At CrossFit Vancouver we were spoiled. 7000sqft of space to play in! There was a lot of room to spread out. Moving to Dunbar Street I had some serious misgivings about our much smaller space. And a space-intensive WOD like today’s really highlights the logistical challenges of operating in a small space.
But there are some unexpected benefits as well. Because of our size we had to impose class attendance caps. Not ideal for business but excellent for coaching. An 8:1 athlete to coach ratio ensures much better individual attention than a 20:1 class size so our members certainly get value from that. It is also much easier to watch a 1200sqft space than see everything happening in a larger space so as coaches we miss less. Small = Quality.
In Judo I discovered another surprising advantage of small. In Canada dojos tend to be large and class sizes small so Canadian Judoka rely on large movements to set up throws. In Japan dojos are small and classes are large. As a result Japanese Judoka have to learn how to fight in a phone booth, setting up techniques with the smallest of movements. Theirs by necessity is a very subtle and effective style of Judo and it wins competitions. In our small space we haven’t a lot of room for big errors and tossing weights carelessly around. Our athletes have learned how to control their movements because they have to. Small = Precision.
Watching today’s morning classes navigate our small space and share equipment with one another I realized one more unexpected benefit of our small size: Community. We have a very tight knit group of people who are very good at working cooperatively and supporting one another. Would we be so close if we had more space to spread out? Small = Community.