I finally got around to reading Chasing Excellence and I have to say it’s a great read on shaping the mindset and character of an athlete.
First, if you’re looking to find the secret formula on what it takes to win the Crossfit Games you’ll be hugely disappointed. There’s nothing in here that hasn’t been disclosed before. It takes a great deal of hard work and dedication to achieve that goal so don’t go into this looking for any kind of secrets.
Instead, the book provides a unique insight into the mind of elite athletes (mainly Katrin Davidsdottir) and how building their character first allows them to achieve any goal they pursue. It starts off in the 2014 Crossfit Games Europe Regional, where Katrin was sitting in 1st place waiting to start event 5. We all know what happens next. She fails to finish the workout and has a mental breakdown on the competition floor. That was before Ben was her coach and the decision to work with him full time changed her life.
The book journeys through a behind the scenes look at the 2016 Crossfit Games and Katrin’s 2nd back to back championship. If you enjoy watching the behind the scenes videos from Crossfit HQ then you’ll definitely enjoy this book. If you’re like me and you’ve watched all those videos before and follow Ben’s podcast then this might be a bit of a let down since it isn’t anything new. Still the personal development displayed by Katrin was more motivating than I was expecting.
Ben has a unique way of training his athletes mentally and each chapter is titled with a characteristic needed to “chase excellence.” Commitment, Grit, Positivity, Embrace Adversity, Confidence, Control and Humility are some to name a few. I truly felt inspired after reading each chapter and almost as if I was becoming mentally stronger myself.
Overall, it was a great read from one of the sports top coaches. I highly recommend this for all athletes whether you are competitive or not.
Never Whine, Never Complain, Never Make Excuses – Ben Bergeron