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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Confidence

It’s a big word. Sometimes much easier to say than to actually have.

The thing I have figured out with Crossfit is you need to have confidence every time you perform a movement or chances are you won’t land it.

I’ve had 2 perfect examples in the last week where I just didn’t have the confidence in my own body, my own skill to back myself and I couldn’t hit the move.  Last Friday night I was attempting a headstand.  Because I completely lacked the confidence in my ability to firstly flick myself upright I wasn’t able to get my hands and arms doing the right things to stabilise my body.  Therefore not only could I not get up but most of the weight was on my neck which isn’t ideal.

I’ve been in an assisted headstand once.  My coach Marc helped lift my legs up and once there I help that position just fine for about 15 seconds.  So I know once up I can hold it, but the killer for me is just getting up.  Because I lacked confidence in that movement there was no hope for the rest.

The other was last night where we were working towards 1RM for deadlift. We had 7 lifts after warming up on various weights to try to hit a new 1RM.  To be honest I just wasn’t feeling it last night. Even before the session started I wasn’t sure I could hit even my previous 1RM of 110kg.  On reflection that is the moment I began to lose my confidence, and if nothing else when trying to hit those big numbers you need to be totally confident and focused. 

About 7 weeks ago I went through the process to see if I could increase my 1RM from 100kg to 110kg. I was super pumped, I had done the WOD beforehand and was feeling good about doing the lift.  It didn’t seem like much of a jump for me. Needless to say I went and I did it. Barely got it up but the lift was good so I had achieved my goal.

Last night felt totally different.  I felt tentative on the early warm up lifts and as I kicked off the counted reps at 90kg I just wondered exactly what I could do.  I did the 90kg pretty easily but in the back of my mind I knew it was still 20kg off my prev best.  2 lifts later I bumped it up to 100kg which is always a big milestone for me. I got it up no problems and reflected on how much of an effort it had been when I first did it a few months prior.  Acknowledged my improvement right there.  But still I just wasn’t feeling good about the lifts.  Maybe some days are just like that.  I had through prior to the session I should be much better placed to do well this time as I had good equipment, hadn’t done a WOD prior etc.  But on the flip side I had been up since 430am, hadn’t eaten a great deal throughout the day and flown back from Brisbane that afternoon.  All those factors sat in my mind as well.

I did a lift of 102.5 and again it felt comfortable so Marc suggested I go up to 107.5 as I was getting to the business end of the lifts.  I did the lift but struggled getting to full extension.  Right then I felt like there was no way I could hit the 110kg let alone increase it.  But I loaded the bar and tried to channel my thoughts and energy into hitting that lift as hard & aggressively as I could.  I wandered around a bit delaying the inevitable attempt. As I set up over the bar I tried to get the same feel I get when I have done the heavy lifts before but just didn’t feel comfortable.  Marc was there ready to video to show technique after the lifts so I attempted it.  Got it off the ground but not much further.  A failed lift. First time I’ve failed at a deadlift.  We looked at the video and the bar had moved away ever so slightly from my body which made it virtually impossible to complete it. I had a rest then went again but I just knew I wasn’t going to hit it. And I didn’t.

I was disappointed in myself that I hadn’t even reached my prev 1RM let alone improved on it.  Today when I think about it I know that most of my issue was confidence & committing to the movement.  I know I can lift that much but my head wasn’t in the right space for whatever reason. 

I think in Crossfit at times it can be best to avoid thinking, and just step up and do.  When you can get into this frame of mind you’d be surprised at what actually can be achieved.  One thing I have still not been able to do is a box jump, of any significant height.  However I put the notion of not thinking, just doing, into play when working on my box jumps with my coach in Brisbane Adam.  He had me jump onto a basic aerobic step and then kept increasing the height by adding weight plates.

When he put the first plate on I was a little disconcerted as it hung over the edge of the step and I wasn’t sure I could get up & over. See the thinking had kicked in. So I just stepped forward and focused on the technique advice he had given me and I jumped. Landed it and was quite surprised.  I really didn’t think I could do it and stood on top for a moment feeling surprised and pleased. He added another plate and again I forced myself to switch off, not hesitate and just jump. Each time I managed to land the jumps never missing.  We got up to 13in in height, which is higher than I thought possible.  So only 7in away from the first 20in box jump. 
I have stood in front of the box numerous times over the last couple of months and wondered if I could make the jump.  I’ve just lacked the confidence to actually take the leap.  I’m worried about landing short and maybe falling arse over the box or sliding down it etc. I can’t even make myself jump up onto a weight bench which is a little lower.  Obviously I need to stop thinking about it and just walk up and do it. If I land it great and if I don’t well it’s got me one step closer to landing it next time.

Confidence cannot be bought or manufactured.  It’s something you grow from deep within, fuelling it will experience.  I intend on helping mine grow with lots & lots of experience.

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