This past weekend a hoard of competitive exercisers descended on the land of 10,000 lakes for this year’s installment of The Granite Games. The Granite Games has come to be, in my opinion, one of the two showcase off-season competitions along with Wodapalooza in terms of rigor and athlete participation.
Off-season competitions serve a wonderful role to break up the monotony of the off-season training program and enjoy the fruits of your hard earned labor. However, I write this post to help maintain the focus, or as high school football coaches across the country say to, “keep the main thing the main thing.”
Three of Power and Grace’s athletes competed on respective community teams with their final placements listed: Mel Doss (4th), Richard Andrews (14th), and Duke Burk (2nd). In the past seasons, each of these athletes have been individual competitors at the Regional level but assembled teams to enjoy the event and try their hand to bring home the overall win.
While each of these athletes enjoyed their trip and the comradery of the team, each of them also used this game-day environment to measure their current strengths and weaknesses in the boiler that only competition can provide. Post-Granite Games I’ve asked each of them to take a few days and think about what went well and what needs to be improved upon. What workouts they dominated and what types of workouts they dreaded. This short amount of honest self-reflection can pay massive dividends if addressed. It can also be all for naught if ignored.
You’ve read past articles on this blog about the differences between training and exercising and fitness enthusiast versus athletes. I’m not here to rehash those discussions but I am here to remind you what you need to be truly using these off-season competitions as… a measuring stick. Don’t let judging or bad breaks cloud your results (guess what… questionable judging is a part of every competition, deal with it). Use this new found information to guide your training, to highlight the areas you may need to spend your extra time in, and hammer them until they become strengths. The formula is simple but the execution is paramount and is what plays as a major separator.
You all probably heard about Mat Fraser buying a Pig a few weeks after the 2015 Games as it was the event that highlighted his biggest weakness and what proved to keep him from the Games win. Alone, and in silence, he flipped that pig so many times in the off-season he probably lost count after the fourth digit. Chris Shimley, another Power and Grace Athlete, has become stellar at toes to bar after seeing a weakness in Open workouts. The guy now has some of the best kipping efficiency on the team while still being able to back squat close to 500 pounds. Both of these men were honest in their limitations and turned an inexperience and weakness into strength.
You are all training for a goal, and the Power and Grace Coaches use the CrossFit season as our template. The free and premium competition program are preparing you to peak for those 5 weeks of the Open, but you must face your own personal reality and make the decision to either let weaknesses slide or attack them head-on. In my experience, that is the difference between the top-tier and the also-rans. Honesty.
This sport is not about who puts the most time into the gym anymore (that is a prerequisite), it’s about who uses that time the wisest…. Happy training.
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