Elisabeth Clay Talks About the Kind of Athlete She Is

By Elisabeth Clay

What kind of athlete are you? Is your edge that you’re highly technical? Are you very aggressive? Do you play to the time? What is the thing or things that make you, you?

What Kind of Athlete Am I?

I won’t lie, I am a very high maintenance competitor. I’m highly aggressive and submission focused, but it’s easy for me to be distracted being friendly. Ask Jordan, he’s got to tell me to put my headphones on, to make sure my head gets in and stays in the right spot. Many times I am listening to motivational speeches. I’m comfortable, but not too comfortable. Aggressive, but not stupid while I’m out there.

My game, when I’m on top of it, involves me being very aggressive always hunting that submissions. If I’m not playing that game then I’m not doing well or in the right headspace. I am not the person who can be goofing and laughing, even hours before I compete. If I am goofing around, I am not doing a good job of getting my head right. I am definitely different than a lot of people, but so is everyone else. We all have our own game and how we get into our own headspace, whatever that is, and it’s going to be very diferent for each and every person. Those closest to me know when I am ready and when I am not, and they often know before I do.

I know what I have to do to be ready. I even train getting into and out of tournament mode, turning it off and on. Some days are more difficult than others to get into the right place.

I Get A lot of Help

Jordan will give me assignments for me to work on things. I am not the kind of athlete who goes looking for other moves. I kind of just see it and, if I like it, I start putting it in. A lot of times it either just happens or Jordan has asked me to work something. That’s just my game and how I work. Mentally, I wouldn’t be able to go and do my own research for myself, I need someone to tell me what to work on. To see how I’m acting, and even ask me how I’m feeling, and then go from there. I am such a high strung athlete that being an athlete and performance is what I do. The game planning and technique planning ahead of time is not my game, at least not for myself. While I am competing I like to have an outside perspective. I have to have the right person in my corner, the wrong person is a lot worse than having no one. The wrong person doesn’t mean a bad coach or corner, but one who does not follow my game, my technique, and mindset. I am very odd.

Everyone is Different

I have known others who can shoot the breeze and enjoy camaraderie right up to the time of performance. They never have to work at getting in game mode. They have a more carefree and easy going style. Some people focus and play a points based game, so it’s a matter of planning and strategizing differently. They get to enjoy traveling and all of the fun that goes with it, and yet when it’s time to go, they can go.

For me, I have to stay focused the night before and day of. No leaving for lunch for me. In fact, no eating much of anything for me. I eat just enough to keep me from having low blood glucose and dehydration, but nothing that is hard to digest. Most of the time it’s fruit and protein bars.

What Kind of Athlete Are You?

So, as an athlete you have to figure out all of these little things that work and do not work for you, and whatever it is that gives you that competitive edge. Do you need lots of sleep? Do you eat well? Do you eat very little? Do you sauna? Do you roll up until the day? What gets you focused and in the mode? Do you like calm or raucous music? Motivational talks? Do you watch mindless videos? Do you need your companion? Do you travel with family or teammates? Do you need to be at the venue early or is day of or day before enough? Do you need a good breakfast or little food? Do you need a particular corner? To be alone, or just someone to support you? Do you focus on points or subs? Are you a staller or do you always push the pace? Are you edgy weeks before or calm right up until? Do you need a hard camp no matter how few or how many competitions you do a year? There are so many more aspects, but it really boils down to figuring out what gives you your edge. What works for one may be dead wrong for another. Learn who you are and find your lion or lioness.

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