You Get What You Earn and Is Weightlifting that Different from Powerlifting?

Written by: Kevin Cann

 

I am going to combine two article topics here as there is some carryover.  Just a warning that this could get very long, but reading is good for you.  I follow this IG account “Flowrestling.”  They show mostly wrestling highlights, and some of those kids are fast, strong, and extremely athletic.  I enjoy watching it between everyone else lifting weights.

 

There was a video of wrestling great Terry Brands.  Brands was an NCAA champ and a world champ that failed to make his first Olympic team. He made some changes and came back to not only make the team 4 years later, but to earn a bronze medal.  This video was titled “You get what you earn.”

 

As Nationals rolls around this is an important message.  Brands was talking about the first words his father had said to him in his hotel room, “You get what you earned.  You don’t always know what the reasons are.  You think you might have been the hardest working guy.  You think you might have done everything right, but you get what you earned, figure it out.  If you don’t want it to happen again figure it out.”

 

We live in a day where no one is accountable for their actions.  On a Weightlifting House Podcast, Josh Gibson asked Zach Krych, his thoughts on the 10 years he trained at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Colorado.  He talked about lifters not bringing the same intensity as the lifters from other countries. He also talked about lifters living far outside of their weight classes in training.  He then made a comment “The Chinese aren’t doing that.”

 

This is so true of American culture.  We want everything, but without sacrificing anything.  There was another episode with a Romanian weightlifter that was asked about American weightlifting and his response was “Americans do not have patience. It takes patience to add weight to the bar (to be competitive).”

 

If you want to be competitive in this sport you need to make sacrifices and do everything right.  This isn’t just for 8 weeks before a competition. Olympians in weightlifting train for 20 years, or more in many cases, starting at 8 years old.  Powerlifters think after a couple of years of training they should be competing at Nationals.  Don’t get me wrong, this happens frequently, but finishing 80that Nationals is not competitive.

 

However, that gives the lifters this false sense that they are doing everything right and they are just going to climb to the top with the same attitude and work ethic.  I will assure you that this will not happen.

 

If you want to get to the top, or see progress beyond a certain point, it takes much more than just carrying on.  You need to maintain a bodyweight year round, you need to bring focus, effort, and intensity into each and every rep, you need to make good training decisions, and you need to do this consistently.  Every time you choose to go out with your friends and drink, or take it easy on a training day, someone else is not doing that and is gaining ground or getting further away from you.  This goes back to “The Chinese are not doing that.”  This is not just being consistent for 8 weeks, but for years.  This is your choice though.  You do not have to make these sacrifices if you just want to compete at Nationals one day and have fun.  This sport can fit into your life anyway you want and that is what makes it great.  If you do want to be the best possible lifter you can be in your career, it requires much more than just showing up.  Every action of every day needs to be geared to that goal.  I am going to quote another wrestling great, and former title challenger in the UFC, Chael Sonnen “If you aren’t willing to go too far, you will never go far enough.”

 

Weightlifting in other countries seem to have this attitude.  I have had a recent obsession with weightlifting culture and the sport in general.  The question I have been asking myself lately is “Is weightlifting really that different from powerlifting?”  You substitute SBD for Virus and I think the sports have more in common than what many people typically believe.

 

I think weightlifting is a higher skilled sport, but I think that powerlifting is more skilled than people think.  It takes a lot of skill to squat 700lbs, that is why not many people can do it.  Sheiko was actually a weightlifting coach until he had a weightlifter that he knew would be very good at powerlifting.

 

Much of Sheiko’s program was similar to that of a weightlifter.  There were a lot of positional variations that definitely had weightlifting influence.  I would consistently repeat the same weights and same variations as well.  Exercises would change weekly, but if I had 5×5 70% squat with chains in my program, I would perform that around a handful of times in a 12 week period.

 

After 12 weeks, there may be a test.  Hopefully we add some weight onto our maxes and then we repeat a similar program with the new maxes.  This is very similar to weightlifting.  The Greeks test every 4-5 weeks and then run the same program with new loads.

