The Self-Defeating Athlete


The Self-Defeating Athlete


“It’s team WOD day at your box. Teams are being formed. Your team gets into a huddle to strategize, and then it happens. You hear the cringe-worthy phrase: “Glad you don’t mind having me on the team to slow you down.” Did your ass-cheeks just clamp down hard or what?

You Think or Say Self-Defeating Predictions.

When you make a Self-Defeating Prediction, here is what you’re actually saying: “Hey, I may not be really good at rowing, running, pull-ups, etc., so when I don’t do as well as the others, I at least warned you.” This is what your psychologist friend calls a thinking error or a cognitive disruption. It’s a protective statement that isn’t meant to be self-destructive but often ends up being just that. We often say them out of fear of being judged by others or becoming disappointed in our performance and judging ourselves.

If you have spoken or even thought a Self-Defeating Prediction, think about why you (and most people for that matter) come to CrossFit. Do you go to work on building a stronger, healthier and more capable version of yourself? Do you go for the people you support and who in return support you? I doubt you attend to punish yourself. CrossFit is a vast array of skills and movements.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and we all will not do well in a few areas. When that happens, it’s your chance to recognize and improve those areas, not to announce to others that you don’t expect to do well at them.

It doesn’t matter what the WOD is or who will finish first. What does matter is that you do your best in that moment, whatever it is you are doing. Your best effort — no matter how overweight you may be at present, no matter how unskilled you are, or what level of strength or speed you may have or lack — is what I want on my team and in my box. The best effort from a new or struggling athlete is far more impressive than the regular effort of a super-fit person.

So we can agree that the reason you and others are at the box is not to judge the abilities of others; rather, it is to do your best.

You also need to remember that your best is a sliding scale.

Your best will not always be high quality. It will change from time to time. Some days you wake up well-rested and give 100% of a freshly charged and energetic you. Other times you are in a bad mood or dealing with life’s problems. That’s understandable, and more than likely half the people at your class are dealing with something similar. Give the best effort that you can give right then, even if it is not what you are used to. “You don’t have to act like a 10 when you feel like a 2.” Whatever level you feel you are at that day, give your best effort at that level. If you always do your best, there is no way you can judge yourself. If you do that, I am honored to have you on my team, because that’s all I can do as well.” Continued…