Drew Drechsel is a gym owner and trainer, a Ninja All-Star, he's represented the US in 'Sasuke' multiple times, and taken part in Team Ninja Warrior. The bottom line is he's well versed in the art of Ninja competitions. He'll be taking his first Season 8 run on the Atlanta qualifying episode.
We asked Drew if he had any thoughts or advice he'd share with the newbies stepping up to the starting line for the first time tonight.
What advice do you have for new Ninjas coming into this environment?
"So, to sum it up as easy as I can for any new Ninja is, try to get all of your thinking about the course done before you're on the course. You don't want to go out there without a game plan. You need some preparation.
So think about what you want to do on each obstacle, several times, until it's almost muscle memory even though you've never done it before. So when you're out there in the moment, you don't have to think about it.
You don't have to worry about 'should I do this or this.' Cause if you don't have that confidence, you're gonna get wet."
What do new Ninjas and fans ask you about that most?
"I get asked a lot of different questions. I get a lot of; what's my training regime like, do I actually eat candy and milkshakes, which I DON'T by the way. They want to know what I do for training and I don't have a training routine.
I don't like to go and say, 'This is what I'm gonna do.' I play. I challenge myself. I will find something fun to do wherever I'm at. The average workout is between 45 minutes to an hour.
I go out and play for several hours at a time on a daily basis. I don't feel like I'm working out, until the next day when I'm super sore. You go out with the mentality of just go out and have fun and play. And if you take that with you, you're just going to continually play around, have fun.
You get to learn new things, challenge yourself, and, come on, who doesn't want to just play? No one likes working out. There's like 2% of people who actually enjoy working out."
What makes the American Ninja Warrior athletes special?
"There's a lot of different sports out there, and I don't want to take anything away from them, but what we do here is so unique. Everything is such a unique skill set. We've seen Olympic competitors come try out the course, and some of them do very well. But it's really easy to see if they trained for this or not.
You can have people who have done this for years and years and years conquer everything, but there's still mistakes. You have to do everything at once, without making a single mistake and the fans appreciate that. And no matter how good you did last year, this is a new course. These are new obstacles. Any one can go out at any single time. And that's what sets this a part from any other sport.
If you miss a free throw, or you miss a throw, it could cost you the game, but, it's really hard to explain. You get another chance, you get another game. But we get another chance next year. Maybe, if they call us back, with a whole year of training, we'll never know."
For all you Ninjas out there, what do you think about Drew's strategy of mentally preparing for the course?
To find out if Drew puts his own advice to use, check out his qualifying run in Atlanta tonight at 8/7c!