The essence of CrossFit lies in the relentless pursuit of enhancing performance through a blend of diverse functional movements, all executed at a heightened level of intensity. This dynamic approach forms the bedrock of every trial witnessed in the unfolding stages of the CrossFit Games season, mirroring the very essence of your daily WOD.
Any CrossFit athlete knows, however, that the ultimate peak of competition in the CF community is in fact the CrossFit Open — possibly the most thrilling and ambitious worldwide (and online) event that takes place every year. It tests the courage of athletes, pushing them to their limits and challenging them in many different aspects.
But it’s not just about sweat and strength, for physical strength is but only one aspect and half the battle—mental resilience is the other and equally vital component, if not more. The Open is as much a mental test as it is a physical one, and so crafting an approach that allows you to stay calm a midst the chaos and excitement can be a game-changer for your performance.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some effective (yet seemingly obvious but still often overlooked) strategies to help you and your mind to ‘keep your cool’ and enhance your chance of success come comp time.
1. Preparation Breeds Confidence
It’s simple, having confidence in your own abilities significantly reduces anxiety, and so the absolute foundation of staying calm starts with thorough preparation. Train consistently during the weeks leading up to the Open, and spend time focusing on key movements and workouts which are likely to appear. If you’re not sure what these are, take a look at what featured in previous years, or ask someone who may have more experience. When you’ve put in the necessary time and effort, especially on that which make you nervous, you will hopefully learn to trust yourself enough to tackle any challenge ahead.
2. Develop a Ritualistic Warm-Up Routine
Establishing a ‘pre-competition’ routine can also be immensely calming. Create a warm-up routine that caters for both the body and mind. This could include dynamic stretches, mobility exercises, and other mental preparation techniques, such as visualization or breath-work. Having a familiar routine not only provides a sense of comfort and confidence, but also sends specific signals to your brain when it’s time to focus, furthermore calming nerves and enhancing your overall readiness. Click here to to read what Coach Hannes recommends to be the most ideal way to warm-up before any workout.
3. Set Realistic Goals
While ambition is always commendable, setting unrealistic goals may lead to unnecessary stress and possible disappointment. Instead, define achievable targets based on your current fitness level and capabilities, and stay focused on these more manageable and individualized tasks, with an emphasis on ‘INDIVIDUAL’. It’s important to remember that the CrossFit Open isn’t only about competition; it’s also a journey of self-discovery, ergo your number one competitor should be yourself. This kind of approach allows you to celebrate even the smaller victories, reinforcing a positive mindset.
4. Mindful Breathing Techniques
The power of breath should never be underestimated. Incorporate mindful breathing techniques into your warm-up and during breaks between workouts. Deep, controlled breaths can help regulate your heart rate, reduce stress, and keep you centered a midst the excitement of competition. If you’re at a total loss with regards to what to actually do, reach out to one of your coaches for some advice or click here to read about some help techniques.
5. Focus on the Process, Not the Outcome
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when fixating on the leader-board or the final result. Instead, concentrate on the process of each workout, and each individual task or exercise at hand. Break it down into manageable segments and stay present in each moment. This approach not only eases anxiety but also enhances your overall performance.
6. Embrace the Unknown
CrossFit is notorious for its unpredictability. Rather than fearing the unknown, embrace it. Cultivate a mindset that views surprises as opportunities to showcase your adaptability and resilience. This mental shift can transform anxiety into excitement.
7. Positive Self-Talk
Your inner dialogue has a profound impact on your mental state. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Remind yourself of your capabilities and the hard work you’ve invested. Positive self-talk builds confidence and can actually serve as a powerful tool for staying calm under pressure. Click here to be inspired by some affirmations that will help you to embrace athletic success.
In the thrilling journey of the CrossFit Open, maintaining composure is a skill that can set you apart from the rest, and ultimately be your key to success. With a foundation of self-awareness, a road-map of goals, a diversified training regimen, mental fortitude, and positively affirming yourself, you’ll be primed to conquer the Open. But remember, staying calm isn’t just about surviving the Open; it’s about thriving and achieving your personal best. So embrace the challenge, learn from every setback, and celebrate every triumph.
Good luck, and may the calmness be with you!
For more information about the CrossFit Open 2024, click here to read what Coach Marnus has to share regarding The What, The How and The Why!