Competing as a Team
The last time I had the opportunity to write for the Stealth blog it was the beginning of the New Year. Goal setting, pre-workout mindset, and overall attitude heading into 2019 were some of the things addressed. I hope you found at least one part of my last article useful and were to apply it to your daily training regimen. We are now half way through the year and as a community you guys are absolutely crushing it in the gym on a daily basis. I speak for all the Coaches when I say we have noticed your improvements and your achievements. So keep after it!
Now here we are at another exciting time for the gym and our community. We have just announced our first ever competition, The Stealth Fitness Combine to be held this September, and we are sending several Stealth teams to compete in the Asbury Park Summer Games next weekend! The fact that so many of you have the desire to test yourselves on the competition floor is so exciting to us as Coaches, and it speaks volumes for the culture Coach John and Coach Matt have fostered over the years at CrossFit Stealth.
Whether you are competing as part of a team next weekend, plan to grab a teammate for the Stealth Combine in September, or want to tackle another team competition in the future, I want to touch on a few things when it comes down to competing as part of a team. Unlike the CrossFit Open, or any other individual competition, competing as a team has some different elements that need to be understood and embraced.
When it comes to Team Competitions, it is very important to remember this is not just about you. Task accomplishment is now spread to two or more athletes to complete, so do so in a manner that has the best outcome for the team. One athlete may be able to do a lot of work at once, and can handle big sets of work without tiring. Expecting your teammates to follow suit may not produce the best outcome. The team dynamic often calls for the most fit athlete in the team to “bite the bullet”. In the easiest of terms, the strongest may have to sacrifice from time to time, putting themselves in a role that is less than ideal as an individual, but better for the team result. Understand that each athlete will be called upon in different workouts to be that person. And when it is your turn to sacrifice ideal sequence of movements, or “going first” you need to strap up the boots tight for the betterment of the team.
In many cases there will be times where one athlete knows they can perform several required tasks very well, maybe better than one of their teammates. Give each teammate the best opportunity to produce for the team. That might mean one teammate may have to take on a task that is not their favorite. But if means your team will move smoother through the workout you have made a worthwhile sacrifice.
Plans are great going into a competition. But like Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” That punch can be anything from being a little jittery, some fatigue setting in after completing one or more events, or throwing down in a new place with a different gear arrangement/placement than you practiced with at home. Do not be afraid to stray from the “plan” on the day of. Holding a rep scheme or keeping a suicide pace that can not be maintained will only hurt you and your teammates, and may carry over to the events that follow. I have done several of these things and my best advice is when the plan needs to change, change it and don’t panic. Make your changes and push through. This is the new plan, and everything is going to be ok.
Use your rest effectively. Teams competition events are often like mini sprint workouts. In periods of rest the best thing you can do for your team is focus on bringing your heart rate down a hair and getting ready to come back to work with fire. Avoid getting stuck in a bad mental state where you are wondering what the hell just happened and whether or not you can do it again. When it’s your turn to break, focus on individual recovery. Slow down you breathing with deep/full breaths, stay relaxed and prepare your mind and body to get back in the fight.
Feed off of one another. The best part about a team competition is that you always have someone in your corner. Encourage each other and keep the mood positive and lively throughout the day. Communicate your concerns to one other, address the issue then move on. Don’t dwell in negative places. You’ve worked hard in preparation, now enjoy your time on the floor with your friends.
My final point is more broad and can be used any time you compete, team or solo. Represent our gym with pride. Let people know who you are and where we come from through action. Move well and carry yourself as a proud member of CrossFit Stealth. When you leave the competition, people should be saying, “Damn, Stealth really has their shit together.” I’ve been to enough of these things to have seen it all. Shit reps, bad attitudes, and poor sportsmanship. All leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth about the gym those athletes represented. I know we don’t have that problem, so mainly I encourage all of you to be ambassadors of our team, TEAM STEALTH. A community that is fit as hell, knows how to have a good time, and has one another’s backs through thick and thin.