For the majority of rowing enthusiasts who sit on the erg 2 – 3 times a week, the journey to the goal is the same as a Navy SEAL who enrolls to basic training. The road is going to involve a lot of pushing through, not giving up when you want to stop, and dedicating your mind and body to the process. If we take some of the same methods used by the SEALs and apply them to our own quest for optimal performance in our training, then the idea of mental toughness becomes like a malleable piece of clay, that any one of us can mould into a masterpiece that can give us the edge needed to accomplish our goal.
Here are the Dark Horse top 10 ways to build mental toughness for rowing.
Okay, for those who have been around the fitness industry during the boom in CrossFit, you will have undoubtedly have heard this one many times, yet it rings true whatever the challenge you set for yourself. Ultimately your success will depend on your ability to persevere and push through those tough situations or periods of time that bring forth various forms of discomfort. You never know the time may come you actually look forward to being in ‘the pain cave’.
Yes, it is that simple, get started!. All that this step requires is for you to make the decision that you are 100% committed to the goal. I know it sounds simple, and I genuinely mean it when I say it is that simple, however I never said it was easy. This time, though, the idea of beginning must come with you flipping the switch and truly committing to the beginning phase of mental toughness.
Don’t focus on how to get the whole thing done, just break it down into smaller goals and check them off as you go. Heard that one before right? It is far better to set attainable goals that you can achieve rather having one huge unattainable goal looming over you. Once you start accomplishing these small goals your confidence will grow and you will start to feel a new sense of purpose in your journey.
You may be doing everything right, you have your plan, you’ve set your goals, you’re achieving and progressing and then there’s an unexpected change. You can’t let any of these setbacks derail you. Simply look at the situation and adjust your plan accordingly, and make no bones about it there will be obstacles that arise that threaten your plan. Simply acknowledge them for what they are, and KEEP GOING.
Yeah we know this isn’t for everyone, but when you wake up early and start your day achieving something, overtime the cumulative effects of that extra hour or two of dedicated daily effort will yield significant results. Initially it may be difficult to think about changing your sleeping habits, but the human body is highly adaptable and there’s a reason every rowing crew gets out on the lake at 5am.
You cannot develop mental toughness unless you accept things that challenge you in a significant way. The more you try new, scary things, the broader that comfort zone will become. Don’t become stagnant, always strive to advance your knowledge (especially on technique and training) and also your physical ability.
We’ve all been there, when you put that much pressure on the end result the pressure neutralises the end result. Remain focussed even when the threat of giving up comes knocking. That’s the time to push harder and embrace that suck, you know will make you better in the end.
I’m sure throughout your life you have met people you admire and wish to emulate. (you wouldn’t believe the amount of people who want to use our “Push don’t Pull” slogan in their own company ethos!). If you are fortunate enough to know someone like this then you should seek out guidance and build a relationship of trust and respect. We all like to know when things are going well.
One of the easiest ways of gaining knowledge is through reading. When you find a topic that interests you, with today’s technology, it won’t be difficult to find countless articles and material on the subject. In this day and age there truly is no excuse for the average person not to be able to acquire knowledge on any topic. Remember knowledge is power, and in difficult situations, having an edge can help you overcome many mental obstacles.
As you journey towards accomplishing your goal, whatever it may be, make sure you reach out and find others who share the same interest. One of the best parts of my job with Dark Horse is being involved with those following our Crew programmes. As a community on Facebook, these are the guys you want to engage in conversations with and become part of your support network . There will be many more groups out there that also do this, find them and engage!
Whether referring to an exceptionally arduous training session, or simply referring to the fact that every day you are going to be faced with challenges internally and externally that can lead to you missing a training session. If you are to truly master mental toughness, you must carefully study and reflect upon how you approach each performance and measure yourself against the outcome. This reflective practice is what makes you a stronger person and gives you the mental fortitude to drive on on those tough days.
Yours in fitness, education and getting mentally tough.