Category Archives for "Weightlifting"

Mash Method to Improve the Olympic Lifts

Some of you have probably read my free eBook Mash Method.

If you haven’t, I will give you a quick summary. In the book we talk a lot about postactivation potentiation and several of the ways we use the method to set new personal records. So what is postactivation potentiation (PAP)?

Postactivation potentiation (what we call the Mash Method) is defined as: a theory that states the contractile history of a muscle influences the performance of subsequent muscle contractions.

In other words – the theory says the muscles remember the most recent contractions, and that memory can positively affect the next contraction. For example, I can work up to 95% of my back squat and then perform a heavy walkout with 110% of my best back squat. At that point I load 102% on the bar and squat it, and the theory is the body will be firing the muscle fibers necessary to squat 110% since you performed the walkout with that amount. As you can see, it just has to be something similar to the movement that is being tested. There are several different ways to use the theoretical method to set personal records in the big powerlifts (squat, bench press, and deadlift). However, this article is about the ways we are using the method to positively affect the competition lifts in the sport of Olympic weightlifting.

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The Sweet Spot

Before we get into a few of the ways to positively affect the competition lifts with the Mash Method, let’s talk timing as it relates to PAP. The moment you complete the supramaximal movement, PAP is at its peak. The peak will slowly dissipate until it’s completely gone at around five to seven minutes. Based on these parameters, you might think one would want to take the lighter lift the moment the supramaximal effort was completed. The problem is that fatigue is also at its highest. The goal is to find the sweet spot: wait long enough to where fatigue has dropped and won’t negatively effect the lift – but yet we don’t want to wait too long or else the neurological PAP effect will fade away. However, there’s not a lot of documentation about exactly how much time between attempts is optimal. In my experience it varies quite a bit based on the person and the movement being used to elicit the Mash Method response.

I have found somewhere between 60-120 seconds is enough rest to elicit a pretty solid response. If you use something like a heavy walkout for the squat or heavy hold for the bench, you are talking about an isometric contraction only. There isn’t a concentric or eccentric contraction, so it’s easier to recover from. In this case 60 seconds is probably enough. I used to use heavy bands like you might find at https://www.wodfitters.com/ to create the neurological effect. For example blue bands add about two hundred pounds at the top of a squat and deload to around 70-100 pounds at the bottom. If you have a 700-pound squat, you could load 550 pounds on the bar with 200 pounds (at the top) of bands equaling 750 pounds at the top. However, at the bottom of the squat you’re only handling 620-650 pounds, making the lift fairly easy to complete. This is the way I set numerous personal records when I was powerlifting. This technique takes a bit longer to recover from, so I would recommend two to three minutes between the banded attempt and the personal record attempt.

Courtney and the Mash Method

The same parameters would need to be followed with the competition lifts in the sport of Olympic weightlifting. The main reason I wrote this article is because I used PAP to help one of our athletes, Courtney, get a new jerk PR just this week. Not only did she get a new personal record, but she looked way better doing it as well.

Here are some ways we used PAP to improve Courtney’s Olympic lifts.

PAP Method #1 – Jerk Dip Squats with Jerks

A jerk dip squat is an awesome way of overloading the rack position. The athlete will simply load heavy weight on the bar, assume the jerk rack position, and then bend the knees four to six inches (like in the power position) and drive up without jerking the weight. You will want to focus on keeping a tight position in the torso with your weight in the middle of your foot. The key is a nice rhythm, making sure to properly use bar oscillation. You will warm up with the jerk and then begin the jerk dip squat before the heavy sets. Here’s the way we did it this week:

Jerk + Jerk Dip Squats: Work up to opener jerk, add 10kg for 3 JDSs, 2nd attempt x 1, add 10kg for 3 JDSs, PR attempt

PAP Method #2 – Jerk Dip Squats with Clean and Jerk

We used the jerk dip squats with Courtney’s clean and jerks as well, and the technical efficiency of her jerk was definitely affected in a positive way. We programmed it on a whim, just like in the above example. PAP helps with efficiency just as much as it helps with athletes hitting new personal records. Most coaches would agree establishing more efficient movement patterns is just as important as occasionally beating your PR.

