Existing Within a Mental Bubble
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Traveling around the world twice in a matter of 3 weeks isn’t the best thing for the body but as a coach, it is one of the best things I could have done to continue developing my system of training. Over the past two weeks, I have seen numerous world record holders training in both track and field and Olympic weightlifting. I have gotten to see some of the greatest training sessions EVER held by various strength athletes. 23m training throws...CHECK. 210k snatches...CHECK. 130k clean and jerks from a 59k lifter...CHECK. The furthest discus throw I have ever seen in training by a female...CHECK. The experiences were phenomenal. The lessons were great and the application to my system will be utilized over the next few weeks.
I have seen a few impressive similarities between the various sports I work with. The best discus throwers in the world, the best shot putters in the world, the best Olympic weightlifters in the world, all of these athletes possess the physical qualities needed to perform at an incredible level. They have to be as explosive as humanly possible. Rate of force production is their game and nothing can stop their progress in this realm. Strength gains must be phenomenal while technical precision is of the utmost importance. Any little thing in training could potentially throw off the success of these athletes. What have I seen as a consistent trend?
All of the greats seem to exist within one realm that is on another level from the rest of the field. Rarely, if ever do you hear the best of the best complaining about something trivial. The best of the best have full self-control (at least in regard to sports performance). They aren’t in La-La Land,they aren’t talking about worthless pitter-patter, they take care of the SMALL THINGS while focusing entirely on the BIG PICTURE. They seem to get it and don’t care what others perceive of them or what others think of them.
By no means am I saying that they don’t struggle with the mental outlook of competition and training, what I 100% believe is that their mental game is generally incredibly strong and they don’t put off to the outside world that they are “shook.” They are sitting back, executing their movements as crisply as possible, listening to their coaches and taking care of the little things. From a sports performance perspective, we need to remember that there are no secrets within these sports. Instead, the answers are right in front of us!
Do mobility work, get a good warm-up in that potentiates the nervous system, have technical goals, execute movements, eat well, sleep well, take your supplements, meditate or pray, have fun.
It is easier said than done. While watching athletes like Ryan Crouser, Joe Kovacs, Lasha, Caballero, Daniel Stahl, Darrell Hill, Kuo, Daniel Thomas-Dodd, all of these athletes seem to train and compete with something similar.
I like to call it the MENTAL BUBBLE.
These athletes are on another mental plane of existence while training. They are fully aware of their bodies, their mental state, their physical state. From the outside looking in, it is clear that they are on a whole other level. Here are some outsider observations I noticed that the greats tend to do while training and competing.
Talking is essentially kept to a little, “How’s it going?” Or maybe a nod. The rest of the time, any discussion is generally a cue or trigger that their coach is providing to illicit a better technical response.
OKAY, this one needs some clarification. I’m not saying they don’t do simple grooming and they don’t take care of their appearance. What I am saying is that they train with a very focused movement. They don’t care if they are lifting little tiny weights or throwing very short distances, they only care about the feeling. They also don’t care about going HAM in training.
Watching Joe Kovacs take 22-23m throws in training, he was screaming, smashing throws and going nuts. He was training as though no one was around him. The same could be said for Lasha. He was snatching 200 and 210k, clean and jerking 255k. EVERYONE in the gym was watching him with cameras in his face, hovering all around him. He DID NOT CARE. He lifted as though no one was there. He didn’t ask people to move. He didn’t ask people to be quiet. Instead, he just did what needed to do and that was smashed weight!
These athletes seem to value two specific points in training. TECHNICAL PRECISION and SMASHING SHIT. There are two distinct speeds and goals they have when entering training. They are perfectly content focusing on technical movement at 60-70% speeds and distances/weights. They are perfectly fine in feeling the movement out and executing it OVER AND OVER at that specific speed.
They are also perfectly fine at gearing shit up and GOING HAM! Kovacs and Crouser and Tom Walsh were all tAKING training throw around 22-23m. Everyone knew something crazy was about to go down. They were smashing throws and the intensity was incredible. They were competing in their training. They were competing against themselves. Inside their mental bubble of intensity, blocking out all distractions, all craziness, all aspects of the outside world that could distract them from success. THEY DID NOT CARE! They had the biggest meet EVER coming up and they were prepared to SMASH throws. By preparing in practice with high intensity, they knew they would bring the wood at the competition and that’s exactly what happened!
When it comes down to being a champion, accountability is extremely important. Often times, athletes lie to themselves. They lie to themselves about how well they handle their own process, they lie to themselves about how focused they are on technique, they lie to themselves about how intense they are during training. These are all negative aspects of training that will take away from the end result. By mastering the MENTAL BUBBLE and engaging with technical precision and fearless intensity, the true athlete will develop into a true freak!