“Ugh I should be able to lift this! My form is off. I could have done more! This cold is limiting me.”-types of phrases spoken by athletes
As Athletes we are always striving for improvement. We want to perform well. We’re constantly looking for ways to make our movement more efficient and precise. However, in our quest for excellence we often overlook our successes, especially when we compare ourselves to others, a previous self, or a perfect self we have yet to obtain. My goal with this post is to give you some tools to combat the negative paradigms that inevitably plague us all. Below are 3 mental strategies to employ in order to:
1) optimize your physical performance
2) develop a more positive and resilient mental approach to training.
Oftentimes as athletes we KNOW the workout or competition is going to be difficult and so we start naming all of the things we cannot control in order to make the potential struggle or prospect of failure more bearable.
While these thoughts are true and valid (and should be voiced to coaches), these are not the types of things you need to be spending your valuable energy on as you look at the workout. Instead, once you’ve identified some of the struggles you may encounter, develop a strategy for how you can tackle the WOD/competition, knowing what you know about your physical and mental abilities of that day. This way you can take control of how you respond to the things you cannot control. Below are some example responses to the voiced concerns above.
|Original||Changed With Strategy in Mind|
|“It’s hot outside” ||“it’s hot outside so i’m going to make sure to drink extra water and keep track of my heart rate”|
|“Ugh I have a cold so I know I’m going to suck” ||“I have a cold so instead of focusing on intensity, I’m going to focus on technique”|
|“My elbow is cranky so I don’t think I will finish fast enough” ||My elbow is cranky so I’m going to split up/ reduce the reps and/or change the movement to keep it challenging but safe”|
|“I’m just not made to do pull-ups”||I struggle with pull-ups so I’m going to find a challenging yet doable version for the WOD. Maybe I will ask coach what the next progression for me might be. |
|“I’m not mobile enough to squat snatch”||It’s difficult for me to get full-depth on the snatch, so maybe for the WOD I will work on my strength with a power snatch, and then at home challenge myself to do more mobility.|
Below are three different types of ways you can positively coach yourself:
Oftentimes the first words athletes express after a workout are negative. If you are occupying your mental bandwidth during the workout with all of the things you could be doing better, you are not occupying your mind with the task at hand, or with feeling the ways in which you are moving well. The problem with this are twofold:
Instead, my challenge to you is to think of one thing that you did well during a workout as soon as you finish it. Consider putting this into Wodify. Only after your heart rate has begun to slow down, begin the process of brainstorming how you can work on yourself for the next WOD.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to incorporate these tips into your athletic endeavors, or would just like someone to bounce ideas off of, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, crush it!
CF L-2, USAW l-1, NSCA-CPT