 

Sheiko was big on variations and load variability.  I also have a bias towards those two pieces, but the premise is very similar.  I also like the intensities of the Greek weightlifting system.  I incorporate much of both training styles into my programs.

 

The Greeks will hit a new max and then hit that same number for the next 3-4 weeks.  Repeating that new max over and over.  Sheiko would use a variation with the same reps and weight over and over.  You get better at that weight and exercise the more you practice it.

 

I started programming prescribed singles for my lifters.  This single is somewhere between their best double and triple.  On a good day it is an RPE 8, on a tough day it is an RPE 8.5/9.  This is a hard, but doable weight that causes some technique breakdown and brings some emotions into the lifter.  We repeat this weight for 3-4 weeks and then we will add some weight to the bar and repeat the process.

 

After the singles we perform the variations like we always have.  These typically work on the technical inefficiencies we see with the single.  We removed a lot of the bodybuilding stuff and replaced it with more barbell stuff like snatch grip deadlifts, good mornings, front squats, floor press, and so on. I am actually thinking of leaving these in long term instead of waving them out.  Why not build these up?  I think we often just change for the sake of change.

 

I think the argument of bodybuilding exercises are to build up weaknesses and keep things healthy. The variations will build up weaknesses within the lifts better than isolated exercises.  I think for beginners with limited body awareness and coordination, those exercises are still important and there will be more in their programs.

 

After Nationals, when volume drops, we will add more bodybuilding stuff in as well just to give them a bit of a physical and mental break from the grinds of training.  Most weightlifting systems that I am aware of forces the kids early on to experience a wide range of sports.  This is true in both Russia and Greece.

 

Once they enter the teenage years they begin to specialize more.  In America, kids specialize early in life, or do not participate in sports before entering the sport of powerlifting.  This is why I think variation is so important here.  It helps counter some of those pieces of American culture.  Bodybuilding/GPP exercises can fit in here as well for newer lifters.

 

I feel most things usually fall in the middle somewhere.  Powerlifters probably overestimate the importance of bodybuilding type exercises and weightlifters may underestimate their importance.  A logical implementation for me is to include them in the program after major competitions but remove them as the competition season gets into full swing.  They can come and go based off of volume of the lifts and as nagging things pop up.

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The Importance of Skill Acquisition in Powerlifting

Written by Kevin Cann

 

USAPL Northeast Regionals just wrapped up this past weekend.  We had 18 lifters compete.  This meet was run very well with some very strict judging.  I loved this.  This was a great opportunity for some of the newer lifters to get a taste of what it is like to be on a bigger stage.

 

It was also a good opportunity for those that have never competed at Nationals, but will be, to get a feel for what it will be like.  This Regional meet has come a long way in just a few short years.  I am going to encourage my lifters to do it every year.

 

We did very well.  We had 2 open winners and 6 total top 5 finishes. We hit a lot of PRS in spite of missing quite a few lifts.  I was far more aggressive with my attempt selection than I was in the past.  Big events are for big weights and big opportunities.

 

A few of the lifters had HUGE days.  Jess Ward won the 72kg weight class and finished 5thoverall with 703 IPF points (and she missed a lift).  Kerry won her weight class, but there are some things we need to work on.  Good to know on a bad day she can still hit her best ever total which was good for 10that Nationals, just wait for a good day.

 

Alyssa competed the weekend before.  In the past Alyssa has always fizzled by the time deadlifts rolled around.  The weekend before she hit a 20kg total PR. She missed her 3rdsquat and 3rdbench at Regionals.  She was definitely tired by this point.  She then went out and hit a lifetime deadlift PR on her 3rd. That is a competition skill PR right there and very important to see.

 

Kelly is still a newer lifter.  She has done a few local meets and has been able to get away with a few things.  When we saw the judging assignments for Regionals, we knew we had to tighten up a few things.  Her squat on that platform would not get whites where it has gotten whites in the past.  She had to put it a bit lower.

