of competition at these sanctioned events, which will likely take the place of what they once trained for: Regionals. This being the case, and with many athletes still left in vague confusion from the lack of explanation from the CFG, we can only evaluate what we know: Winning the Open in your home country, winning a CF sanctioned event, or finishing top 20 worldwide in the open are your only ways to punch a ticket to Madison for the foreseeable future of the sport.
Processing these announcements and looking across the vast competitive landscape of what once was each region, it seems that many lower level regional athletes, and perennial regional "hopefuls" chasing down the dream, seem to have been left wandering the abyss of their training grounds "preparing," but unclear about what it is they are preparing for. Waiting, for someone to give them clarity or the "answer" about what is left for them...
Here's the answer. There wont be one. This doesn't mean that this is the end for all competitors who up to this point, have not proven to be games-worthy... As stated above, these competitors will now have to find solace in competing on lower tiers (Rx, intermediate, even scaled?) divisions at the now sanctioned events. These divisions in my opinion will overtake what once was regionals. What does this mean?
This means, that there has never been a time in the history of the sport where athletes have needed PERSONALIZED programming and coaching more than they do now.
Not only will competitors need coaching for greater overall development in shorter windows of time, but they will need someone who is trained and qualified in training athletes to be able to appropriately manage strength and skill progressions and proper energy system building and maintenance in a way that compliments their personal essence as an athlete and allows them to maintain readiness across a 16-qualifier season (not even counting the competitions themselves!) without falling into an over-trained state.
Whiteboard workouts in a group setting, or template style "competitor" programs may once have worked great for athletes with no other structured guidance and who may have needed additional programming developed for more than just the general population in a class. Periodizing the year for the general public just became a lot more challenging when trying to take into consideration the possibility of many athletes, doing many qualifiers and trying to manage how they accumulate, intensify, peak, deload and repeat for various points all throughout the training year. Those systems may still suit a vast range of people (who weren't really interested in competing anyway but simply followed the herd blindly into the open year after year) but good luck trying to squeak into the next level of competition without a coach, a proper plan to get you there, and the umbrella many athletes have used for years completing open workouts inside of affiliates and submitting "validated" scores without the accountability of weekly video submission for all of them.
If you find yourself in the minutia of athletes who currently feel lost, and like they are training without a purpose which once served as such an incredible driver in their competitive journey, know this... the WHY doesn't change for you, only the HOW! The rules of the game have changed, and the line has been drawn in the sand between who gets to really be an athlete and who doesn't anymore. Get a coach, or get left behind. Your move!