“Mama always had a way of explaining things so I could understand them.”- Forrest
Now, although it is not my mothers birthday (far from it) and mother’s day has since but past (in hind sight, this would have made a wonderful mothers day post), I was sitting at dinner trading stories about me being the A.D.D child I was and testing my mothers patience, and how, through everything that is good in this world and possibly thousands of hours of prayer, she was able to teach me lessons that at the time made no sense, but in thinking back, how all these lessons seem to have come full circle and now apply to my coaching life!
“No, Colonial Sanders, your wrong! Mamas right!” – Bobby Bushay
Learn by doing
Like I said, as a child I had the rather annoying ability to test my mothers patience. She loves to tell the story of me reaching to touch the stove, her telling me “No baby, that is hot” and me looking at her and continuing to reach for it; her reply “Okay, you will learn”. While this might seem crazy, know that I have full function of my hand and everything is okay.
The thing about this is that, as humans, we learn the most by doing!
As soon as you make a mistake, the process to correct it for next time starts, and I take this approach with my athletes.
If you have ever had a coach, you know that their are times where you think what you are doing will get you to where you want to be, despite what your coach might be saying. Now, as a coach the need to constantly correct kicks in, but sometimes, the cues don’t really transfer over to the athlete, and this is where letting them learn on their own time is beneficial. Now, please do not interpret my words as me letting my athletes hurt themselves or do something that is not possible, this is not what I mean. Rather, the intention is for them to learn to feel what you are saying:
The cue “Push into the bar” that I often use for the back squat sometimes gets over looked, causing the athlete to push their butt into the air and pulling their chest down, which finally results in not being able to complete the lift. Now, in time, using the cue and showing them what the cue means, they are able to learn through trial and error that it is easier to push into the bar, thus bring their hips through, and ultimately putting more weight up! Now, every time they get under the bar to back squat, the first thing that goes through their mind, is to push into the bar and engage their glutes!
Thus, they have taken a trial and error method to the back squat, no one is hurt, and in doing so they have learn better than they would have from constantly holding their hand (i.e over-coaching)
Men are what their mothers made them. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Play with the big boys, your going to get hurt
Far to often do athletes dive into a program head first, watching videos of what others are capable of and wanting to be at that same level tomorrow!
When I received my first pair of roller blades, I had just watched the movie Brink, and in doing so thought that it would be cool to bomb the big hill outside of our house. Now, my mother warned me that maybe it was a little soon and I should learn the basics and get comfortable on my own feet first, but what fun is that right?
Needless to say, I ended up falling halfway down the hill, rolling and banging all the way to the bottom. As I hobbled into the house, half crying and half embarrassed, my mom looked at me and asked “Are you okay”, through sniffling I responded with a “yes”, and the next phrase that came out of her mouth I will never forget, she said “Honey, you have to know that if you want to play with the big boys, you are going to get hurt”.
To this day, I myself, still have a hard time taking a step back and enjoying the process of growing slow and steady. However, know that this is the best way to remain injury free, continue to PR, and enjoy weightlifting in its entirety!
My advice: find a coach that can design a program that not only continues to challenge you, but builds you a solid foundation and grows you from there!
Nothing will ever beat hard work
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”
― Beverly Sills
Although, out of all the lessons I learned from my mom, the most important and the one that has brought me to where I am today, is that nothing will every beat hard work. As a single parent the second half of my childhood, she often worked a numerous amount of overtime, still came home to cook dinner most every night, and was heavily involved in all of my Boy Scout en-devours (which filled every Tuesday night and 2 weekends a month). The most inspiring part about all of it was that she might have complained, she might have been tired, and she might have been on edge, but the one thing she never, ever did was STOP.
The point being, that you will always have more talented athletes. You will always compete against those that in comes easy to or that are just built for the sport. You will come up against adversity and there will always be times where you question your ability and your want to continue. You will miss lifts, you will break down, and you will want to crawl in a corner and stay. You might be on top of the world one day and injured and rehabbing the next. The biggest thing to remember when these small specs of time come along, is that HARD WORK WILL ALWAYS WIN OUT.
When those that are more gifted get lazy, hard work will pay off. When those that are built for the sport become lax, hard work will push you to the top. When you miss those lifts and break down, you will be able to look back and see how far you have come and know this is just an obstacle in the road toward your greatness. Finally, if you get injured and feel down, know that this is but a scratch and that if you choose to never stop growing, you will come back; you will be stronger; and because of your hard work, you will beat those that took it for granted!
So look back at all those silly lessons that your parents told you as a child. Think about all the times that they scolded or corrected you. Reflect on all the major turning points in your life. In doing this, think about how these continue to help shape the person you have become and see if you can apply them to your lifting to continue to grow in your journey to greatness!
Now go out and lift some heavy weights, it’s Max Out Friday!