At the highest levels, everyone is the best. How can you become better than the best?
If you’re an elite athlete, it’s a question you spend a lot of time considering. Every competitor at the top is physically and mentally formidable. Everyone has areas where they shine a little brighter or struggle a bit more; but on the whole, the differences in physical ability are negligible. So, what are the separators? How do you train to come out on top?
When preparing athletes for the CrossFit Games, Ben follows a hierarchy of development outlined in the pyramid below.
Strategy is how you approach your competitive event. It’s when to play zone vs. man-to-man, it’s how to pace, it’s when to attack, it’s when to take risks vs. when to play it safe.
Ability is your endurance, strength, stamina, flexibility, speed, power, accuracy, agility, balance, and coordination.
Ben’s approach starts at a more foundational level. In order to maximize ability, Ben helps athletes follow a detailed process.
Process is about defining the controllables that can make you a better performer and maximize your capabilities on a moment-to-moment basis. with a commitment bordering on obsession. The process isn’t about championships or gold medals. It’s about committing to the next actionable step as perfectly as possible.
Think of it this way: If you were a robot, and things like sleep, stress, relationships, social life, desires and temptations were not a factor, how would you program yourself to be a champion in your field? How much time would you spend on training? What are the exact quantities and ratios of nutrients that you would consume to fuel yourself? How would you recover? What books, high achievers, and game films would you study? Regardless of your chosen sport or profession, the process is the road map designed to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
Guess what? Following a process at that level is really hard.
We’re not robots; we’re humans. If it were as simple as just writing it down and putting it on the fridge, everyone would be a champion. Committing to a process requires a unique set of character traits—things like grit, resilience, accountability, confidence, optimism, perseverance, humility, and passion. Without these traits, it’s impossible to follow a championship process, which is why character is the first thing Ben focuses on: better people make better athletes.