Clean and Jerk + Jerk Dip Squats: 88% x 2, add 20kg for 3 JDSs, 90%x2, add 20kg for 3 JDSs, 93% x 1, add 20kg for 3 JDSs, 95% x1

PAP Method #3 – Snatch or Clean and Jerk Waves

I mentioned efficiency in the second example, but this PAP method works on efficiency even more. With waves, an athlete will work up to a heavy set. Then they will wave down to a lighter set and work back up. Most athletes will experience more efficient reps during the second and/or third wave up. Sometimes an increase in efficiency on the lighter sets will still lead to personal records during the second or third wave. Here’s an example of the way we program waves:

Snatch
wave one: 73% 1×2, 78%x2, 83% x 1, 75%x2, 80% x1, 85% x1, 88% x1, 1RM if feeling good
wave two: 75% 1×2, 80%x1, 83% x 1, 85%x1, 78%x2, 83% x1, 88% x1, 90% x1, work to a 1RM if feeling good
Clean and Jerk
wave one: 73% 1×3, 78%x2, 83% x 1, 75%x2, 80% x2, 85% x1, 88% x1, work up if no misses to second attempt only
wave two: 75% 1×2, 80%x1, 83% x 1, 85%x1, 78%x2, 83% x1, 88% x1, 90% x1, work to a 1RM if feeling good

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Putting this into practice

Postactivation potentiation isn’t something new, and I am not trying to say I came up with the concept. However, I think I use this method a bit more than most coaches, and I have noticed success both personally and for my athletes. We call it the Mash Method for a reason. I recommend using discretion when prescribing this method to your athletes. Waves are pretty standard, but the other examples or any new ideas I might have sparked should be reserved for times when an important meet isn’t in the near future.

But sometimes like this week, this is exactly what Courtney needed to push her over the hump and hit a personal record. I don’t recommend ever being satisfied with your results. If you PRed in three to four months, you might want to get a bit creative and get over that hump. Heck we’ve used this method during a competition by hitting a heavy pull before attempting a maximum on the competition platform.

I recommend tracking the following data:

  • The specific athlete
  • Time rested between heavy set and lighter set
  • Result

With just a bit of data, you will be able to develop parameters that work for each individual. The key is understanding how much rest is optimal for an individual athlete to maximize PAP and minimize fatigue. I hope this article helps all of you crush it just a bit more. I know the research is inconclusive, but I can promise we have used this method to break through countless ceilings. I’ll take practical experience over research any day.

Crazy Cal Strength Stories and More with Uncle Charles Shipman – The Barbell Life 259

“Uncle” Charles Shipman worked with Jon North at a globo gym. One fateful day, Jon talked to Charles about this obscure sport known as Olympic weightlifting.

The rest is history.

Charles was there for the glory days of Cal Strength with Jon North and Donny Shankle, so we get to talk all about the crazy stories today – plus we get to talk to Charles about all that he’s learned as a great weightlifting coach.

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LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • Donny Shankle yelling at an awkward kid
  • Why BAD athletes make the BEST coaches
  • The most underrated movement that all weightlifters should do
  • How experienced lifters end up thinking just like beginning lifters
  • Why weightlifting can be such a dark, dark sport
  • and more…

Video: Correcting the First Pull

Welcome to the start of what I’m doing on IGTV! Follow me on Instragram to stay up to date.

This first IGTV video is about some drills we use to fix common mistakes in the first pull. It’s crucial to get this first pull correct because it obviously sets up the other two pulls.

Enjoy!

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Dr. Charlie Weingroff on Squat Debates – The Barbell Life 257

Dr. Charlie Weingroff is a powerlifter and a movement specialist.

Those two don’t normally go hand-in-hand… but today they do.

