Sports Psychologist on the "Open":
The Open is upon us! That being said, I realize that many of my clients and CrossFit peers experience stress as they approach a competition-setting like this one. It is important to understand your mental approach to the Open, as it will help to eliminate the stress and nervousness you may experience.
The first thing to take into consideration is why you are choosing to participate in the Open. Are you trying to solidify a spot in your region? Are you trying to better your performances from last season? Or are you merely trying to gauge how much improvement you have made since you began your CrossFit journey? It is critical to identify your purpose as you embark on this year’s Open. Many areas of stress are stemmed from our lack of awareness of our purpose. If we understand what we are ultimately trying to gain as a result of participating in the Open, our goals and expectations can be clearly defined. Having this understanding will allow you to evaluate your performance relative to those clear goals and expectations. If you are truly trying to make the Regionals, your goals and expectations are very different from those are trying to seek improvement from past seasons and vice versa. This is a personal journey! Each participant will have different goals and expectations that are relative to their purpose and ultimately, their skill level. Try not to compare yourself to others until you recognize what is your purpose and who may be in alignment with your goals and expectations. So before you continue any further, take a second to think about and write down your purpose is for participating in this year’s Open.
Next, as mentioned above, peer comparison is a natural fact of CrossFit. With tangible numbers to use to compare yourself to others, it is easy to look at someone else’s score and either feel great about yourself or feel less accomplished. However, once again, you do not know everything about each competitor’s CrossFit journey. You cannot control how the other competitors will prepare themselves or actually perform. The more you worry about these things you cannot control, the more you are causing yourself unnecessary stress and are wasting mental and physical energy. Instead of focusing on comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to the one person that you know the most about: yourself! Once again, having clear goals set out for each workout of the Open, will help you evaluate your score against your past performances. If this is your first Open then this should act as a baseline as you move forward in your journey. There is no comparison to past results, so it is important to be proud of your results no matter the score, since this is your first opportunity to truly test yourself in a CrossFit-sanctioned event. Even if there may be movements that are not within your strengths, focusing on doing your best and learning from each challenge will help you grow as an athlete. If you have participated in the Open in the past, then you can compare yourself to past seasons. Make sure to focus on what you did well, as well as areas that you can improve on as you move from week to week. A great evaluation question to ask yourself is, “What did I learn today that can help me as I move forward?” Perhaps it is specific details surrounding your pre-performance routine or even how to handle challenges and setbacks that occurred during the workout. Whatever it may be, do your best to remain positive, as this will directly impact your attitude and motivation as you move through the Open.
This is a great starting point for your understanding your mental approach to the Open. My final point would be to allow yourself to enjoy this experience. Stress occurs when we are not enjoying ourselves. Remember that this is something that you chose to sign up for. Since it is a choice, remind yourself that this is for your enjoyment. You will shape your experience through your thoughts and attitude. Since this is something that you signed up for, do your best to stand grounded in the fact that this is something that you should enjoy. Good luck!
Bio: Adam Saucedo, M.A., is a Mental Training Consultant working in Northern California. Since receiving his Master’s degree in Sport Psychology, he has gained a great deal of experience working with athletes and exercisers at all levels and competition settings. He currently works with multiple athletic programs at his alma mater, Santa Clara University. In addition, his consulting practice includes working with CrossFit students and athletes. He has been fortunate to work with CrossFit Games athletes and Northern California Regional competitors and teams. He has worked closely with several top-level competitors preparing them for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 CrossFit Games. He is currently working with multiple competitors to prepare them for the 2014 season. He still has availability for individual and team Mental Training consultation for this season. If you have any questions or comments, please direct them to: SaucedoSportPsych@gmail.com. His website has additional information, www.saucedosportpsych.com, along with his Twitter & Instagram: @AdamSportPsych.
A. Strict press 5x5
B. EMOM x7
5-10 Pull Ups
C. 12 AMRAP
5 Power Cleans
10 Toes to Bar
A. EMOM x10
Power Clean & Jerk double w 2s Pause @ knee
B. EMOM x7
C. 12 AMRAP
5 Power Cleans
10 Toes to Bar