 

Each week we handled singles and just practiced putting them deeper.  Kelly then went out onto the platform and put a weight on her back that she hadn’t touched since March, and when she did it would not have been a passing squat at this competition.  She put it right where she needed to and hit a good strong 3rdattempt. She went 9/9 and had a big total PR on a very tough stage.

 

Daniel is another one I want to highlight.  Daniel missed all of his singles leading up to the competition.  He had a very tough training block.  Daniel saw a decline in his sumo deadlift performance, but we were able to switch to conventional to hit an all-time PR.  However, all other things just seemed to be trending in the wrong direction leading to the meet.

 

We had a good talk and Daniel is not scared to miss.  This is why missing reps is important.  It is a skill to learn to miss reps.  You learn how to handle them.  Daniel ended up going 9/9 and hitting PRs on all 3 of his lifts.  He turned what seemed like a down training block into one really good day on the platform.

 

These were not the only ones that did well, but ones I wanted to highlight for the purpose of this article.  They all showed a high level of skill within the sport.  These were numbers they have hit under all circumstances; this strength is stable.

 

By all circumstances I am referring to, different foot placements, grips, and stances, as well as under high levels of pressure.  The ones that saw previous bests end up as missed lifts all had something in common, they couldn’t do that.

 

Strength, as well as skill, are non-linear processes.  There will be progressions, but also regressions at times.  When one skill regresses there needs to be another skill that comes up and takes its place.

 

We need to develop a strong skillset so that the lifter can solve all problems within the lifts.  For example, Mike D missed his 3rddeadlift at his knees.  Mike pulls sumo and has a best ever gym pull of 670lbs.  Mike can’t pull 600 conventional.  If Mike had a similar conventional pull as his sumo deadlift, he would have the skillset, or strength at those angles, to overcome a slow -moving sumo deadlift off of the floor and to be able to lock it out.  The angles between this deadlift and the conventional deadlift are very similar.

 

Daniel showed that when his sumo deadlift went backwards, he was able to switch to conventional to hit a PR. Sarah was another PPS lifter that had a monster day.  She went 9/9 with a 22.5kg total PR and qualified for Raw Nationals.

 

All of the increases in total came from the squat and deadlift.  Sarah was hitting between 285-300lbs on her squat at all angles, with pauses, and on days she didn’t feel great.  She hit 281lbs in April, but 308lbs at Regionals.  Sarah going into her April meet struggled to pull 300lbs sumo but pulled 330lbs conventional.  This is about a 10% difference.

 

We hammered her sumo deadlift until she was able to pull 330lbs plus.  330lbs was her second and moved like an opener.  She ended up hitting 353lbs for an all-time PR and a bid to Nationals.

 

I am not saying that if a lifter has a huge difference between lifts that they can’t succeed on the platform.  They most certainly can, but from what I am seeing those probabilities decrease.  Mike D had similar numbers under these conditions with squat and bench and those remained stable for the platform.  250kg on the 3rdsquat moved better than it has in the past even.

 

This is not an all or nothing thing either.  Lifters with big differences at different angles may be better or worse at handling platform pressure.  There are a number of things that can explain these differences and play a role in performance.

 

Every weakness will come to the surface at some point.  To quote a video I saw “Momentum is a cruel mistress, always searching for that one thing that you have not prepared for.”  Time for us to take what we learned and begin to prepare for Raw Nationals.

Your Outcomes Are on You

 

Written By Kevin Cann

 

 

We all know this scene. We are training hard, but just not seeing the increase in our numbers like we expected.  In fact, our numbers might be dipping a little bit.  Perhaps we have a competition approaching, or came and went, and our performance was not what we wanted.

 

The first thing that the athlete wants to do is to change the program.  Their first thought is that this program has stopped working for them and they need something else.  Maybe they are working with a coach that listens and decides to completely change things up.

 

This is a sign of immaturity and inexperience on both the coach and the athlete.  I know, because I have been that coach and I have been that athlete.  For one, both the coach and athlete needs to understand that dips in performance are part of the process.

