Want to Learn Sports Psychology? Walk the Plank!

The simplest way to learn the totality of the mental side of sports can be understood with the simple visual of walking a wooden plank. In 2009, the “Riddler” or “Rid” sat everyone down in the San Diego Padres Short Season-A team’s clubhouse to break it down to my teammates and I. 

Greg Riddoch managed the San Diego Padres big league club in the early 90s. He was the perfect combination of a savvy baseball mind, a salt-of-the-heart gentleman, and a radical advocate for positive psychology. 

He explained it this way. If you take a wooden plank and place it on the ground, could you walk across it?

It’s nearly a rhetorical question. Unequivocally, yes.

The follow up question, however, asks if you took the same wooden plank and raised it 50 or 100 feet in the air, could you walk across it? 

This changes things. 

But, should it?

The task is the same. Walk on the plank one foot in front of the other, like you do all around your life everyday. Once you raise the plank in the air, the mind goes to the future. We think of consequences, what ifs, and imagine falling. 

My question to you is this. Does a focus on the future make you a better or worse plank walker? The fact is that a future focus (just like a focus on the past) makes everyone a worse performer. Sports psychology, then, is a mastery of the present moment, which gives the performer the greatest chance for success from a psychological perspective. 

While the concept wasn’t new to most of us with sports psychology experience, the visual brought simplicity to the power of peak mental performance. I hope you never forget it!

10/30/23 WOD

DEUCE Athletics GPP

5RM Front Squat

Complete 3 rounds for quality:
8 Barbell RDLs
40 Yard Reverse Sled Drag

For Time:
KB Swings (62/44)
1 7th Corner Run



Complete 2 rounds for quality of:
:45 Rock and Breath

Then, complete 2 rounds for time of:
Max Active Bar Hangs (RPE 9)
-Rest as Needed-

Back Squat

Complete 4 rounds for quality of:
8 Good Mornings
8 Paused Deadbug Pullovers

Then, in teams of 4 or 5, AMRAP 4
100’ Sled Sprint