Dealing with Failure

Dealing with failure is part of our sport. Heck, it’s part of life.

From the pegboard at the Games, to the Strict Muscle Ups at Regionals, to the Toes to Bar in the Open, to missing the target on your first Wall Balls, we are going to come up against things in CrossFit that stop us dead in our tracks.

In our early days, the first few months, depending on the athlete and the goals, we probably won’t experience this. There’ll be days where taking on the workout is pushing us well past our comfort zone (“I’m sorry, did you say run 400 metres?i haven’t even ran 4 before!”)

As we develop, the challenges we face will grow, as they should, and we won’t always overcome them in a single session. So it’s okay on occasion to have a metcon that stops us in our tracks. Personally I’ve faced this with rope climbs, where my grip has given up. My rest goes from 30 seconds to 2 minutes and even at that I can’t get to the top.

Not every workout needs to have you completely gasping for air, or moving constantly. Some workouts by design are going to ask you to figure out when you need to work and when you need to rest, and how much rest is needed. Some are going to ask you how you deal with failure? Do you ante up and try again, or do you start to admonish and berate yourself? Do you think “this sucks” or “I’m shit”, or do you accept the way things are now and then go about building that weakness?(In he example above it would be me doing 10 rope climbs on another day with timed rest of 75 seconds. If that’s successful, move to 60 seconds rest. Then, re attempting rope climbs in another metcon and see how my ability has improved. And then, going back to practice and development.)

These days shouldn’t be avoided. Dealing with failure can be amazing for our growth if we let it. The attitude we take into these days will determine the benefit.

Other ways we can expand our capacity is to constantly take on new movements, and readjust the movement standards. Dumbbell lunges were probably never practiced by most of the CrossFit world before 17.2. Or we can require full lockout of the arms after contact with the bar in chest to Bar Pull Ups, rather than a drop off. Similarly requiring the front foot to recover first in a split jerk, otherwise it’s a no Rep, brings an extra element of growth to the lifting session. Now, we’ve made a normally mindless part of the lift (“I’ve made the jerk, now recover.”) into something that sharpens the mind and refocuses on technique.

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