Charlie joins me today to talk about the finer points of squat technique. One of the things I really love about Charlie is that he’s all about the data – all about the science.

So listen in to this one to hear about the real truth when it comes to squatting.

FORGET OPINIONS ON THE SQUAT. HERE'S THE SCIENCE.

TRAVIS MASH'S SQUAT SCIENCE

After combing through the research and interviewing the experts, the result is a guide that will refine your technique and boost your squat in a safe and effective manner.

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • How your neck positioning in the squat can relate to back pain
  • What Louie Simmons taught him about reverse hypers
  • Why he has basketball players front squat
  • The often unrecognized best bench presser of all time
  • Disagreements about the box squat
  • and more…

Senior Nationals and Lessons Learned by Crystal McCullough

This article is long overdue, but I’ve had a hard time putting in to words my experience from Senior Nationals.

I do not pretend to be a subject matter expert, even in my own field, as I am still very much a student of the sport. I have been blessed with amazing mentors and opportunities. I began coaching CrossFit in 2012 and found that as much as I liked coaching it, I LOVED weightlifting. I started seeking out people to learn from in 2013. I was privileged enough to learn from Don McCauley while he was at MDUSA. He is a man who has always been willing to teach anyone who is willing to learn. I took what I learned from him back to a small barbell group I had in my CrossFit gym. Then something happened that I didn’t see coming.

Joining Mash

Most of you don’t know the story behind how Morgan and I became associated with Mash Elite.

I knew of Mash Elite Performance and Travis on social media. If you knew anything about weightlifting, you pretty much knew who he was. We had even been to a couple of events, including the first Strength Spectacular in 2015, but we had never met him. In November of 2015, Travis posted a video of Matt Wininger – and I commented. I honestly don’t remember what I said, but it prompted Travis to send me a direct message and the rest is history. I won’t bore you with details of the next two years, so fast forward to now.

I know I kind of fell into my current coaching position. I feel 100% I deserve it – however, the circumstances that I came into it are horrible. We found out right after Youth Nationals last year that Don had brain cancer. Within a month or so, he had moved back to Florida with his family to fight the cancer. Although I have been coaching with Mash Elite for over almost three years, my role expanded in that capacity greatly with Don’s absence. Don has some huge shoes to fill, and I’ve been working my butt off to be worthy.

I am so grateful to Travis for every opportunity he has given me thus far in this sport. To say he is my mentor is an understatement. He has taken me under his wing and taught me so much over these last three years. He took a gamble with me last year as his co-coach and I cannot thank him enough.

Better Coaching

Before we get into the details of the meet, I want to go over a few points I have learned so far in my career. Our goal at Mash Elite is to inform the rest of you coaches, so that the entire sport of weightlifting is moving forward – not just our team. USA Weightlifting should be a family working toward making America – as a whole – better at our beautiful sport. Here are some points that will help all of you become better at coaching our sport:

