Strong Crossfit Mindset

In the Zone: Build an Invincible Competitive Mindset

We all experience it from time to time, that feeling when you are storming through a WOD and are 100% focused on the task at hand. Or when you smash a new Snatch PR and you can’t even hear the voices around you: Welcome to the Zone!

6. LOSS OF SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS

Being in the zone can provide a distraction from everything else that is going on in your life. Perhaps paradoxically to other characteristics, a feeling of absolute control may occur with reports of being completely “lost in what just happened”, like an instinctive or robotic experience.

7. THE TRANSFORMATION OF TIME

The concept of time continually alters. In one way it appears to slow down, you aren’t in a rush to make decisions and feel you execute skills patiently, however a 15-minute AMRAP will appear to pass extremely quickly.

CrossFit Games 2019 Sprint men

Visualise.

© BOXROX

8. AUTOTELIC EXPERIENCE

An autotelic experience (2 greek words, Auto = Self; Telos = Goal) is one that its intrinsically rewarding, one that we choose to do for its own sake. It is the reason being in the zone is so sought after and perhaps the reason we all choose to participate in sport, or even anything in life.

ENTERING THE ZONE USING ‘CHALLENGE – ABILITY BALANCING’

This means that you have confidence in your own ability to succeed.

When you achieve this certain balance between the level of difficulty of the challenge you face, and your perceived ability to complete the challenge, you create conditions that make it favourable for you to enter the Zone.

challenge ability graph for athletes in the zone

This balancing act is the result of different factors, and if you understand how they work, you will be more likely to be able to enter the zone during your next WOD, lift or competition.

‘Irrational or counter-productive thinking occurs when there is an imbalance between the challenge you face, and personal confidence in your own ability’

IF AN ATHLETE’S PERCEIVED ABILITY EXCEDDS THE CHALLENGE A STATE OF BOREDOM WILL OCCUR

For example, performing 10 minutes of handstand practice against a wall, when you are perfectly capable of walking 100m or more, may lead to boredom.

IF THE CHALLENGE EXCEEDS THE ATHLETE’S PERCEIVED ABILITY IT WILL LEAD TO ANXIETY

Imagine how you would feel before trying A 12 minute AMRAP including Double Unders if you hadn’t even learned to skip at all, or a similar scenario where you were not confident with a certain exercise, it may lead to feelings of anxiety.

An athlete must balance the perceived skill or challenge to optimise the likelihood that they will enter the Zone.

Take a look at Thuridur Helgadottir in the zone during her Deadlifts.

WHAT TO DO IF BOREDOM OCCURS

If you find yourself in a state of boredom during training, don’t lower your perceived ability. Instead, use goal setting to narrow down what you want to get out of the session, why is this important in the long run? How will it help you to reach those end goals?

Be specific and increase the challenge to achieve a balance. If you aren’t pushing yourself enough then raise your game, deep down we all know if we could go harder or not, and whether we gave everything we had. WODs such as Heavy Fran have evolved for exactly this reason.

HOW TO COUNTER ANXIETY

If you find yourself anxious, use relaxation strategies prior to performance and positive self-talk or imagery during competition for reassurance. This will increase your perceived ability to meet the challenge, raise your confidence, and help you to rise to the occasion. If you know that you have trained properly and eaten well, then you have no reason to doubt your own ability to perform on the day.

UNDERSTANDING YOURSELF AS AN ATHLETE WILL HELP YOU TO ENTER THE ZONE WHEN YOU PERFORM

Take time to become aware of the occasions when you feel anxious or bored, and alter your thinking to get back into the zone. Why might you feel the way you do? Refocus on your end goal and concentrate on what you know you can do. Confidence born out of hard work and the completion of your training goals is unbeatable. Feel and be proud of your own athletic abilities.

This is a skill that requires practice as much as any physical skill. It will not only help improve performance long term, but will also ensure that you enjoy your training and competitions as well!

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