JUNK Brands Sponsored Athlete Kelley Jackson (aka Tiny Beast) is a 2 x Reebok CrossFit Games athlete (2014 and 2015). This year she heads to the CrossFit Games to compete on the 417 Team. Read about her journey and how competing as part of a team compares to individual. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Kelley!
Why did you decide to do Team this year for the Reebok CrossFit Games?
I describe my 2016 season as a year to rebuild and emotionally repair. Between a frustrating finish to my 2015 season and letting life outside of CrossFit take priority (marriage, change in job, relocated states, etc) I was not in a good position mentally or physically to have a winning attitude going into the season.
I pursued team because I knew I was still fit enough to compete, yet needed to have some more fun with my training and allow myself a year to rebuild without the pressure of the Games.
How did the transition from Individual to Team go?
I had been exploring team options as a way to get me closer to home as I wanted to spend more time with my new husband. CrossFit 417 competed at the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games and I had heard through a friend and fellow competitor that one of their female athletes was pregnant. I reached out to Jared Stevens, a friend through the CrossFit circuit, and before I knew it I was packing my bags for Missouri.
I think the biggest difference is that now it is about managing a group of people rather than yourself. Coordinating schedules, training regimes, and emotions of multiple people is exhausting! While it's exhausting, it is also uplifting. You are constantly surrounded by training partners who are encouraging you to be better, to work harder and to push you beyond your own expectations.
In my experience, going team for the Games is much less stressful. You can afford to have a little bit of weakness because most everyone serves a specific role within the team. Obviously, we all want to be better at everything, but not having to worry about every finite skill definitely reduces the level of stress going into a competition.
Will you stay Team for future Reebok CrossFit Games?
No. The intention behind going team for this season was to get physically and mentally stronger for the 2017 season. I am confident & capable of qualifying for the Games as an individual competitor again but I needed to take this time to develop some weaknesses.
My training focus has been developing my skills as a team athlete which has actually made me a better individual athlete. In the last few months I have PR'd benchmark workouts and even weights, which are things that don't come easily at my age and with my experience (32 years young and CrossFitting 6 years).
But most importantly, I started CrossFit because it was fun and I'm back to having fun and enjoying the process.
Hungry for more? Watch JUNK Sponsored Athlete Chyna Cho talk about her journey to the Reebok CrossFit Games.