open athlete workout
Source: Ryan Edy

Take Control Now – 3 Tips to Help You Succeed in the CrossFit Open 2017

Mental strength and psychological training is hugely beneficial for keeping you focused on the workout at hand and building self belief and confidence. Make sure your mental game is on point for this year's Open.

Reflect back to summer 2016. The Open was a mere fairy tale a million miles away but you were feeling strong. You were telling yourself how you would be going all in for 2017! Now 2017 is here and the Open is on the Horizon.


It is 5 workouts over 5 weeks which equates to roughly 2.5 hours (based on 5 30min wods) of judged physical action (more if you repeat workouts). It can consume Athletes for this period, and not always in a positive way mentally or physically. Ok, so not everyone will be feeling the Open fear or feeling nervous, but for those who have high expectations or pressure being put upon them could mentally talk themselves down or burn out before the competition even begins.

“The 11th Competent of CrossFit is Mental” –Rich Froning

crossfit open 2017 athlete jerk

Stay focused

© Ryan Edy

If you had read the first Article in this series – The CrossFit Open & Beyond: Mental Conditioning & Goal Setting – you will have the Goals set and the understanding the mind is a muscle that must be trained.


You’ve gotta set goals and achieve them to become the best athlete you can be right?

Goal setting is an absolutely indispensable part of the sports training process. Proper goal setting enables you to get real with yourself and your expectations. Goal setting alone is a tool for motivation It can build confidence and self-trust, which are important skills for when you are training and competing. By setting goals it can keep you both grounded and focused at the same time. This is one hell of a combo for enhancing your dedication to training and competition.

But even with our Goals in place we can still find ourselves putting our focus and energy into ‘Uncontrollables’.

These are elements and events that can zap the energy, passion and motivation right out of you. Just by changing your focus and working towards your daily goals makes a massive difference both physically and mentally.

We have put together a Diagram highlighting the most common uncontrollable that have cropped up. Check it out and see where your focus and energy currently resides.

Crossfit open 2017

Stay in your lane

© Emma Hackett

With the CrossFit Open 2017 starting on feb 23, now is a great time to analyse your own mental game. There is still plenty of time to apply mental techniques alongside your physical training. The good news is that for every Uncontrollable there is a Controllable that can be used to counter any negative effects. Below are 3 controllable elements.


  • Make sure sleep is a part of your regular training schedule if it isn’t already.
  • Sufficient sleep is hugely important to athletic performance so find a routine that works and try to make regular sleep a priority.
  • Valerian root is a good natural herb that helps people sleep.
  • There are also various digital tools and sleep monitoring apps to assist if you have trouble sleeping.
  • Try drinking less caffeine or reduce it completely from your diet. If this is a problem, use 15:00 as a cut off point.


You may be following a specific program but are you staying in your lane with it? Programming is a controllable of your training. Therefore it’s important to stick to the plan, trust the process and the coach.

Crossfit athlete during workout

Focus on what you can and cannot control

© Ryan Edy

Watching what others around you are doing outside of your lane (social media, conversations with other athletes etc) and allowing that to influence your programming could be a conscious decision that may hinder your physical goal.


For example, say you have a bad shoulder and have been advised not to do any bar work. You should stick with the program and your coaches advice. Your conscious on the other hand tells you to try that workout with bar muscle ups that you just watched on youtube (through fear of not doing enough, and thinking that others are getting stronger than you based on what you’ve seen on social media). This could set you back in training and preparation or even cause more injuries.

You can’t control how others train, but you can control how you let it affect you. Staying focused and trust your own process, it will be much more beneficial long term.


Most people wouldn’t think that trust can be a mental tool Because it isn’t something you actually perform, unlike meditation, visualization or routine.

Trust involves having confidence in the basic belief that you have prepared yourself well enough to achieve your goals, and your body will do what you have trained it to do when it counts. It also includes a fundamental faith that if you give your best effort and trust the process, then good things will happen. Trust enables you to approach competitions with confidence, commitment and courage without fear, worry or doubt.

  • Having a go to word pre-comp and during a workout is a great way to instill trust in yourself: “Why not me?”, “Lets Go”, “We’ve got this”
  • Training is a great way to apply rituals that will instil trust mentally and physically
  • Acknowledging your progress and reminding yourself its progress not perfection
  • Taking the small wins every training session

Take time out to remember why you do your sport and why it is your passion.

The Open is something amazing to be a part of and for most it’s about community, having fun and participating. For the elite, it is this and much more, but the truth is all levels benefit from physical and mental training and everyone benefits from participating in the test of fitness that is the Crossfit Open.