GPF: Develop Your Mental Game

Welcome to “Guest Post Friday”! On Fridays, I feature posts from individuals who have strong input about the mental side of fitness, training and life. I tend to gravitate towards witty and honest articles, that give you tips and advice.

This post was originally written by coach Coach Kelsey Schmitt and was posted HERE on the Brickhouse Athlete Site. Enjoy it!


“The CrossFit Games have come and gone. For some, the road to Regionals and potentially the Games continues. For most, it leaves us unveiling strengths and exposing weaknesses both physical and mental.

Throughout the past five weeks, you were faced with thousands of decisions to make. Each of these decisions, whether in the moment or planned, determined your performance. So how do you make better decisions to improve your performance?

Experience. The more the better.

But while you are gaining experience, you can start working on a few things. First, figure out what type of CrossFit athlete you are. Are you here to improve your training and health? Are you using CrossFit as a recreational sport, going to local competitions to compete? Or are you looking at CrossFit as a high-level sport and dreaming of one day being at the CrossFit Games with the big name athletes.

Once you know what type of CrossFit athlete you are, you can determine what motivates you. Are you a “competitor vs. competitor” type? Do you find out how others did on a workout and try to beat them? Do you always check the white board to compare or beat someone else’s score? Or are you a “you vs. yourself” type? Always looking to improve on your own score from yesterday and using this to gauge your progress.

Learning the perfect balance between the two types is what makes you successful. In local competitions, turn on the “competitor vs. competitor” mode. This is the time to allow yourself to compete against your peers as an individual or team. But in daily training, look for personal progress.

“Competitor vs. competitor” mode is a hard way to live 24/7/365. It will burn you out because you never truly see your own progress. We see it often in our newer athletes. You see how much someone else is lifting, or how fast someone else is doing kipping pull-ups and start to compare yourself, giving yourself a hard time if you aren’t “keeping up.” As coaches, we have to constantly remind people that it is a journey. Yes, those skills are appealing; however, it is never worth skipping the process – what ultimately makes you stronger – to try to get ahead. Remember, not everything is a race.

If you have a competitive background, it is a hard transition to compete against yourself. I remember when I first started adding weight and doing workouts “as prescribed,” it crushed me mentally at first. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every part of finally being able to write “Rx’d” next to my name on the board and in my journal. What I didn’t like was how much harder it was. I felt like I was moving slower, but wasn’t I supposed to be getting better? You will experience a whirlwind of emotions, but remember to enjoy the process as you go.  Don’t wait until you have reached your goal to be proud of yourself.  Be proud of every step you take toward reaching that goal.


With CrossFit, we have to train our minds to see the possibilities, not our limits.  In order to do this, you must first focus on you. Develop a mindset that allows you to focus on what you can control.  Control the controllables.  Focus on what you can control –  your effort, your attitude.  Don’t worry about other athletes or uncontrollable factors, just focus on what you can control.

As an athlete, I have learned to develop my mental game and focus on myself. By doing so, it allows me to remember why I fell in love with CrossFit in the first place. The community. For me, CrossFit is about how that community has greatly enhanced my way of life, from my physical and mental well-being to even my marriage.

So don’t look back on the Open and think about the “I-should-have-dones” or “I-wish-I-hads.” You were out there competing with the people you love to be around. The ones you sweat next to everyday in the box. Never forget that CrossFit is a lifestyle change. The greatest changes are a marathon, not a sprint. Be happy. Be healthy. Enjoy each day with the people you love and motivate you. And reap the benefits of a balanced and meaningful life.”

About The Author:  Kelsey Schmitt is a coach at Brickhouse CrossFit, and she is also the Director of their CrossFit Kids Program. Brickhouse CrossFit has a phenomenal website packed with information and tips. Follow them on Instragram and if you’re ever in Roanoke Virginia, stop in and check it out!

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