We have all done it. Finished a workout and completely crushed it – had a plan – followed the plan – things went better than expected – and we are feeling on top of the world…CONFIDENT & PROUD. You go to put your score in Wodify and decide to peek at the Leaderboard just to validate how much you crushed it – and BAM. Everyone crushed the workout too and they crushed it more than you. Automatically your mood shifts from “I am too cool for school” to “wow I did horrible”. That pit builds in your stomach because although you are happy for your buddies you are bummed that you didn’t do nearly as well as you thought. Your confidence comes crashing down and fast.
Is this you once and a while…or is this you ALL the dang time? If this is a once and a while thing, probably not something to worry about (we are human), but if this is something that ultimately affects your mood many days a week, we need to address what’s happening. Why does the leaderboard have THIS much control over your happiness? Are you obsessed with always having the winning score above a fellow athlete friend? What is it about the leaderboard that has the power to dictate your mood?
It is crazy how many times I have these conversations with our athletes where I try to convince them of their progress and how success is athlete specific. No matter how many “you are strong”, “you are powerful”, “think about how far you have come” coaching moments I have, it is still challenging to get through to my uber competitive athletes. One question I got in response to crazy town leaderboarding was, “Why do we even have the leaderboard then?”
Great Question. I do believe the leaderboard is an important tool just like I believe tracking our scores in Wodify is important to visualize what’s improving and what needs to be improved. The best way to do this is, to first and foremost, compare to the old version of YOU. It is also helpful to have realistic expectations of where your current level of fitness is including your strengths & weaknesses, understanding that crossfit looks at the WHOLE athlete and all the things they bring to the table, and that certain levels of competition between athletes like ourselves is healthy and promotes progress for all of us. Like with many things, too much of a good thing tends to turn into a not so good thing.
If you are the type of person that lives on the leaderboard to a fault, is non-stop irrationally comparing yourself to other athletes in the gym, has to WIN the WOD to be happy, or allows shitty movement patterns into your workout just to edge out the top scores…it is probably time to take a step back and ask yourself some hard questions:
- Am I going to the CrossFit Games?
- Am I sacrificing the health of my body or the crispness of my movements for that extra rep?
- Am I allowing negative self-talk to ensue when I see my friends finishing a workout before me?
- Did I work hard? Did I follow my plan?
It’s time to recognize that your value as a person and an athlete is not determined by how many beast bar crawls or squat thrust backpack hops you can do in a minute. You have heard me say this before…nobody really cares about those numbers – what matters is you are working hard and making progress. We want to move as well as we can as long as we can for longevity in this fun fitness that we do! At this point you likely know if the leaderboard has a positive impact on you as an athlete or if it has a negative impact.
Positive impact athletes – keep trucking and doing YOU. If the leaderboard has a negative impact on you, here are some suggestions:
- Commit to only checking the leaderboard 1x/per week with a mindset of positive self-talk and understanding that we all have different strengths and weaknesses.
- Write down 3 things that you are proud of every week from a health and fitness stand point to reflect on YOUR progress.
- When you don’t do as well as you envisioned during a workout and you have something you want to improve on – ask a coach for help to make a plan.
- Keep a journal to help you remember where you started. This will help you realize how far you have come and to start enjoying the process. Most of us are not rushing to get to the CrossFit Games, we are just doing the fitness for life <3