Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
15 Power Snatches 75/55
On Ramp Graduation Wod
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
15 Kettlebell Swings 55/35
15 Box Jumps with Step Down
Some Extra Stuff below
Get Mental for the Opens Part 1 by Robin Lyons
In slow motion my eyes close and then re-open back onto the barbell. There are 60sec left in the 12 min workout; I’m breathing rapidly, my thighs are burning and something inside is telling me to slow down….“rest, you can’t go yet”…. and in that split second I have a choice to either give in to that voice or trust my training. Without hesitation I notice the mental breakdown and fight back with positive self-talk and cues that laser me back into the zone: “let’s go”, “you train to be in this moment” “you can do it”. I grab the barbell, chalk and sweat fall below me and I finish knowing I gave it everything I had. This fight is what I love in our sport, and over the years as a competitive athlete I have come to understand the important role of mental preparation in my success and failures. In high-level performance sports our ability to focus rules for better or worse.
As a coach I’ve witnessed athletes falling short of their best because their focus shifted during a performance. They were distracted internally, externally or both, and they were unable to pull themselves back on task. The most important goal an athlete can set for his or herself is to keep their focus centered on what connects them to performing their best. It is inevitable over the next five weeks that SOMETHING will not go as planned; there could be equipment failures, missed attempts, not feeling 100% the day you compete – I can go on and on…. In our sport the mind-fucks are endless. I would like to address a very important skill that seems to be the least practiced amongst competitive athletes: Focus.
Focus in sport can be defined as the ability to sustain effective and consistent attention on the task at hand regardless of internal and external distractions. As an athlete I’ve developed ways to improve my mind control before, during and after a competition. When performing at a high level it really comes down to the mental side of things to get you on a podium or bring you to a personal best. Don’t just take my word for it, research by Gould, Eklund and Jackson have found that competition plans as well as sticking to one’s routine are key separators between Olympic Games medalists and non-medalists. Athletes who medaled had competition plans firmly in their minds and were not spontaneous or doubting of their strategies. Additionally, the researchers found medalists had very systematic pre-competition performance routines they consistently adhered to throughout their Olympic experience. On the other hand, many non-medalists reported having spontaneous competition plans and regularly deviating from their pre-competition routines.
believe every athlete who gives a shit about his or her performance should practice, develop and implement a mental plan before, during and after a competition. Mental plans are not going improve your technical pieces or conditioning, but they will allow you to draw the most from your current conditioning to become resilient when it counts and fulfilled when its over.
So, now you know the importance of having a mental plan. Tomorrow we’ll get more specific on exactly what that entails and how to create one for yourself.
Get Mental for the Opens Part 2
by Robin Lyons, C.S.C.S.
Creating focusing and refocusing strategies is a highly individualized process. You should have some awareness from past performances of what helps you focus and what doesn’t. That being said, I will share principles around setting the platform for “good focus”, and you will need to play with what ultimately works best for you. Your overall competition focus plan should be grounding and consistent: a go to action or feeling that you can replicate over and over.
My competition focus plan has 3 basic phases of mental preparation:
1. Pre competition
2. During competition focus/refocus
3. Post competition
Pre-Competition Focus Plan
Pre competition Focus plans should…
• Solidify your confidence and feeling of preparedness
• Avoid intrusion of negative thoughts that raise your level of worry and lower confidence
• Find the appropriate activation level for the task at hand; a desirable feeling or state of mind
If you find yourself unable to be positive before the workout, reflect on what that is and where it’s coming from. Most likely you are focusing on external matters that have no relation to what you’re trying to accomplish. Don’t waste energy worrying about other competitors and their scores, or about what other people think…. Focus on YOU and being in the moment. Creating the right pre-event feeling will increase the consistency of high-level performance.
Right before your event begins an optimal activation state is needed to solidify your focus and can give you confidence out of the gate. This takes a knowing of thy self and what has worked in the past. For example, in workouts that are more to your strengths, activation levels can be high and aggressive right before the start. In workouts that require more skill, a lower activation level might help you stay calm and confident in order to execute to your potential. It’s important to know what can best set your mind right before you start. If you don’t have awareness around how to get yourself in the right mindset, start to play with your pre-start focus in training.
High Activation thoughts
“ Lets Go!” or “Come ON!”
“ Strong, Powerful,”
” Your Ready!”
Lower Activation thoughts
” You’re prepared…(followed by ONE important technical cue; “HIPS”, ” PULL” “SMOOTH”…etc….)
” You’re in Control”
” Breath” or “Flow with it”
You should be able to sense the difference in feeling of how the above cues target a certain response. Find what fires you up or calms you down and use it to your advantage.
2a. During the Competition Focus Plan
Maintaining a feeling of control, speed and flow throughout your event is what your competition focus plan should do for you. Focus on executing each rep, breathing and staying positive. A great way to keep your focus throughout the workout is to break it up into small parts. For example:
Part 1: At the start, begin at an 80% effort and think “rhythm, loose, strong and powerful”
Part 2: First 3-5 minutes of the workout as breathing rate increases, think: “maintain pace, relax, form and breathe”
Part 3: Middle of workout: “Keep going, feeling good, don’t let up, rhythm/flow”
Part 4: Approaching the end of workout. At the reaching point, think ” keep breathing hard, you can handle it, push beyond pain, inward focus”
Part 5: End of Workout, Think, “Finish it off, Push it, Power, Strong, GO-GO, DO IT,”
Depending on the workout the number of parts could vary so stay with a mental competition plan that you would feel good about and use it. This kind of plan helps you focus on the doing and on you.
Remember in our sport there are lots of opportunities to test our limits and ourselves. Within your competition plan you should be psychologically preparing for those opportunities to go beyond what your think is possible. I call that an “ Extending Limits Plan” – where focus meets will! Use Activation cues such as “Lets Go!” “Kill it!” “Do it NOW!” “Push, Push” “I CAN” or what ever frees you to go beyond your pre-conceived limit. This can be the difference between feeling fulfilled by your effort after the competition or feeling like you gave up. Be prepared to battle!
2b. Refocus During Competition Plan
Losing focus during an event happens to every athlete, but the athlete that can get back on track quickest usually ends up with a successful performance. Recognizing what pulls us out of our focus is first and foremost. What do you worry about? What are some unplanned hassles that could occur? You should have answers for those worries or concerns before you go into the competition or event, so if they arise you can quickly replace them with positive self-talk. Most likely if you lose focus during the event it’s because you are not staying in the moment…get your focus back to YOU and the doing!
3. Refocusing After the Competition
In a 5-week race to the top 50 in The Opens, it is essential to refocus after each event and reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly. After each workout take 20 minutes to reflect on what went well, what didn’t go well and what you can improve upon. In performances that might have missed the mark, acknowledge that you cannot change what happened or the result, use it as a learning experience, and move on to the present and act upon what you can control.
If you prepared hard and well this year then prepare to enter each opportunity with thoughts, feelings and beliefs that are on your side. Freeing yourself from any negative or self-defeating thoughts will allow you to focus on a performance you will feel good about. I hope some of these strategies will help you this season! Good luck and FOCUS ON THE DOING!