  1. Never allow yourself to get to a place where you think you know it all. Continue to seek out others to learn from. Once you get to a point you don’t think anyone else can teach you anything, you might as well hang up your coaching hat. There is always something to be learned from others – either how to or how not to do something. Coaches who are so set in their ways and close-minded aren’t helping their athletes by any means, and they are doing their athletes a disservice. Be the coach who continues to seek out knowledge no matter where you are at in your career!
  2. Networking is a big part of this game and it is important to ‘know people’ – but being fake or befriending others for the sake of what they can do for you is not the way to do it. When you see me smiling and laughing with other coaches and athletes, that’s just me. I love my job and I love connecting with others. It isn’t calculated to get an edge or pry out information. If I am talking to you and laughing with you, I like you. Unfortunately, not everyone is genuine. I even hate to say it, but I’ve experienced it firsthand. I can’t stand people who are fake! People will see through the fakeness eventually. Just be genuine and make relationships, not contacts!
  3. Keep your challenge card for the session on you at all times! I witnessed a seasoned coach lose a challenge due to not having their card on them. You have a very small window to challenge a lift. Once the weight on the bar has been changed, the clock has started, or the next lifter is on the stage, you have lost your window. That card better be on your person and you better be ready to throw it when needed.
  4. Regardless if it is a one-minute or two-minute clock, you only have the first 30 seconds to make the first attempt declaration. I messed up on a third attempt and let the clock run past the 30 seconds and we were stuck at the same weight. In the end it didn’t matter because we were only going to go up a kilo and we would have still stayed on our two-minute clock anyway. I’m thankful I learned my lesson in the scenario I did, because it would have been horrible if it was a situation where a medal or team was on the line!
  5. Whether or not an athlete wants to take a lift in the back between attempts due to sitting too long, take control and make them. There was a situation where an athlete I was coaching warmed up perfectly to their openers on both snatch and clean and jerk, but they were having to sit for too many attempts between first and second and second and third attempts. We suggested a lighter power and/or pull to keep the flow going every three attempts and the athlete said no – they were good. In the moment, I was frustrated at the athlete. But, it was my back room and I should have forced the issue and told them they were doing it. In the end, the athlete went 2/6 and I feel like the long waits between attempts played a role in the misses.
  6. Adapt to your athletes and not the other way around. I learned this from Travis a long time ago. No two athletes are the same, and part of your job is to figure out each of your athletes – this goes for training and competition. You have to adapt programs for individuals based on their needs and capabilities. Different athletes require more volume, less volume, longer tapers, shorter tapers, etc. It is a process, and it takes a few training cycles and meet preps to figure athletes out, so don’t get frustrated. In the back room, some athletes want to joke and interact with people while others want to have earbuds and get in their own heads. Learning what the athlete needs in the back room is crucial. I found some athletes want hand signals and body language to get a point across because they don’t want any external stimuli, whereas joking and conversation keeps some others calm and focused. Treat them as individuals!
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  8. “I am capable!” When you are a newer coach, you might have issues with confidence and wonder if you are good enough. As long as you care about your athletes and have their best interest at heart, the rest can be learned. Seeking out mentors is probably one of the most important parts of a coach’s journey. Each athlete you coach and each meet you go to will build your confidence. I think a lot about my own journey, from the beginning to where I am now, and how I have been blessed with amazing mentors. Sometimes, it feels like a dream. Most people don’t know my journey or how I’ve gotten to where I’m at. That is partially my fault, but I don’t want anyone thinking I got here for any other reason than my own merit. I was a coach long before Morgan became a weightlifter and was coaching him before we even came to Mash. But the outside world only sees what we show them. Not that I care what others think, but this weekend put the naysayers to rest. I am in this position on my own merit and I am exactly where I belong – not because I am someone’s mom. This meet put another notch on my confidence belt!

Meet Recap

Onto the meet recap –

Senior Nationals was my second solo meet without Travis. My first solo meet was The American Open Finals 2018. That was a mixed weekend with a couple of unfortunate bomb outs and a podium medal. The weekend didn’t sit well with me as I feel like we win together and we lose together. My heart hurt for the ones whose weekend didn’t go as planned. So this time around, I had some nerves going into Senior Nationals, as I wanted that weekend to go better for the athletes! And of course, I didn’t want to mess it up!

We had six athletes competing at Nationals. Four were on-site athletes and two were remote athletes. There were some huge stakes for two of our on-site athletes, which added quite a bit of pressure. Thankfully, I usually work well under pressure!

FRIDAY LIFTING

Alexis King, one of our remote athletes, was first up in the 49A session. She went 2/6 with a 60kg snatch and 78kg clean and jerk. On her clean and jerks, she was called for a soft elbow on her second attempt at 81kg. There is a new rule in national meets that allows a coach to challenge a lift with their challenge card. I decided to challenge her attempt and actually got a 2:1 vote in our favor – but it has to be unanimous in order for the decision to be overturned.

