CrossFit can be such a relentless, ever-changing, fast-paced and unpredictable environment, that it can have a huge impact on our performance in a positive or unsuccessful way. How much can we control or influence? What factors can we not control? How much control should we be looking for? Should we let things be the way they are?
First let's take a look at the uncontrollable variables, this is where the athlete has no control or cannot influence the result in his favor. Those variables are, the weather conditions, the opponents, the venue, the fans, the type of WOD or, to some extent, the judge, in the case of competitions. The list of things that are not under our control are endless.
Instead, let's focus on what we can control, which depends on us, especially our attention and concentration. Careful control concerns how an athlete can focus awareness on the environmental stimuli that are most relevant during the activity. The process of selective participation in the most important signals implies concentration.
The Nideffer model
The Nideffer Tunnel model is a great start for increasing athlete awareness and understanding. Nideffer's approach to attention can be divided into two dimensions.
First, "width". Here are two options, broad or narrow. Broad receives a lot of information from the environment. Narrow is the opposite, and it is where we select only a few stimuli that will be the most useful ones. This dimension shows the change in the amount of information to be processed.
Secondly, direction, this is where the attention is focused, either inward or one's mental state or outward, that is, the environment. These dimensions each occur on overlapping continuums, creating four "quadrants" of attention.
||The way we look outside ourselves trying to understand as best as possible what is happening around us
||The way we analyze the situation by processing information in search of a strategy to develop
||In this case we act on one or two causes
||We focus only on one skill and most of it is placed on it.
What is better? Everything and nothing in the sense that at a given moment we could pass from one state to another. So instead of thinking which is the best or right one, you need to become aware of the situation you are in and decide which attitude to adopt. Attention and concentration in CrossFit must be adjustable, like a zoom lens on a camera.
Maintaining concentration is essential to get the most out of it, however it is not easy to understand what to focus on and to maintain the correct attention and concentration during the performance. This is where Nideffer's model can come in handy.
Below are additional exercises that can be helpful in improving your ability to concentrate while competing.
- To become aware of what is controllable versus uncontrollable, make two lists. A list should be the controllable one, which are the factors you can do something about. The other list should be that of the uncontrollable elements.
- Create a “What If” plan , this can help prepare you for any obstacles or challenges you may encounter in training. Face the things you really fear. Just list them all and then tackle them one by one, asking yourself: “Is it controllable or not? And if it happens how will I do it? ".
- Phrases for concentration , highlight and develop a list of short phrases to use to stimulate and recall the state of concentration. Use trigger words or short sentences to reinforce specific focus cues for a task or skill, such as "chest up" or "arms out."
Remember that athletes who can focus on the task at hand and avoid distractions have the best chance of success. So invest your time and energy in things you can control such as focus on technique. You will never be in complete control of everything, so why not accept the unpredictability and enjoy what you can control?