How To Build Mental Strength Before A Competition

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How To Improve Mental Strength Before A Competition/Event/The Open

1. Write down at least 10 thoughts or strategies that help you keep pushing in a WOD. Think about what’s helpful for you when others pass you, when you’re really struggling, or when you want to give up. What can you envision, or repeat to yourself in those situations? These could be words, quotes, mantras, reminders, cues, etc. What helps you the most when it starts to suck? If you’re stuck, consider what coaches have said to you that you’ve found helpful.


2. Redo some of your “least favorite” Open, Regionals, Games, Competition WODs from the past. If you haven’t done any of them before, look through the WODs and consider ones that you wouldn’t want to come up this year, and do them, or variations of them. Consistently training your weaknesses is one of the best ways to build mental strength. Make sure that the workouts you choose make sense with your programming – For more on this read  “When To Retest Benchmark Workouts”


3. Mix up your routine. Train out in the cold, in different environments or terrains, early in the morning, or late in the evening. Do something to mix up it up a bit. This might mean going to train at a different box, training at a time is “tough” for you, or asking another athlete if you can train with him or her. The athletes who are constantly looking for a way to train in new and uncomfortable settings are the ones who are regularly building resiliency.


4. Try a “Cold Water Challenge” and take ice baths or cold showers daily for a week or two. Sounds crazy? Well, I’m not here to give you standard suggestions. I’m much more interested in challenging you and keeping things interesting. Try it out, and see what happens. 🙂 More details HERE


5. Start adding “Mental Prep” to your warm-ups. If you want to be able to push through discomfort in workouts, then you gotta set yourself up for success before the WOD even starts.

Here are three options that take 5 minutes or less.

A. 5 minutes of a breathing practice (square breathing, 1-2 breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, or 20 rep breathing) – Tuning into your breath is a way to focus your attention on to something rhythmic that you can control. It helps train your focus and can often help you feel more calm and aware. Luckily, I have recorded numerous breathing practices for you in MP3 format, so you can simply listen and follow along for your mental prep – HERE

B. 5 mins of writing down or thinking through your specific focus and goals for the session/workout. No matter what the workout is, there is always an opportunity to improve. You may be working on pacing, going unbroken, quick transitions, your movement quality or your mental strength. Think through what you gotta do to get the most out of the workout. Know what your focus is, and any specific movement cues that will help you perform your best. You can do this very quickly in your notes, on your phone or with a coach.

C. 5 minutes of thinking through all that you have to be grateful for. Hop on the bike or rower and focus your thoughts on all the good stuff. There will be days that your body is aching, you have a plethora of things you’re stressin over, you don’t like the workout, or someone is just annoying the hell out of you. No matter what is going on, you can always improve your mentality by thinking through all the things you can do, the blessings you do have, the things that are going right, the people who you love, the basic needs that are being met, the opportunities you have, etc. Don’t know where to start? I got ya covered. I’ve recorded 2 separate MP3 downloads that are meant to help you develop a more grateful perspective – HERE


6. Read the Mental Strength eBook. It’s a quick read, and you’ll learn how to assess your current level of mental strength and exactly how to improve it. The book includes journal drills, new ways to look at mental toughness, workouts, and a strong mind challenge. This is for all levels of CrossFitters and it’s a must read if you want to perform your best.




“I loved your book. I literally read it as fast as I could yesterday. I love how simple, direct, and relative the info is specifically to CrossFit.”

“When I read The Build Mental Strength eBook and started practicing your exercising every day in my CrossFit classes, I noticed a lot about myself and how I handle challenges and wins. Thank you so much for providing this resource”

“I just finished your book and I loved it!! I plan on starting the mental strength challenge the week after the open. I’ve already used some of the tips in WODs especially 16.4. This will definitely become a reference book for CrossFit and life going forward.”



I’m Dawn Fletcher, the owner of Driven Mind. I help driven-individuals perform better and achieve greatness in all that they do.

Reader Interactions


  1. Sonu says

    This article provide a great information.this tips are very helpful to encourage mental strength and confidence.thanks for this inspirational post. keep sharing

  2. Dr. Nate Moller says

    Great article!! Especially love the mental mental prep warm up exercises: deep breathing, writing down goals, and thinking about all the reasons you are grateful! This an awesome prep for CrossFit, working out, or even life in general! I was was a cross country runner in college and so much of running and finishing the race is based on your mental strength and positive thinking to keep you going.

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