Managing stress, anxiety and fear is part of being an elite athlete. Andréa Maria Cecil talks to CrossFit Games competitors and coaches who share their approaches to fighting inner battles.
You have two choices: continue to wallow or do it again.
“In most situations, you need to challenge fears and redirect to what you can control,” said David Yukelson, director of sports psychology services for the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student Athletes at Penn State University.
Don’t allow frustration to undermine confidence, he continued—it can become obsessive and nagging self-doubt. Yukelson calls it “stinkin’ thinkin’.”
“Right then, you need to use mental-preparation techniques,” he said. “That’s when you have to fight back and be resilient.”
In other words, have a plan for composure.
“And a lot of coaches don’t think enough about that,” Yukelson added. “This is a skill.”
CrossFit Games coaches Doug Katona and Doug Chapman have certainly thought about the mental game, as have Games athletes Heather Gillespie, Deborah Cordner Carson and Lindsey Valenzuela.