The CrossFit Open & Beyond: Mental Conditioning & Goal Setting

| By Kevin

Learn how to build an unstoppable mental attitude, set and achieve your goals and succeed in the Open.

Author: Emma/ PaulJanuary 04, 2017

The sport of fitness is evolving and the growth of the mental aspect of the sport is also changing. A time where mental toughness alone was enough to push you to the highest level has passed. We are becoming increasingly aware of the use of mental conditioning techniques, life and performances coaches in the sport.

“You can Train three things: Your mind, your body, your craft” Ben Bergeron

Ben Smith and Katrin Davidsdottir are excellent examples of athletes that have displayed signs of having an unstoppable mindset during competition. There are many examples we could use, but think back to the 2015 Games, and listen to the dialogue between Ben Smith and Matt Fraser.

Matt Fraser focused a great deal on Ben smith, whilst Ben focused on what he could control.

A great example of this in effect was during the pig workout. Throughout the weekend, his focus on ben had built momentum and so had his performance anxiety (Matt Fraser was being sick just before each workout). Ben confidently and strategically completed the Event and tackled the Pig with a cool head.

Matt struggled with the Pig, attempting to BICEP CURL it! This then resulted in him having no grip or energy left in the tank for the rope climbs! His mental toughness kicked in and he kept attempting, but that wasn’t enough and he did not complete the wod.

Matt Fraser repeatedly said he had never ‘failed like that before’, later asking Ben how he flipped the pig so effectively? Ben replied “I just told myself I was flipping a tractor tyre!”


MYTH 1 – Mental Strength Conditioning training takes too much time

We appreciate your time is already spread thinly between training and the rest of your life. The tools and techniques below can be incorporated into your physical training and done on a daily basis for 5-10 mins a day.

MYTH 2 – You’re born with a strong mindset

It’s easy to believe that a strong mindset is a characteristic that we either gifted with or do not have, and we cannot change this. That is a myth.

We are all born with certain physical and psychological predispositions, but mental skills are shaped through our experiences of everyday life. Being motivated, staying calm under pressure, or maintaining confidence in the face of adversity are skills that take time to develop.

here are mental conditioning skills and practices that great athletes have learned through experience or through MSC training.

MYTH 3 – Mental Strength Conditioning training provides a quick fix

We all recognise that physical skills take countless hours of practice to develop, but some people expect mental strength to happen much quicker.

A day before a competition is not the right time to work on your mental game. would you change your clean and jerk tekkers just before attempting a one rep max lift in a comp? NO, of course not. That’s because you realise that after countless hours of practice in training, you can automatically set up for your lift without a conscious thought.

Introducing a new way of performing an exercise a day before a comp like the Open can cause you to start thinking about how to perform the skill and this will disrupt your performance. The same is true for mental skills training. It takes time and effort and is NOT a magical quick fix.

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