 

100% of every person that takes up the sport of powerlifting will see dips in performance along the way. The overall trend over the bigger picture will be up, but there will be some valleys along the way.

 

One of the PPS lifters sent me this analogy of a woman walking a dog in the park.  The woman is walking in a straight line, this is the long-term trends of strength training.  The dog was all over the place.  The dog was going side to side, sitting down at times, turning around, you get the picture.

 

The dog in this scenario is the day to day, week to week, and month to month fluctuations.  Both the woman and the dog get to the same place at the end of the walk.  The woman in this scenario is a good metaphor for the coach.

 

The coach leads the lifter along this path but allows for those fluctuations that are inevitably going to happen.  I have written and spoke about complex theory and the ebbs and flows of all complex systems.

 

The human is an open complex system.  These ebbs and flows are completely unavoidable.  A dip in performance is not a reason to change anything, or to panic. This is just how things go.  Again, it is 100% inevitable.  It happens to 100% of everyone that competes in this sport.

 

I used to be so amazed at Sheiko’s lack of reaction to me having some down times in training.  He would always say “Just not today.”  He didn’t change what he was doing with me and didn’t react any more than that.

 

This really did not click with me until more recently.  When I was seeing a dip in performance for a couple of weeks I would intervene and change some things up.  This would get progress moving up again.  Going into the meets in April we had some huge total PRs across the board.

 

A lot of these total PRs were over 30kg, and some were 50kg and more.  There were very few under 15kg.  For example, one lifter put 35kg on his total in 4 months, and 3 months later he is looking at a smaller 5kg total PR.

 

I had another lifter put 37.5kg on his total from Regionals last year to April of this year, and now he is also looking at a small 5kg total PR.  42.5kg over the course of the year on the total is very good, it just so happened the majority of those numbers were front loaded in the last 12 months.

 

These situations do not require the coach or the athlete to change anything up.  In fact, changing them up yielded bigger success earlier on, but everything balances out in the end.  Intervening will mean that there will be unforeseen consequences later on. We can’t just continue to put 35kg on our totals every few months.  It just does not work that way.

 

Things have been going well in the bigger picture.  Of course we will make some adjustments with exercise selection to work on a few things, perhaps frequencies to get some extra work, but nothing major needs to be adjusted.

 

When lifters and coaches drastically change things under these circumstances it is a missed opportunity. It is a missed opportunity to learn to embrace the downs the same way as you embrace the ups.

 

It is easy to get after it and hit PRs when confidence is high, it is much more difficult to keep the effort high when motivation is low, and performance is down.  This teaches the lifter discipline.  It also forces them to learn to love other aspects of the sport besides the weight on the bar.

 

If a lifter only cares about weight on the bar they will not last very long in this sport.  This is due to the inevitable decreases in performance. This will peak frustration and eventually the frustration will win.

 

All too often these lifters jump from coach to coach and program to program.  This is going to lead to inevitable failure as well.  It is not the coach’s fault or the program’s fault.  The answer to the “problem” lies within the lifter.

 

The lifter needs to acknowledge and accept that there will be decreases in performance along the way. The lifter needs to look inside themselves and understand that they need to keep working hard, and this is an opportunity to work on their mental game for the sport.

 

The lifter needs to learn to love the downs as much as the ups.  This will allow the effort to stay high, and for long-term success to occur. Learning to enjoy training beyond the weight on the bar allows the lifter to have fun, and having fun keeps them training and brings PRs.

 

Those periods of training hard when things do not seem to be going well train a work ethic that will lead to greater long-term success as well.  Drastically changing things up does not allow for this learning and maturation process of the lifter to occur.  Long term trends of the lifter will probably be the same no matter what program they run or what coach they hire if they learn to enjoy training, work hard, and make good decisions.

Attractors, Distractors, and Cognitive Penetrability

Written by Kevin Cann

 

When I have explained a Dynamic Systems Theory (DST), I have mentioned the term attractors.  An attractor in a dynamic system is actually a mathematical model where the system always seems to end up at this numerical point regardless of the initial conditions.

