The Mind Game

Every and any motion you make, inside or out of a gym, starts with you generating a command from your brain.
For the most part, I will refer to mind rather than the brain. The difference is significant but I’d rather leave that for another day.

To the task at hand and before I get too much more distracted.
This piece is about how you think and how important a role your mindset can play.

Whatever we say or think is true. I mean that in it’s truest sense. If you say you are “not up to this or that task” you are absolutely correct so long as you believe it to be true.
I believe and there is a long-standing tradition of belief and serious scientific study to support the premise.

Where it comes into play within our CrossFit community relates to our mindset when we attend our box to workout or compete. It can also come into play when you go to the fridge. How you think about yourself, how you feel about yourself, has a very strong effect on how you function – if you feel good you will probably function well as opposed to feeling bad.
It’s hard enough if you aren’t well, that is to say diagnostically sick, to stay on top of your thoughts to keep yourself positive.
If you are well but feeling down on yourself for whatever reason the prospect of beating the wod is going to be tough today.

____________________________________________________________________________

Psychosomatic Disorders. Mind and body disorders | Patient

Link to article: patient.info/health/psychosomatic-disorders

Psychosomatic means mind (psyche) and body (soma). A psychosomatic disorder is a disease which involves both mind and body. Some physical diseases are thought to be particularly prone to be made worse by mental factors such as stress and anxiety.

____________________________________________________________________________

Once upon a time if someone said an illness was psychosomatic there could be defensive responses about how the illness was real and not in the mind of the patient. Science has shown that both are true – the illness is real in terms of the significant indicators or symptoms and it is being created or aggravated by the people’s state of mind.
Among the various stories about how the mind can affect what we do and how we can train our mind to assist us to achieve more this one about the basketball players is a favourite.

____________________________________________________________________________

Improving Your Game Without Touching a Basketball!

– By Joe Haefner

Link to article: https://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/mental/visualization.html
Visualisation is an often-taught mental rehearsal technique in sports. It is an extremely powerful tool and numerous studies have been done to test this. You may have heard of this basketball study or a different one with similar results.

A study conducted by Dr Biasiotto at the University of Chicago was done where he split people into three groups and tested each group on how many free throws they could make.

After this, he had the first group practice free throws every day for an hour.
The second group just visualised themselves making free throws.
The third group did nothing.

After 30 days, he tested them again.
The first group improved by 24%.
The second group improved by 23% without touching a basketball.
The third group did not improve which was expected.

____________________________________________________________________________

I’d say the second group was most likely advised to visualise a successful shot each time – in effect they did not miss a shot for a whole month. There was one story online that involved a group of young men who overnight were told to take 10 free throws before they went to sleep and one of the young men only got 7 out of 10.
This report which you can go to with the link above goes into the quality of the visualisation practice and that would go a long way to determining the results.

How far could you take visualisation in your Oly lifting?
There is significant scientific evidence that the patterns and connections through the brain to the body are almost identical between the physical and visualised. It doesn’t mean it is going to get any amount of weight off the floor just because you thought it would be a good idea.

I believe it might assist you to get more out of the training you put in if you visualise your technique with a view to perfect form. Visualising perfect execution of your Snatch or C&J lifts would go some way to establishing a mind-body connection, the motor patterns of each movement, to the extent those patterns could be more accessible to you when you get physical.
As with most of these sort of things, there are conditions such as “results may vary”.
Over the last sixty years, I have had let’s say a variety of experience and I’m more than convinced that “if you believe then it is so”.

____________________________________________________________________________

From Psychology Today

Seeing Is Believing: The Power of Visualisation

Link to article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/flourish/200912/seeing-is-believing-the-power-visualization
A study looking at brain patterns in weightlifters found that the patterns activated when a weightlifter lifted hundreds of pounds were similarly activated when they only imagined lifting.  In some cases, research has revealed that mental practices are almost effective as true physical practice and that doing both is more effective than either alone. For instance, in his study on everyday people, Guang Yue, an exercise psychologist from Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, compared “people who went to the gym with people who carried out virtual workouts in their heads”. He found that a 30% muscle increase in the group who went to the gym. However, the group of participants who conducted mental exercises of the weight training increased muscle strength by almost half as much (13.5%). This average remained for 3 months following the mental training.

__________________________________________________________________________

It’s not a magic pill and there are some specific requirements to get the best results from it the key reason I brought it up is that it does give a good example of how our mind has the capacity to affect our performance.

Be aware of what you are thinking about as you train or compete.
Stay in your own game – don’t worry about what someone else is doing.
Remember this goes for everyone – the person you think is your big competition today might have had a bad nights sleep because their pet is at the vets and their not sure if it will get better let alone if they can afford the bill for the surgery….

None of this is worth a damn if you aren’t training, hydrating, eating like an athlete, getting good sleep, listening to your coaches and encouraging your fellow Plus athletes.

Cheers
Uncle Pete

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment