When we asked people who have competed on American Ninja Warrior to share some advice for rookies, we never dreamed we’d get so many excellent responses.
We posed the question, “What’s one piece of advice you’d give to season 13’s rookies? Or, what’s one thing you wish you had known during your first year on the show?” The advice rolled on Facebook and Instagram.
Frankly, this is top-level advice. Some of the big-name Ninjas rolled in with their thoughts. But we also heard from lesser-known competitors who’ve done multiple seasons and have a vast wealth of knowledge. The Ninjas discussed how to handle nerves, how to enjoy the experience and stay calm. There’s also some downright practical advice that everyone should know for their first time on set to simply help themselves stay rested and healthy.
We collected some of the responses below. Read on for these incredibly heartfelt words of wisdom!
“Don’t bother me. JUST KIDDING. But seriously, ask your fellow ninja for beta advice. I’m always open to discussing what I think I’m going to do and how!” - Joe Moravsky
“Take lots of photos and videos to remember the moments!” - Ryan Stratis
“Do NOT take the opportunity for granted!” - Jody Avila
“Those guys you think of as LEGENDS, are also pretty cool humans.” - David Wright
“There’s nothing quite like the energy you feel when it’s your turn to step up onto the platform! Enjoy the moment!” - Bootie Cothran
“Mingle and make new friendships! It’ll make your time on set more interesting.” - Donovan Metoyer
“Don’t overgrip.” - Austin Gray
“Anything can happen on the course and every single ninja has failed. So don’t worry about the results. It’s the journey, the self-improvement, and the relationships you develop that make this a life-changing experience.” - Brian Kretsch
“Don’t fall.” - Thomas Stillings
“You deserve this, that’s why you’re here. But most importantly, have fun!” - Nick Hanson
“The course is designed to be completed, relax, don’t overgrip.” - Lorin Ball
“Enjoy the experience. Nerves are common but keep this at the front of your mind: You WANT to be here; you’ve trained, sacrificed, and bled. Embrace it, trust in yourself. You believed in Santa for years as a kid so you can believe in yourself for a few minutes on your way to the buzzer.” - Morgan Wright
“Stay focused on what matters. Whatever your goals are for this season use that as your compass and dismiss all distractions. Also, the ‘you make one mistake and you’re done’ thing can feel a little heavy. Rather than dwell on it, embrace it and celebrate the opportunity with everything you got!” - James McGrath
“Fill yourself with love and gratitude for the course/experience. You can’t feel anxiety and love at the same time!” - Brian Kretsch
“It’s going to seem a lot more serious and intimidating than it has any right to be. It’s a carnival game. The most elaborately constructed and well-lit carnival game you’ll ever get your hands on. Pretend you and your friends walked up to it at an amusement park, and you have a free ticket to play. Go nuts. Make it whatever you want it to be; whatever you need it to be. Let them worry about making it tense and dramatic for their audience in post-production.” - Mike Bernardo
“Bring lots of snacks.” - Taylor Johnson
“Prepare for the wait and practice your off-course endurance. You’ll probably be there for 14 hours before your run. You’ll most likely be tired, sore, hungry, and nervous all at once, and you’ll definitely not be performing on par with your A-game. With that said, train accordingly if you want to perform better in front of the cameras.” - Sean Kozhuharov
“Clean the bottom of your shoes immediately prior to your run. Savor every moment. It may be your only chance ever.” - Dave Kozak
“There are no beeps to start your run.” - Ben Wilson
(Seriously! We were so shocked by this when we attended our first live taping!)