Here’s why you shouldn’t manage your competition with a spreadsheet

Here's why spreadsheets are a painful alternative to a dedicated event management platform.

Woman frustrated at laptop

Using a spreadsheet for your competition might seem like the easiest (and quickest) way to organize your event. Unfortunately, those benefits don’t last long, and spreadsheets soon become a painful and time-consuming alternative to a dedicated event management platform. Here’s why:

Seeding and Re-Seeding 

Problem: Spreadsheets don’t allow you to quickly re-seed athletes in real-time.

Why this matters: Major events like the Rogue Invitational, CrossFit Games and Wodapalooza seed and re-seed athletes for every workout based on performance. Why? Because it guarantees that the best compete against the best, creating a more competitive and dynamic playing field across heats and workouts. Not only that, but it’s a lot more intriguing to watch athletes who are close in rankings go head-to-head.

If you use a spreadsheet, it’s nearly impossible to re-seed and re-assign heat and lane assignments across all your athletes, divisions and workouts accurately and in real-time. That’s why serious event organizers choose to use event management software: so they can make adjustments to seeding and heat assignments across their event with a click of a button.

Strongest Scheduling Kit Heat Sheet Generation

It’s all about timing

Problem: You need a lot of advanced formulas (or a lot of manual calculations) to accurately schedule with a spreadsheet.

Why this is a problem: The smallest difference between what you estimate for time and what actually happens can have big, compounding implications on your schedule. Maybe you estimated a transition time of 3 minutes between heats, but between equipment changes and trying to clear the floor of exhausted athletes, it’s taking closer to 4. How do you quickly adjust for this and reflect that change to all the other events that follow?

If you’re using a spreadsheet, you’ll need to change your formula, then copy and paste it across all your divisions and workouts. If you’re using something like the Scheduling Kit in the Strongest Competition platform though, all you need to do is change the transition time, press “OK”, and all your other workouts will be automatically adjusted.

Strongest Competition Platform Event Scheduler

Distribution and Communication

Problem: Spreadsheets are an extremely inefficient way to share accurate, real-time  information with different groups of people.

Why this matters: Athletes, spectators and your event operations team all need specific, relevant, accurate information in a timely manner. Each audience needs different information that is meaningful to them. More importantly, you need to be sure the information is correct. 

Having ONE single source of data to house all your complex event information is key to accuracy. Having options to distribute it from that one source with tailored views for different audiences is key to organization. 

To set this up in a spreadsheet, you’ll need multiple sheets, complex formatting and advanced calculations – and then you’ll need to figure out how to communicate and publish it easily. 

Competition management software like Strongest can streamline all of this for you, then help you distribute your most up-to-date information to all audiences in just a few clicks.

Strongest Competition Platform Heat Sheet Distribution Lists

Scoring input

Problem: There is high potential for scoring errors and inaccurate results when you use a spreadsheet.

Why this matters: This one is a pretty obvious one, but nothing good comes out of scoring errors. Wrong scores and placements casts doubt, erodes trust, and decreases morale. 

Unfortunately, too many event organizers are still manually inputting their scores into a spreadsheet. This leaves way too much room for errors like:

  • Mixing up athletes, heats and divisions
  • Overwriting of correct scores due to multiple access to the spreadsheet
  • Inaccurate placement calculations
  • No verification of scores
  • Having to re-publish on a separate leaderboard sheet

When you use a fitness competition scoring software like Strongest, only your Scoring Team will be able to input scores and edit the scoreboard. They’ll also be able to:

  • Populate the scoring sheet based on registration data
  • Enter scores based on heats schedules
  • See scores that have been modified in one glance
  • Preview the scoreboard before publishing 
Strongest Scoring Entry Platform

The Big Picture

Problem: You lose sight of key steps in the event creation process when you use a spreadsheet.

Why this matters: There is a lot to think about when it comes to your event. So far, we’ve talked mostly about scoring, schedules, and communication – but what about registration fees,  spectator tickets, merchandise, sponsors, or refunds?

While spreadsheets can be helpful with one or two parts of your event, they don’t help bring together the event into one experience.

Software like Strongest, which is made for fitness competitions and events, provide event organizers with a color-by-number process. It’s an expert-level event organization workflow that’s easy, even for beginners – and will make sure your event is nothing but epic.

Get started now and launch a world-class event in minutes.

Strongest Compete Fitness Competition Dashboard


A spreadsheet might feel like the most familiar and fastest way to organize your functional fitness competition, but in the end it will cost you more time. There are a lot of nuances that will come up when you’re running your functional fitness competition; make sure you’re ready for them by choosing software that was made for fitness event management.