I love reading and learning new things about life, business and sport. I've also really enjoyed being able to translate the things I have learned specifically to CrossFit competitors. I searched for articles that had book recommendations for athletes. There were several great ones. However, what I appreciate about these is that they are not specific to athletes. You have a life outside of CrossFit. These books will help you get on track inside and outside of the gym!
The Way of the SEAL by Mark Divine
Mark Divine graduated at the top of his SEAL Team class and was actually teammates with Josh Bridges. He owns U.S. CrossFit and is the founder of SEALFIT. Now, he works mainly with civilians to improve their grit and fortitude to help them become more productive in civilian life. The hard lessons SEALs learn during training and missions are difficult to grasp for those who don't experience it. However, Mark has had tremendous success transferring these skills to "normal" people like you and me.
In The Way of the SEAL, Divine covers several topics. I have outlined 3 below:
Lead Front The Front:
Be an example to your followers. People don't want a "boss." They want a leader who will get their hands dirty and do what he/she is asking them to do.
Front Sight Focus:
Focus on one thing at a time until it's done. Competitors tend to get ahead of themselves. Whether it be a year before the open, a 6-week training cycle, a hard day or training, or even a long workout, we think ahead far too much. The idea is to stay task oriented. One day, one workout, one set at a time.
People are naturally defensive and indecisive. He encourages the reader to make quick decisions, go with your gut, and go head on into challenges. Remember from my "Circle of Influence" video, reactive people let life happen to them, proactive people go out and make life happen.
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
I've just read through this book for the second time. This is my personal favorite for resetting your habits and getting motivated. The Compound Effect inspired my blog post on "Compounding Fitness." The general idea is to create great daily habits that compound overtime to accomplish any goal.
So, for the CrossFitter, we should not say "I want to go to the CrossFit Games." Instead, we focus on making each day the best possible training day we can. Again, focusing on your circle of influence... Are you getting the right amount of sleep? Are you training with the right intensity, focus and purpose? Are you eating the right food? Katrin Davidsdottir brought her food scale to the athlete's banquet at the CrossFit Games and was laughed at. A few days later she was standing on top of the podium with a gold medal and a $275,000 check. She built such disciplined habits, that it wasn't even a question of whether or not she was going to continue. It was automatic.
We all have habits and they do compound. The question is whether you let it work for you or against you.
Mindset by Carol Dweck, Ph.D.
Mindset is another great one. Carol Dweck writes about proper mindset for parenting, school, business, relationships and sports. This was another book that inspired a blog post (read "The Power of Yet"). Her primary focus of the book is the growth vs. the fixed mindset.
From an athlete's perspective, a fixed mindset has the athlete convinced that he or she is born with a certain set of skills, talents, athleticism, etc. They feel as if they must appear to be special so they tend to hide from weaknesses. Growth-minded people are self aware. I'd be a billionaire if I could teach people to be self aware. It is a rare commodity. These athletes know where they currently excel and struggle, but they also know they have the power to change. New challenges excite them because of the opportunity to get even better.
Growth-minded athletes still acknowledge disappointment. We can't always control what happens during training, competition or life. But, we can always control our response. Do you blame or learn? Mindset is a great resource to learn more on this topic.
Coach Steven Willis