 

When we look at skill acquisition an attractor state is the chosen technique from an athlete under competition requirements.  For example, when the squat gets heavy the lifter pitches forward out of the hole.

 

We could perform a bunch of lighter weight squats that look good, but this often does not change the attractor state as it does not take into account the emotions of the lifter. Emotions come into the lift when it gets heavy.  I think what we often see is when an athlete becomes nervous, they speed things up in their mind and we see a loss of position.

 

Emotions are a distractor to the task at hand and they alter how we perform these tasks.  To further explain, we need to understand how attention works.  Our brain is sifting through a ridiculous amount of information.

 

Think of everything in your visual field when you look somewhere.  If we lacked attention, we would not have spatial awareness and we would not be able to combine light into colors and objects.  It would be impossible for us to perceive the world.

 

Our brain uses attention to focus on specific objects that give our world context.  Our brain predicts what we will see before we even turn our heads to look.  We will focus (attention) on the objects that we expect to see.  These objects will give our world context in spatial and object recognition.

 

Distractors would be anything that pulls our attention away.  Perhaps in the scenario above we hear a loud crash behind us.  This would get us to turn our head quickly as we may be predicting there was an accident.  Imagine if we were attempting to throw a ball at a target.

 

We see the target and everything around it kind of fades out of view.  Then we hear that same crash.  Our attention has gone from the target and the task at hand to seeing if there was an accident.  Or maybe we are driving along, and a person darts out in front of the car and we slam on our breaks.

 

This happens with training. Our system cannot distinguish between our targets and distractors, no matter how involved in a task we are. This allows the system to remain responsive to any unexpected dangers.

 

As a coach we can tell a lifter to slow down and control the squat as much as we want, but it most likely will not work until we alter the task constraints.  The lifter is too open to the signal of the distractors, which pull the lifter into the desired attractor state of a squat with the pitching forward.

 

In order to destabilize this attractor state the lifter needs to learn to deal with the distractors. This is why the individual is a constraint we need to take into consideration.  Their emotions, beliefs, perceptions, and past experiences are all tied to this attractor state.

 

The more a lifter experiences emotional stress while lifting, the less threat that is perceived with that distractor.  This allows greater attention to be given to the actual task.  If the task is unable to be completed with that pitching forward pattern, and only can be completed with an upright torso, we can begin to destabilize the old attractor state into a new one.

 

Get a group cheering you on and we have all 3 constraints; the individual, the environment, and the task covered.  This is basically using multiple differential equations in the real world.  Math is cool, especially complex math.  Just focusing on the mechanical stress is applying a linear regression to these equations and will yield far less results.

 

This is the theory of cognitive penetrability of perception.  Basically, our psychological factors influence our perceptual experiences. We perceive the world, and we perceive movement before it occurs.  This is where I believe the majority of our attention (see what I did there?) should be focused.

 

There is this old dogma, that breakdowns in the lifts are caused by individual weak muscle groups. This believes that the body performs a task as a sum of all of the muscles added together.  I just do not see how this can actually be true.

 

I think this became a dogma because we can measure muscle contraction in the lab.  We cannot measure psychological factors or perception in the same way.  The brain controls the coordination of the muscles.  This is why we can’t just do accessories and the big 3 go up.

 

The argument is that the accessories in combination with the big 3 work.  This may work in some cases by altering expectations.  If the lifter expects it to work, believes it will work, and has done exercises in combination with the big 3 before with success, it can work.  However, I will argue that it works for psychological factors and not mechanical ones.

 

Similar hypertrophy can be seen across a wide range of loads, even as low as 20% of 1RM, as long as we are training at or near maximal.  I do not buy the theoretical argument that a bigger muscle has greater capacity to contract.

 

I believe that a stronger mind gives that muscle a greater ability to contract.  If I train at greater than 85% of 1RM at or near failure, and someone trains at 20% at or near failure, our muscle increases will be similar, but strength will not.  The million-dollar question is “why?”

