by TJ MURPHY
Although a true CrossFit workout has within it a dimension of competition — either competing against others at your affiliate or against yourself — the Open is a different animal and the regular pattern of training is spiked with the adrenaline rush that comes with a new stimulus. In this case, the “stimulus” is a worldwide competition composed of five different workouts.
Athletes will, of course, approach the Open differently. For some, the goal is blindingly stark: qualify for Regionals. Others may have the goal of simply wanting to make a contribution to the team effort of the gym.
For many, though, the goal is not so certain. Perhaps it is just to be a part of the CrossFit culture’s virtual get-together. Or, in the spirit of CrossFit’s “constantly varied” principle, the Open is an opportunity to changes things up. Or perhaps signing up for the Open was an act of caving into the pressure of peers or coaches at the box.
The Open: An Opportunity for Reflection
Regardless of the reason an athlete has signed up, Steven Ledbetter, a former strength and conditioning coach who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in sports psychology at the John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, Calif. and interning at San Francisco CrossFit, believes the Open offers an opportunity that CrossFitters should not pass by.
“Reflection is one of the most important sports psychology tools you can use,” Ledbetter says. “There’s always something great you can learn from a workout to improve.”
Reflective practice is a core technique used in the application of sports psychology toward improving performance. Ledbetter advises participating CrossFitters to plan on taking time after each of the five workouts to analyze the performance in a positive way.
“Take the time to reflect on each workout that you with these two questions:
- What did I do well?
- What did I learn?”
The idea, says Ledbetter, is to get a fresh grasp on where you stand right now as a CrossFit athlete and to generate an awareness of what mistakes you made, what you did right and what new element or elements that you learned from the workout. By assimilating the experience with an accurate appraisal from a positive spirit, the athlete will learn more and potentially accelerate improvement, as well as harvest an opportunity to strengthen one’s confidence — a quality that can lead to further motivation to work hard.