Stage one of American Ninja Warrior’s National Finals held many shocks. One of those was Kevin Bull’s run.
Since season six, Kevin has never missed the National Finals. Season 10 also saw him complete his first City Finals course since that year. Kevin has advanced beyond Stage One twice before, and after his runs in Los Angeles, he was a fan-pick to do it again.
But as we all learned, this year’s Stage One course wasn’t a walk in the park for any athlete. There was a hint of trouble for Kevin on the Jumping Spider. It looked like he was struggling to find traction and spent a little more time than usual on the obstacle. Pushing through the course, Kevin still had about 20 seconds on the clock when he went for the cargo net. That could have been enough time. However, his hands didn’t fully grasp the net and he ended up in the water.
If anything, Kevin is known as an adaptable Ninja. His season might have come to a close, but he’s probably already back at work preparing for next season.
Earlier in the year, Kevin gave us some insight on how he generally feels on a course, his inspiration, and his training methods for Ninja success.
“I try to calm myself down, because with that lower heart rate, it’s easier to get through without pumping out. It’s always difficult for me to stay calm on the course because I’m very excited.”
“My favorite fans, the ones that motivate me the most, are the ones from the Children’s Alopecia Project. They’ve been my best cheerleaders since the beginning. Working with them and getting to do events with them outside of the show is all so great. I’ve gotten to know them. We’ve done a lot of fun things. It’s just a really good bond.”
“I think the game changer for me when I started doing Ninja Warrior was I started realizing that in addition to training your muscles, you also train tendons to make them stronger. Before being a Ninja, I didn’t realize that was a thing, but it’s something rock climbers have been doing for a long time. It’s very important when you’re going to spend a lot of time hanging by your arms from something. When I started learning how to train those tendons, how to strengthen them, that was a game changer for me.”
“It’s about 40% strength, 60% mental when you’re out there on the course. You’ve got to have the strength to make it through, but I think most people are eliminated due to mental mistakes.
Training that mental state of mind is always very difficult. Your brain has pathways that it fires along. You need to retrain the right ones. A lot of it is repetition. Spending a lot of time on obstacles. Putting yourself outside your comfort zone is the most important for Ninja. When you go on the course, you haven’t practiced it before. It’s going to be something that’s outside your comfort zone. So being able to fire your brain in a way that works well in an unusual situation is key.”
We have a feeling The Bull will be back, and in fine form, next year!