 

This doesn’t mean that you do some Jedi mind tricks and your total goes up, although it helps.  You train at heavier weights and your perceived efforts change over time because you are pushing them and challenging them. If a lift feels like an RPE 9, but everyone says to go up, and you go up and hit it you are altering your perceived effort.  Your brain needs to update its priors on what an RPE 9 is.

 

I run variations in a pretty linear fashion.  I think each week this helps the perceptions of the lifter.  If I take 400lbs for 5, I know I can take 420lbs for 4, and 435lbs for 3, and so on.  Chances are the lifter was capable of hitting that new 1RM weeks earlier, but their mind was not ready to do it.  It is not like we get to a single with a 20lb PR and that just happened from tapering volume and supercompensation.  It got the mind ready to handle the new weights.

 

We hit these PRs often with much better technique.  My theory is that the emotional stress was no longer a distractor.  That distractor has changed to much higher weights now.  With less fear and less nerves, the lifter is able to put more attention to the task and complete it at a higher level.

 

This can work in the other direction as well.  We know that training is not linear.  What explains a down performance day?  Many will just argue it is mechanical stress leading to it.  Fatigue is a common villain.  This does not make sense to me either.

 

There is no physiological explanation for a drop-in performance.  Studies showing peripheral fatigue days after a hard training session are looking at voluntary muscle contraction.  What controls voluntary muscle contraction?  The brain.

 

How does the brain alter perceived effort?  It analyzes all of these feedback loops and makes a decision.  This includes expectations, beliefs, mood, past experiences, outside stress, sleep, energy, etc.  This can be trained.  The lifter can also be educated and given tasks that violate those expectations and beliefs.  Sometimes they hit PRs when they feel like shit.

 

I am not saying that peripheral fatigue does not exist.  It most certainly does, but more in endurance events than a hard set of squat, bench, or deadlift.  Higher volume programs will most likely come with more measurable peripheral fatigue than high intensity programs.  Another reason why I prefer intensity.  People seem to get more banged up from the higher volumes in my experiences.

 

When we lift heavy in variations that punish inefficient positions, we are getting more bang for our buck. This is deliberate practice versus more practice.  You don’t need 10,000 hours if you train more adequately for competition and it all starts with perceptions.

Creating Your Own System

 

Written by Kevin Cann

 

I coach quite a few other coaches.  I love doing this as I feel it is a way to give back to all of those that have helped me along the way.  I have a few personal trainers that are looking to get into coaching strength athletes as well.

 

This is pretty cool. To see people like the sport so much that they want to coach it.  This truly makes me happy.  What would not make me happy is saturating an already saturated market with more suboptimal coaching.

 

I feel the advice I have shared with them is worth sharing with everyone.  I did not just decide I wanted to coach powerlifting and began doing all of this unconventional stuff.  No great coach ever started out that way.  Zero of them.

 

You need to learn the basics first.  This does not mean reading some quick blog posts on western periodization and saying, “Got it.”  I don’t care if you think you understand it.  You can’t understand it unless you actually do it.

 

When you actually do it, you need to set it up so you can understand it.  I was fortunate enough to work with Boris Sheiko for over 3 years.  I learned the basics from the best to ever do it. I learned how to track data, how to manipulate that data, and what to look for.  I also learned the technique of the lifts from him, which cannot be understated.

 

I would run things as they were laid out to me, with classifying lifters, recommended number of lifts, average intensities, and exercises for that lifter.  We would test every so often and I could see if it was working or not.

 

As I went through this process, I would get stuck at times.  When progress would stop, I would then wonder why.  I would ask Sheiko questions, as well as some other coaches. I would take that feedback, think about it, read about it, and decide how to apply it.  Once I applied it, I tracked it, and observed it.  Oftentimes it took me a few tries to finally go against my bias and realize that they were right.

