Some Days the Barbell Wins

The mental game, of anything really, is the most important game of all. We can be our best friend as well as our greatest enemy. The mental game in CrossFit is no different than that of any other sport, or even our daily lives. It doesn’t matter if you have a strong body if you don’t have a strong mind.

Generally, I have a fairly positive outlook while I’m at the gym. I can definitely be hard on myself but I train really hard and know that at times, I’ll have off days. However, once in a while, something happens and I get in my head. I go from training hard to frustrated, angry, pissed off, and sad. Today this happened.


I can usually snatch 135#. I should be snatching wayyy more than that but since I am a crossfitter and not an olympic lifter, my technique is nowhere close to where it should be. (This is something I plan on working quite hard on.) I also hate the snatch. I love cleans but I hate snatches. Mainly because I suck at them. Anyways, I was working on snatches this morning and it didn’t go so well. I found out that I’ve been snatching incorrectly the entire time I’ve been doing CrossFit. Shocker right!? But Chris went to a USAW cert a while back and learned a few things that he has been teaching me. Mainly that I was pulling off the ground too close to my body. Now I really have no idea what I am doing when I step up to the bar and its frustrating. I could barely power snatch 105 this morning and I can usually power snatch over 115 at least. For someone who loves to lift heavy things, this pissed me off. I wanted to cry the entire time. Every time I went to snatch from the ground, I couldn’t. My body had absolutely no idea what it was doing. Which isn’t surprising but at the same time, it was very frustrating. It threw my entire training off at the time. And it was really hard to get out of that funk.

The difference, in my opinion, between a good athlete and a great athlete is the mental game. We can all be strong physically, but we can not all be strong mentally. Your ability to push through funks or bad training sessions help you push through other difficult situations. Your ability to get out of your head and push through the physical pain is what makes a great athlete. (Once again, in my opinion.) We will always fight with and be hard on ourselves but we must also learn to give ourselves some slack, get over it, and pick up the bar again.

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One response to “Some Days the Barbell Wins

  1. J: a couple of thoughts. I read a book by Dan John and he thinks you can categorize your training sessions as great, average – check the box, or awful. You will have all three. For every 5 training sessions one will be great, one will be awful and the other three will be average – ok. That helped me put the bad days in perspective. Second, any time you begin to learn the right way to do a skill you may fall back a bit first. As long as you stay committed, you’ll eventually see improvement. I have a similar issue with snatches. I’m not good at them and in fact am worse on a body weight scale than you. Ive been working them now for 6 months and I’m seeing a bit of improvement finally. But there is always farther to go. So stay at it. It will be worth it in the end. – dave

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