Mind Games

July 5, 2014

One frequent question I get asked is about my mental game. I have to start by saying I haven’t always had a strong mental game. As a kid in recreational gymnastics and softball I did well in practice, but choked at game/competition time. As a kid I was very concerned with impressing others and not letting people down. I feared disappointing my coaches, my parents, my teammates.

Fast forward twenty years to the 2009 Regional Qualifier. It was my first crossfit competition and I was incredibly nervous. I called Josh, a friend from the gym who’s an MMA fighter, before my first event and he told me, “Look around at the scenery, take a breath, and just go do what you do.” I have used his advice ever since. This isn’t to say I don’t get nervous. In fact I get nervous before some training sessions in my own backyard.

As we all know, different things work for different people. Some people go in ├╝ber confident, others with headphones, some go with a goal of beating someone else. Here’s what works for me: if I know the wod ahead of time I visualize myself doing all the reps and tasks calmly, smoothly – calm is smooth, smooth is fast. Then I put my proverbial blinders on. I have a plan, and I stick to the plan. I try not to worry about what warm up any other competitor is doing. I run my own race and keep to my pacing plan. Basically, it’s taken me 30 years to learn what works for me and now I just have to respect it.

So, this year at Regionals, I stuck to the plan. Visualize, put on the blinders, and looked around at the scenery. This time there were beautiful palm trees for me to focus on. I looked at them, took a deep breathe, told myself I am on vacation and get to do a workout. I also had the wonderful words of Nichole Dehart who reminded me that life only has a handful of these special moments and to hold onto and enjoy them.

I can only control one thing in my life, and that is me. I get to do what I do and since I am lucky enough to have the support of family, friends, coaches, and now sponsors, I honor myself and them by going out and being the best me I can be. My goal is to walk away from each workout, event, competition knowing I gave it my very best. Full effort is full victory.

Original rope climb photo by CrossFit Media