An athlete’s mental game plays a huge role in their success. If we get into our head too much, we may lift less, go slower, or sometimes just give up all together. It’s important, therefore, to arrive to class with some mental tricks and cues you can use so your body can do what it is capable of doing.
Know YOUR Cues: You know these. These are the 2-3 things that every coach tells you, class after class. They’re the cues that are specific to you. Maybe it’s to tighten your core when you “catch” the bar in your cleans. Maybe it’s to keep your eyes up at the start of your snatches. Maybe it’s to engage your lats on your toes to bars. Whatever are the two things you need to focus on, hone in on those. For me each time I snatch, I think “keep it close,” and “punch when you catch,” because I know those are the two most important cues for ME. Focusing on those two will allow your mind to focus, instead of getting distracted by the 10 different cues that are relevant to the lift in general.
Be Here NOW: Ram Dass had it right. Be present and focused on what you are doing in that moment. If you are two rounds in on a ten round workout, it’s not going to help you too much by thinking about round 8. Stay focused on what your task is in that moment, and just worry about getting that current task done.
Nothing Changes: This is why I always say that it is important to lift in a warm-up the same way you would if it were 1 rep max. When I’m going for a lift that is 90% – over 100% of what I have done previously, I tell myself the two cues I need to focus on (see above), and “NOTHING CHANGES.” I shouldn’t extend further back, set up wider, pull harder (often results in pulling early), or do anything else differently. The reason my previous lifts were successful was because I did them correctly. Why would I want to change that when I put more weight on the bar?
Hope these tips help you improve your lifts, movements, and overall fitness!