23 Nov Mental Consistency
By: Lisa Guggisberg
As I begin my offseason one of the things I always do is look back at my previous meets to pick out what I would’ve changed on that day and to assess my mistakes and how I can utilize my offseason to my advantage. One of the things I always strive for during training and meet day is consistency. Consistency, meaning the quality of my lifts, training days, my mental status and my overall performance.
Consistency of 100% performance is a hard element to master. I would imagine a lifter has to be 100% competent every training session. This is what some refer to when a lifter is “in the zone.” I’ve only seen top elite level lifters like Brian Carroll obtain this level of performance consistently and he’s been in the game a long time. There is so much discussion about being “in the zone,” or “being 100%,” but in reality this is not always obtainable. Outside stressors, health, injuries….there is a long list of factors that can affect the consistency of being in the zone. Even top level lifters have off days, the only reason they obtain that level of consistency is because they practice “being in the zone.” So, I propose this question, “why do lifters expect this 100% all the time when only rarely do they achieve it?” What if we stopped torturing ourselves chasing this 100% and shoot for 80-90% consistently which can help set us up for obtaining that 100%. What I propose is what if our bad training days were still contributing to our growth. What if we trained at 80-90% and learned how train mentally and mentally self-discipline so that we can reach that 100% when we need it?
As I think back about my previous meets and watching other lifters at meets, I realize that most lifters battle with this concept. There are lifters, myself included, who have the skill to dominate at a meet, but failed to perform at 100%. The reason I most likely fail to reach that 100% is because of a mental block. To get to the zone a lifter must learn to mentally disciplined.
Being mentally disciplined means that you have established a strategy for how you see situations and know your distinctive responses. In other words, you have a plan when you encounter set-backs. I am not a sports psychologist, or probably not even a sane person, but here are some basic things I think can help me achieve a mentally disciplined approach as I start to view my goals for this offseason:
- Am I efficient during training? doing what I need to be doing? Everything should have a purpose.
- What are my triggers? what gets me upset, or “out of my zone”?
- What triggers help me get into that 100% range?
- How do I react and handle things when they get tough, or go wrong?
- Am I practicing visualization? Do I visualize and go through the cues/checklist for a PR?
- Am I constantly self-accessing? what are my strengths and weaknesses?
By becoming self-aware and addressing these points every training session, my goal is to be able to determine common factors, or themes that affect my performance. This hopefully will lead to having a net positive contribution even on my bad days. This will allow me to self-access, be mentally disciplined when I need it most, or when I need to be in the zone at 100%.
Meet day performance, or even setting up for a PR shouldn’t be viewed with fear, or with mental blocks. At the end of the day, I must remind myself come meet day that the pressure of high performance is an opportunity and not a threat.
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