For all of the athletes competing in this year’s CrossFit Open, this is the time where it is all about mental toughness.
It’s about persistence and determination. It’s about your ability to handle pressure and unknown challenges. Your ability to maintain focus and control, and overcome fear and negative emotional states.
How do you prepare yourself mentally for the workouts of this year’s Open?
You have trained your body to be prepared for this point, but what about your mind, have you trained that as well?
To be able to go through a workout the best way possible you need to prepare your brain for what to come. You can do that by thinking the workout through.
One aspect of strategizing your way through a workout is to break down the workout in reps, rounds, and techniques – the tactical and technical aspect. That’s important. But what is more important is to deal with all your ‘what if’s’.
So before facing the workout you need to think through your personal ‘what if’s’ – what if I fail something? What if I get no-repped? What if I lose my breath? What if I can’t find a rhythm?
What will I do? What’s my strategy?
Think all the worst-case scenarios through and make strategies for each one of them, so you know exactly what to do if they happen. When everything is thought through, you have prepared your mind for what to come. You will feel less pressure – and in effect, you will be able to perform better.
Basically it’s about dealing with all the aspects of every workout. Set strategies for every possible challenge. And I don’t mean just think about it a little bit. No – I mean, think it right through, every aspect!
Write it down, and take the time to prepare yourself mentally, just as much as you warm up your body physically before starting a workout.
Never underestimate the benefits of writing things down – it is a way of cognitively off-loading your brain. This will help you focus on the right things at the right time, because you are prepared. When we see, hear and do things, we prepare ourselves the best way possible. This is why, you should write your strategies down, visualize the workout, and say out loud to yourself, or others, what your are going to do.
So, always write your strategies down – bring them with you, read them over and over again until they are memorized in your head. That way, even when you are under severe physical pressure during the workout, you will remember your strategies. And when these are remembered, they are practiced!
Also, visualize the workout before hand – the night before, in the morning and just before the workout. Prepare you’re mind for what to come. Visualize yourself from an internal and external point of view – see the gym, the members, the noises, the judges, everything – repeat, repeat, repeat!
Last thing. No matter what happens:
Head up, stay strong. Fake a smile. Move on.
Narrow it down, and keep going.