Lower Your Threshold – Guidance for Finding Focus in Your Training
Written by Gabe Garcia
Is your drive to be a better athlete stronger than your worry about what others think about you? If you did not emphatically answer yes, you need to lower your threshold. Put simply, your threshold is the number or proportion of people that have to do something in order to get you to change your actions. In a sport as ego driven as CrossFit, doing what others are doing can hold you back and prevent you from truly addressing your weaknesses in order to make real progress. With a threshold of zero, you don’t need the support or approval or company of others to do what you think is right to address YOUR training needs. You won’t waste your time paying attention to your feelings when your focus should be on your actual performance. It takes courage to be good, to be honest with yourself, to do things the right way. How can you reach your potential unless you have at least a little of that inside of you?
Before you go any further, ask yourself the following questions.
- Are you someone who can put the responsibility of mastering a task ahead of all social considerations?
- Are you someone who would rather be right than liked?
- Do you know what is truly holding you back in becoming a better athlete?
Hopefully, you put a good amount of thought into answering these questions truthfully and thoroughly. Everyone could benefit from lowering their threshold and the great thing is that you have control over yours. Here are just a few ways to lower your threshold.
PUT YOUR EGO ASIDE
Rick Barry, played in the NBA for 15 seasons. He is noted as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history mainly because of his record career 90% free throw percentage using an underhand style “granny shot”. His method was calculated and proven effective yet nobody else in the NBA would shoot that way because they did not want to look silly.
Taking a step back to address things that seem basic can feel pretty embarrassing. However, that is the only way to establish sound movement patterns and improve capacity so that you do not struggle with those things later on. Now is the time to focus on fundamentals in order to set yourself up for success in the long run. Even if you think that makes you look silly. Video yourself doing these things and be willing and ready to laugh at yourself. Just make sure that after you are done laughing, you pick out the positives and negatives of your performance so that you continue to progress.
FOCUS ON INTERNAL GOALS
What are YOU doing with each training piece? Nobody has earned a sponsorship or been featured on The CrossFit Games Update Show because they beat Travis Williams on a met-con on October 18th. What truly matters is whether you get better with each training piece. Did you improve your squat depth? Did you hold on to the bar longer than you have been able to in the past? Did you push hard on the first round and try to find a way to hang on? There are many things we all need to work on. Make sure you take the time to identify them and how to approach training so that you can work on them.
It is not hard to spin every single met-con that is written on the blog into something that would be written personally for you. Let’s say you struggle to hold on to a consistent, respectable rowing pace in met-cons. Make that the top priority in workouts with rowing. Choose a pace that is a little bit out of your comfort zone and do everything in your power to hold it regardless of whether the other movements involved in the met-con suffer a little bit. Be willing to accept that your overall time may not be quite as good as it could have been. Once you adapt and can keep that pace and still crush the other movements you will be better off.
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRAINING AND TESTING
Training by definition is the act of preparing for a sporting event. This is where you acquire the skills and abilities to perform on game day when it matters. An overwhelming majority of your days should be spent training or recovering. A relatively small amount of days should be testing days. On testing days, focus on WINNING. On all of the other days, focus on what you need to improve upon as your primary goal. If you win the workout, that should be a secondary benefit.
Training provides a luxurious environment where risk comes without huge cost. You can try things that may not be successful without ruining your season. Make the choice to work on touch and go sets so that you improve on barbell cycling and strengthen your grip even when you are certain fast singles will get you a better time. The first sub 2 minute Fran wasn’t achieved with a conservative approach and always breaking up the thrusters to save for the pull-ups. Aim for something slightly out of your comfort zone or just beyond your reach and fight to achieve it. Remember, every training piece that you get better at something can be counted as a success.
As you embark on a new training season and begin to set goals for the year, it is the perfect time to refocus your training. Prioritize how you can get better in each training piece rather than whether you beat everyone. It is time to make your training as authentic as possible. It is time to stop caring what others think. It is time to lower your threshold!