By Alan Shaw, Co-Founder and Head Coach of Rhapsody Fitness in Charleston, SC
I love the word “train” because it is nearly synonymous with “teach.” When you train, you are taking a progressive approach to educating yourself and enhancing your performance from skills and drills to mindset and strategy.
Training is what we do 90% of the time at Rhapsody. When you come to a class, it’s common to see many of our athletes doing higher skill movements, such as muscle-ups and handstand walks – this isn’t a fluke, but a direct result of our dedication to coaching and practicing skills every single day.
That leaves us all of 10% for competition. Competing is when you culminate those weeks of patient, intentional, and consistent training and, in the moment, put it all to the test in a competitive arena. You may compete against your fellow athletes at an event or compete with yourself to beat a previous record, either way, this arena is the exception, not the rule.
EMBRACE THE 90%
Tom Brady, Amanda Nunes, LeBron James and Naomi Osaka aren’t star athletes simply because of how they show up on game day. They’re the best of the best because of the extraordinary effort they each invest in drilling, studying, training and being coached.
Although experience in competition is an important ingredient on game day, greatness will only come after extensive training.
Think of yourself as a tree. Training is the vertical growth of your tree trunk – your time, energy and efforts here are all about building that solid, sturdy base that will hold you steady when you branch out to challenge yourself.
If the trunk is weak, its branches are twigs and will snap under pressure.
This analogy always makes me think back to when I visited CrossFit New England and watched decorated CrossFit Games Athlete Katrin Davidsdottir prepare for a workout with kettlebell swings – her warm up covered each and every point of performance and progression for this movement. The elite among elites, Katrin drilled skills like it was her first time touching a kettlebell, and, to this day, this moment reminds me that the basics matter regardless of your experience level or athletic accomplishments.
BREAK THE CYCLE
I love logging my scores and the community camaraderie on apps like SugarWOD. Tracking data on your performance and benchmarks is a good thing – it’s a great tool for observing, improving and (re)testing yourself. But, and I say this with love, if your day is consumed with checking the leaderboard and approaching your workout based on another athlete’s scores, you’ve missed the point and lost the day.
Feeling attacked? Don’t. Getting stuck in a continuous competitive mindset happens to the best of us. The trick is to recognize it and, frankly, check it at the door when it’s time to train. If you feel like you’re stuck in the competitive cycle, ask yourself where this pressure and anxiety is coming from – insecurity, ego and unworthiness are frequent offenders here.
Instead, try asking yourself what you need right now? What is going to help you become a better athlete? A better person?
Take a deep breath, step back and choose to focus on yourself. Instead of evaluating your performance by where you land on the leaderboard, base it on whether your work today made you better than you were yesterday and is arming you to be your best tomorrow. Much like the skills we train, practice this mindset with each workout out until it becomes muscle memory.
I believe you can break the cycle, put those blinders on and run your race. Scores be damned.
To learn more about how Rhapsody Fitness can help you train to be your best or break the competitive cycle, get in touch with Team Rhapsody today.