Competing can be one the most scary yet exhilarating experiences. Whether you are winning or losing, the adrenaline mirrors the high that drug users experience. If you want your high then compete! There is no better way to feel accomplished than throwing 110% of your heart on to the floor.
I’ve done many local Crossfit competitions and a few Olympic Lifting competitions now and feel like I can share with you the process of what it takes to physically and mentally prepare yourself to perform at your maximal potential.
I’m to assume that people register for competitions knowing that it is at least one month away. It’s good to give yourself time to work on your weaknesses. One of my major weaknesses in Crossfit are wall balls. I’m only 5’0 tall and the target I have to hit is at ten feet. I am technically doing a jumping air squat with a 14lb medicine ball which creates a lot more output energy than someone who just has to not do a jumping air squat. Spend at least 15 minutes every day if not, every other day working on that movement. You don’t need to spend hours on it every day, as you only defeat the process of increasing muscle memory and strength. You can do an EMOM (every minute on the minute) or E2MOM (Every 2 minute on the minute), you get the idea to gain more practice in the movement.
For Olympic Lifting my major weakness is my mental game. I’ve hit my lifts so many times in training but tend to miss them on the platform. Just before I’m about to walk onto the platform to perform my lift, my palms are sweaty, I’m shaking and my heart feels like its beating a million times a minute. It is really bad for me. I’ve always had a fear of public speaking or being in large groups, and performing on stage. I posted a Youtube video of me at an Olympic Lifting competition from a few weeks ago above. I was so nervous before that lift that my coach had to take me outside and calm me down. He did not tell me how much I was going to lift. It helped! Further explaination as to my coach not revealing my lifting numbers is mentioned below.
To tackle this issue, mental preparation before and during competition is a must. There will always be politics, drama, people asking you questions, people trying to start conversations with you before you’re about to hit the floor. I strongly suggest to avoid that. Take your foam roller, put your headphones on, and focus on the movements you are about to do. When picturing yourself performing the lifts/movements that cause anxiousness and or anxiety, practice controlling your breathing and focus on the movement. If you keep doing this over time the anxiety will decrease or completely cease.
My coach is currently giving me my weeks worth of programming without the numbers. When I see bigger numbers that I am supposed to lift I tend to get worked up in my head and miss those lifts. I’m enjoying this. This also shows that my coach understands my biggest weakness and is devoted to working on them. Another important factor to prepping for ‘game day’ is nutrition. It is extremely important to have your body fueled for game day. Here is a link from ‘Boxlife’ detailing the importance of nutrition before competitions. http://boxlifemagazine.com/carb-loading-what-is-it-and-should-you-do-it-before-your-next-competition/
What I’m saying is yes, work on your physical weaknesses, but you are not going to all of a sudden become a master at what you “suck” at before a competition. To compensate for that, start thinking and picturing yourself performing movements beautifully. Guaranteed you will surprise yourself and do better than you thought you would have.