Competing in competitions is a great way to help you grow as a Crossfit athlete. Competition can push you to a new level of intensity and help you learn how to perform under pressure. But there are other benefits too, like building community and developing sportsmanship. It can also be scary and anxiety provoking but there’s good news! It doesn’t have to.
Taking some time to review and plan for the competition in the days leading up to it can significantly reduce anxiety and help the entire experience be a positive one. Here are five areas to consider and help you to prepare as well as possible:
- Goals and expectation
Take some time to consider the reasons you signed up for the competition? Was it because your friend signed up? Was it to see the guy with the chiseled abs? Or was it because of something more profound, like to challenge yourself or take your Crossfit in a new direction? Once you have established the why, the next step is to decide what you want to achieve during the competition. This is a good time to meet with your coach. They can help you develop clear and achievable goals and help you set realistic expectations. This will look different for each person, some athletes will need goals related to their mental game, and others will have physical or strategic goals. You may have a combination of both. Working with a coach can prevent us from setting unrealistically high or low expectation because they know your strengths and areas for improvement.
There is a reason professional athletes spend millions working on their mental game because it can make or break a performance. Spending a few minutes in the days before a competition visualizing yourself doing the workouts, is a good way to help you feel prepared. If there is a particular event or movement that you are concerned about, picture yourself doing it with perfect form or completing the performance you want to have. Visualizing yourself being calm and collected throughout the event will help reproduce theses feeling during the competition. When doing visualization, find a quiet place and begin with focusing on purposeful breathe. Once you are calm, begin your visualization. This will help creates a mind/body connection. During competition, taking a moment to focus on your breathing is a great way to help alleviate nerves. A great video to watch on breathing technique can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZzhk9jEkkI
Once you have an idea of what your goals and expectations are, it is time to come up with a plan. Here is a few ideas to help you decide how to attack the workouts:
- Look at the workout, is it an engine burner, test of strength or a grind? Does it play to your strengths? If not, how can you attack it with the greatest chances of success. Even if it is in your wheelhouse, decide how you want to break the workout up. Are there parts where you can ‘rest’ and slow your breathing. For example, if you are a ninja at double unders, you might use the time during this movement to catch your breath and re-group or you could plan your ‘rest’ during the transitions between movements.
- Review the movement standards before the competition. Is there something you struggle with? Discuss your concerns with a coach and develop a plan to of how to overcome your limitation. Often competitions have an athletes meeting before the start of a competition. This is where you can ask questions and gain clarification. If you are unsure of something, you are likely not the only one.
- Before your workout, introduce yourself to your judge and do a couple reps of each movement so they know how you move.
- Come prepared to the competition. The night before ensure your bag in properly packed with food, water, clothes, shoes, skipping rope, wrist wraps, lifting belt or anything you will need or want during the competition.
Keep an eye out for part 2 of ‘Preparing for Competition’.