Friday, September 29, 2017

Notes from Ben Bergeron's book Chasing Excellence

Ben Bergeron is a New England Crossfit affiliate owner (CrossFit New England). Bergeron is most well known for coaching both the male and female 2016 CrossFit Games champions. Chasing Excellence is Ben's detailing of his mental strategy and training methods, along with the attitudes and attributes of both Mat Fraser and Katrin Davidsdottir, which lead to their success in the 2016 games. The book follows the flow of the Games events, and interweaves those experiences with the character traits Ben believes most contribute to people becoming champions.

At our best, mental toughness can fill the gaps that our talent and our practice have left open.

The only thing that works is pounding your craft, day in and day out, doing the right things over and over and over again.

Committing to a process requires a unique set of character traits - things like grit, resilience, accountability, confidence, optimism, perseverance and passion.

[Mat and Katrin] share a set of attitudes and attributes are paramount to their success - discipline, commitment, passion, confidence, persistence, resiliency, competitiveness, coachability, growth-mindedness, humility, hunger, dedication, tenacity, and grit.

Excellence requires short-term pain for a long-term gain.

They want to find out exactly how good they can possibly be. They wake up every morning with one goal in mind - becoming better. They're here to win.

"Today I will do what others won't so tomorrow I can do what others can't." - Jerry Rice

You just continue to pound away day, after day, after day, with relentlessness, consistency, heart and passion - that's grit.

But talent without grit is just potential. Talent plus grit is unstoppable.

People want to boil down elite achievements to "born with it" talent; it gives them an excuse for why they're not at the same level.

When you're in a negative mindset, you're slower and less precise. Positivity, by contrast, is directly linked to improved performance.

Focusing on negative feeling or circumstances brings greater focus to things that are ultimately outside of your control and are potentially detrimental to your performance.

"Frequency illusion" which is essentially a phenomenon that causes you to see more of the things you're already focused on.

If you talk about (or worse, complain about) things that are outside of your control, things that could diminish performance, you will see and experience more of those things.

Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, and your actions dictate your destiny.

Overload Principle. It basically states that you can force adaptation in your body by consistently pushing past yesterday's limit; you can make yourself stronger by showing your body what stronger feels like.

Humans naturally fear adversity, which is ironic because adversity is the only thing that makes us better.

We don't control the events in life, and we don't have direct control over the outcomes. The only thing we do have total control over is how we choose to respond.

"Exceptional competitors understand that the primary competition is against themselves." - Bob Rotella

True confidence is being secure in the knowledge that fully committing to training and competing with excellence is enough, even if that excellence doesn't produce victories.

You need to be in the "zone" - in the place where your subconscious mind takes over and thinking stops. Thinking is slow. We want athletes to be automatic.

Every minute deserves your utmost attention and commitment.

Passion breeds a bulletproof level of resiliency.

Passion is the antidote to setbacks, disadvantages, ridicule, and bad luck - all of which you're going to encounter repeatedly if you're chasing excellence.

"Think about what you need to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment." - Nick Saban

The process is about focusing on the steps to success rather than worrying about the result.

"Do what has to be done, as well as it can be done. Then do it that way all the time." - Bob Knight

We are the sum of what we repeatedly do; we're totally composed of the smallest details in our day.

A huge piece of chasing excellence is attention to tiny details, but the key distinction is that you pay attention to the right details, the ones within your control and over which you have power.

Control what you can control. Ignore everything else.

It's important to turn the page after a bad event. Staying in a negative mindset will undermine confidence.

When physical abilities are equal, mindset becomes the separator.

"Mental toughness, believe, do your job, work hard, and we'll be champions in the championship game." - Julian Edleman

You cannot summon what you do not have. The traits you need when the stakes are the highest - grit, optimism, focus, adaptability, determination, resilience - must be forged in the crucible of training.

Success is a decision, not a gift.

"There is no golden road to excellence; excellence is the golden road. Until you start down this road, you'll never have a chance of getting there." - Jim Afremow, A Champion's Mind

In other words, you don't become a champion and then start acting like one.

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