Imagine yourself in this moment...
You are in a crowded arena, thousands of people around you, the noise is crushing and you can't make out a single coherent word.
Your senses are heightened to the point where it seems everything and anything is visible and at the same time totally a blur. You are focused. And you hear the announcer calling out the warning in a serious and structured voice; "Thirty Seconds Athletes"...
Breath is automatic, you seem to be floating. At once you pull yourself back in and reset your feet on the start mat and gaze to both sides of you. Like seething animals every one of the competitors eyes are fixed ahead. The race has yet to begin and yet everyone seems to be already going for it!
"Standby", the moment where later focus takes control. You can see your hand placement, your foot placement, you feel yourself already going. You heart slows as the world around you seems to come to a stand still and you hear the beep...
Perhaps you have had many moments like the one I am describing or perhaps that time has not yet come to you. This is the scene played out in competitions of all sorts, where your mind and body are put to the test among peers you desire the same things as you. Where all the training, the blood, the sweat, the heartache have hardened you for this exact moment.
Purpose drives our actions. When you have made your way to the pinnacle of the sport you love there has damn sure been a conversation inside your mind where you and your brain square off and hash out the truth, "How bad do you really want it?" Mental Control is the first step towards an unshakable mind as an athlete. You must be able to shut down the stress and adrenaline to remain clear and focused on the goals. Fear is a state that occurs when your mind wanders or is out of your control. The state of Fear itself is truly primal, stemming from our natural desire for self-preservation. It is only Gods, hero, and Warriors who can push past this to fully control the mind. Just as in physical training, Mental Control is Trained in increments. Experience and knowing yourself is the solution.
With Purpose and Goals set like distant landmark I have developed a way to actually see where I am going and exactly the moves I will make to get there; This is Mental Visualization. I like to think of this as a mental game where the cost of losing in your mind is an opportunity to win in real life. Imagine this. If I can run through an event in my mind focusing on my movements, my breathing and potential failures, then I will develop solutions prior to the test. This test phase was taught to me during my career as a Firefighter. The Fire Environment is probably the most dynamic place you could ever find yourself. Not only can shit go sideways in a fraction of a second but if you do not have the right tools, escape plan, manpower... you are flat out going to die.
Mental Visualization for the athlete is running the event in your mind and knowing all the tools (your body), knowing all the environment your are competing in, and knowing that potential for problems can come out of nowhere. Success in the Mental Game comes from not fearing but accepting and staying positive. Building off your Mental Control, you will have the confidence to visualize not only success but the power to change what you ay confront. CONTROL IS POWER in the athletes world.
Finally you must control the conversation, guiding it forward rather than backward. The conversation begins way back in your training when you first question your resolve. "How badly do I want it?" If you have never had this conversation I would highly recommend you penciling in some time for it in your life. In or out of competition, this question will surely guide you towards your truth in life.
Positivity will help charge you and motivate you. I have been completely broken with my head spinning and losing consciousness when all of a sudden a voice will arouse in my mind that helps me gather, compose and fight on. The CrossFit Games is funny like that. At least it is for me. Perhaps you have heard other athletes talk about going to the "dark place". This state is close to unconsciousness, when your physical body is literally running on autopilot as a way for you to mentally continue the deluge of physical exertion.
Through the darkness, you can develop an inner dialogue that will pull you back into the land of the living. You may have also heard "Your Mind will give up a Thousand Times before your Body will". This is a very true statement. A simple phrase that I have used for some time is "If you can take it, you can make it". Simple and rhythmic but highly effective, it can put me in a state of heightened consciousness where I am literally devoid of pain and just in Flow!
But you have to want to be here. The cyclical movement from Mental Control to Visualization and then to Positive Self Talk takes shape in front of you and then can disappear in a moment. Being an athlete is funny like this. Only warriors can relate. You must adapt and learn to love being inside yourself. Devoted to your goals and to who you are as a person. Finding your keys to these three principles takes time and dedication. They are uniquely human though and attainable by everyone. You just have to dig deep enough inside to face them.
Banded Hip Distraction
Banded Good Mornings
Banded Pull Aparts
Banded Pass Throughs
16 Min AMRAP
9 Push Press 115/75
15 Box Jumps 24/20