Over six seasons on American Ninja Warrior, Dan Polizzi has established himself as one of the stars on the show. He and fellow Towers of Power member Brandon Mears have each qualified for the Vegas Finals in the past and also teamed up to find success on Team Ninja Warrior.
In Indianapolis qualifying, Dan put up the second fastest time of the night, finishing less than a second out of the number one spot. Polizzi took some time to talk with us about his Ninja Warrior experience to date, how the sport has affected his life and what his goals are for the future. Check out his responses to our questions below!
Is there any obstacle or type of obstacle that makes you nervous this year?
DP: This year’s actually really exciting, especially getting to see the course out there in Indy. It’s a lot of upper body and me and Brandon (Mears) both love upper body obstacles. We’re completely stoked for this one. All these obstacles are really showing a lot of upper body power so we are hoping that we can showcase what we got.
Have you any experiences with fans over the seasons that have motivated you to keep going?
DP: I’ve definitely had experience with fans I never thought I would. I started out doing it because it was a personal goal for me and something that I really wanted to achieve - to better myself, make myself stronger. After being a part of it, it’s been really interesting to find out how much it influences and affects kids. I walk up sometimes in the gym or sometimes in public places and kids come up to me and they’re like “Hey, your Dan Polizzi, right?” I would never think that anyone would remember who I was. I’m just a regular person.
It’s fun to see that the kids actually realize who we are and it’s interesting to hear how much they know. They know more about it than I do so it’s kind of funny.
How has being a part of Ninja Warrior affected non-athletic areas of your life?
DP: I feel like Ninja Warrior has affected me in many different ways. Obviously physically, but it’s also kept me goal driven. I like to set many different goals, I’m pretty much spread thin across a lot of different things in my life. I like to do too many different things. The Ninja Warrior experience has definitely helped me stay on track. It’s helped me stay motivated towards the right types of goals.
In your opinion, what percentage of getting ready for Ninja Warrior is physical training and what percentage is mental training?
DP: I think it’s exactly 50-50. When it comes down to the mental preparation and the physical preparation, you really have to push yourself physically in this sport, but if you can’t come in with a mental game that is 100% accurate, you’re going to struggle. I’ve seen some people come in who I’ve known that are very strong and very fast, but they come in and their brain is all jumbled when they try to get out on the course.
You’re going to hit hiccups. You go through an obstacle and one little mix up or mess up and your done. That mental game has really got to be on point.
What are your expectations for yourself this year?
DP: I’ve been setting my expectations every year pretty high. I have high expectations for myself and I put a lot of pressure on myself. I’ve always wanted to finish a finals course. That’s always been a goal of mine. My eyes are set on accomplishing that.
We will see if Dan can achieve his goal and hit the buzzer in the Indianapolis City Finals when American Ninja Warrior returns in Indy later this year!