 

I would run into a wall again at some point and be forced to ask more questions.  Over years of doing this, I ended up where I am now.  I have been open minded and skeptical throughout the whole process.  I feel I can argue against certain dogmatic ideals because I went through this process.

 

Some of the coaches that I coach want to jump right in and start doing the same things that I have them do in training.  This is awesome as it shows how much they believe in me as a coach and what we are doing as a team.  It is actually pretty cool to see.

 

However, I also want them to succeed as coaches.  A lesson that I learned pretty quickly was that I am not Boris Sheiko.  I do not get the same results from my lifters with his program as he does with his.  I learned that I am a very poor Boris Sheiko, but a decent Kevin Cann.

 

My fear is that my lifters will attempt to coach my programs and not see the best results for their lifters. They understand this as we have had this conversation many times.  They also must put in the work and fail many times before they can succeed.

 

This can be intimidating for a coach, but it forces you to develop a relationship with your lifters. Kerry, Dave, Emo Danielle, and a few that came after them have been through every one of these failures with me. They are still here, and I am truly grateful for them sticking by me.

 

This is absolutely crucial, however.  Every failure I have had over the years has brought me greater success, and every failure I continue to have will hopefully do the same.  I am still trying to figure this shit out.

 

If someone is trying to mimic what I do, they are mimicking an unfinished copy.  This makes it even more difficult to see the results that the coach desires.  I use my own experiences and education to make intuitive decisions.  This is another reason why I could not be as good as Sheiko at running his own program.

 

Each coach needs to develop their own system that fits their expectations and beliefs.  We talk a lot about this stuff with training, that expectations and beliefs are part of the skill of strength.  This is also true for the skill of coaching.

 

This takes years to accomplish.  Sheiko told me that world level lifters need to world level coaches (he never mentioned anything about programming here).  I asked him how to get there and he said to think about powerlifting 20 hours a day.  I have literally done that.

 

I think about everything I see in the gym over short- and longer-term periods.  I think about attempting to understand them and how to make them better. I get ideas and I begin going through the literature to see where I can get some answers.  Believe it or not, more of my thoughts get dissolved pretty quickly when doing this.  The world only hears a fraction of a percent of my crazy thoughts that make it through the vetting process.

 

If a newer coach skips these steps, they will not have the long-term success that many of them dream of. There are no faster routes.  I sacrifice a lot as well.  I know how competitive this field is.  There are not too many full-time powerlifting coaches for a reason.  I am fortunate enough that that is all I do.

 

However, I work about 12 hours a day Monday through Friday, and every spare second, I get on the weekends I am reading about this stuff.  I never stop thinking about it.  It requires this type of effort to be an elite athlete and I will bet my life on it that it takes the same to be an elite coach.

 

I am not elite yet.  I have only been doing this for a little over 4 years (powerlifting specifically, I have 15 years of total coaching experience that has taught me a lot too).  I will be elite though.  There are zero doubts in my mind.  I have never been so sure of anything else in my life.  Writing this now it makes me realize that my focus has always been on being an elite coach and not an athlete in this sport.  I am sure this works against my total.  When I played soccer, or the mma thing, I thought non-stop about being a better athlete.  Perhaps those sports were preparing me to coach.

 

I say this in light of all the internet heroes talking shit about how we do things.  I don’t give a fuck about them.  It also takes not giving a fuck to put yourself out there and be ok with being wrong.

 

To quote Conor McGregor “If you can see it and you have the confidence to say it out loud, it will happen.” While they are worried about talking shit about me, I am worried about coming up with a plan to make us stronger than everyone else.  I am telling you; it will happen.  They can share this with negative comments so it can be in their archives so that when it happens, they can be reminded each year about what they said.

 

I think often that coaches will latch onto someone else’s system in fear of some of this negativity that comes about.  If you want to be a great coach you need to detach yourself from this fear, and know you are going to be wrong many times, but these failures all come together to produce high level success.

 

It is easy to regurgitate words.  Anyone can do that.  The ones that are willing to be wrong and tell you what they actually know are the ones that end up being great.