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A Look into Mental Performance Training: Part 1 by Dawn Fletcher and Miranda Oldroyd - CrossFit Journal

A Look into Mental Performance Training: Part 1

By Dawn Fletcher and Miranda Oldroyd

In Athletes, CrossFit, Videos

August 20, 2011

Video Article

CrossFit is “largely more mental than it is physical,” says HQ Seminar Staff member Miranda Oldroyd. “Yeah, I’m doing stuff that I never would have imagined I could do physically, but I’m a different person mentally than I was three years ago.”

Sports psychologist Dawn Fletcher says she’s trying to combine aspects of physical fitness with the mental skills needed for success in CrossFit. She takes Oldroyd through a mental performance exercise.

“You’re trying to become as aware as you can of your thoughts, emotions, behaviors and how it affects you—that’s part of it. Then you’re going to develop skills to control those thoughts and behaviors, and then you’re going to apply them in a performance setting,” Fletcher says.

From a list of suggestions, Oldroyd chooses what is holding her back from an optimal experience or performance. She provides an example of where this has negatively affected her. The next step is asking others she knows what they would choose as her trait. Oldroyd continues the exercise in Part 2.

5min 55sec

Additional reading: Coaching the Mental Side of CrossFit by Greg Amundson, published July 7, 2010.

Free Download


11 Comments on “A Look into Mental Performance Training: Part 1”


wrote …

Dude, Mirada is bueno


wrote …

What she is describing at base is not perfectionism, but fear of failure. So, here blank, in my opinion, should be filled with the word fear.


wrote …

So, HER blank, ...


Frank DiMeo wrote …

Very helpful & informative. Thanks!


wrote …

I am looking forward to the next part.


wrote …

Really this session is counter to the positive psychology movement in performance and life coaching which stresses strengths rather than weaknesses. I've found this other style of coaching far more effective and evoking a less reactive mindset from clients. As well, studies show that people are far more effective when accenting strengths rather than limiting weaknesses. Sounds like a small change but it isn't. Check out


replied to comment from Matt Cavallaro

Matt, I agree with your focus on strengths rather than weaknesses. The same principles apply with leadership and developing others. Also thought the interviewer put the focus on herself. It should have all been directed towards Miranda and bringing out her strengths and weaknesses. Guess we'll see how it progresses and the outcome.


wrote …

It's more mental than physical IF you're really strong (ie like Lipson, Orlando, Spealler etc)...


wrote …

If you haven't looked into the mental side of CrossFit (or athletics in general) you should. Dawn has opened my eyes to a whole new side of the game. I use to think it was a bunch of big strong studs out there destroying these events, but just think how these "big" guys feel when a "little" guys blows them out of the water. Tell me there isn't a psychological aspect to this. Its another move in the right directon for CrossFit and if you have a chance to talk to Dawn take it you'll probably find that little thing you're missing.


wrote …

Excellent - very well done. These are professionals openly discussing internal aspects of performance that lesser people might get defensive and offended about. If we as CrossFitters can be honest about our mental road blocks, then our performance will get better.

Miranda said CrossFit has changed her as a person more than just getting fit. Mental focus improves performance, yes, but also improves all aspects of life. Success as a CrossFitter requires mental focus that pays dividends in helping reach any life goal. This is why CrossFit changes our lives and improves us as people, not just giving us ripped abs, arms, and legs.

Mind right, body right, train right.


wrote …

Being a training professional and having had interactions with several sports psychologists there are several of you that have put forth good observations. I agree that in the interview Dawn did spend to much time leading the discussion rather than letting Miranda do it ( this may be a result of the video production requirements rather than the actual normal conduct of the session. However, getting Miranda to do the writing on the board would have put more "power" in miranda's hands). I also agree with focusing on the positive aspects of performance rather than the negative. We see it time and time again when training high performers. That being said, until the athlete knows what they are doing right AND how to correct the wrong they can't fully move forward.

The one thing with then progressing to an enquiry with Miranda's co-workers is that the individuals that may be chosen can be people she trusts, likes, or dislikes or distrusts...all of whom will bring a bias to the table. Only once individuals get to an extremely high level of self-acceptance and critical self-awareness are they really able to accept and critically reflect on open constructive criticism.

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