Jacob Wyatt was next in the 73A session. It was quite a stacked session with the current Youth Olympian Jerome Smith and former Olympian Chad Vaughn. Jacob was a 77 prior and this is only his second meet as a 73. He went 2/6 as well, hitting both of his openers of 120 and 145.

SATURDAY LIFTING

Hunter Elam was the talk of the weekend with her cut to 59! I don’t want to go into much detail on the hows and whys of her cut because that is a story for Hunter to tell. What I will say is that it was the right decision! This was probably the most fun I had all weekend in the back room, if I’m being totally honest.

She was on her game, but she was also chill and having fun. Hunter went 3/6 with the gold medal snatch at 94kg and a gold medal total of 206kg. We opened at a successful attempt at 90kg on the snatch and went to 93kg for her second attempt. She had a close miss behind her… and then there was a decision to be made. In the end, we decided to bump a kilo to hit that gold snatch and also set her up for the clean and jerk. She nailed that third attempt! On the clean and jerks, she smoked the 112kg opener. We went up to 114kg to try to take it first for a shot at gold as well as beating the #1 59 female’s current total. The clean slipped in the catch and we had one more attempt at that point. One of the other lifters hit 114kg, so we decided to try our hand at 115kg. Unfortunately, the bar slipped again. Her total at 206kg was good enough to put her on the Pan American Games team. She also left the weekend with Best Female Lifter!

Side note: one of the most entertaining moments of the weekend is when Hunter made her gold medal snatch attempt and jumped off the stage into my arms!

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December Garcia competed in the 64A session, going 4/6 with an 84kg snatch and 109kg clean and jerk. She has worked hard to battle back from a shoulder injury. With continued hard work and dedication, she has a bright future!

SUNDAY LIFTING

Nathan Damron started us out on Sunday in the 96A session. It’s been a hot minute since he, Jason Bonnick, and Phil Sabatini have competed on the same platform. It made for a great competition! Nathan had an extraordinary meet, hitting gold across the board with a 157kg snatch and a 200kg clean and jerk. We opened at 153kg – and he smoked it! He was at the end of the session, so we had the ability to see what others hit on their third attempts to see what we needed for gold. In the end we went 157kg – which had been a while for Nathan, so it was a victory in and of itself. On his third attempt we went for 161kg, which would have been a meet PR, but it was just a bit out front. On clean and jerks, his opener of 193kg was child’s play. His second attempt of 198kg was a super easy clean and the jerk locked out, but he got a soft elbow in the recovery and dropped it. We were in the same situation with being able to see what others did first before deciding our final attempt. Bonnick took 200kg first and missed it, so we decided to stick with 200kg and Nathan killed it!

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I have no doubt Nathan was good for at least another 5 kilos! With his total, he also secured his place on the Pan American Games team and Best Male Lifter.

HOW NATHAN DAMRON BREAKS RECORDS AGAIN AND AGAIN

The Training and Philosophy of Nathan Damron

World champion and world-class coach Travis Mash outlines the programs and principles behind the training of his stellar athlete, Nathan Damron.

Side Note: I love the camaraderie between the top three guys: Nathan, Jason, and Phil! When it was over, all three shook hands, laughed, and congratulated each other. I can honestly say that women are different. That didn’t happen in Hunter’s session and it makes me sad.

Sam Dowgin, our other remote athlete, closed out the weekend in the 81A session. She competed in a higher weight class previously and is fairly new to the 81s. She went 4/6 hitting an 87kg snatch and 108kg clean and jerk. Both are PRs at this body weight!

Recap and Reminders

To say the weekend went amazing is an understatement! While not everyone met their personal goals, overall the whole team did amazing! I love coaching in general, and I love coaching weightlifting in particular. The back room at a meet is one of the most exciting parts of our jobs. It requires strategy and thinking on your feet. I always learn so much by talking to and observing other coaches.

To recap some lessons learned:

  • Never stop learning and seeking out knowledge from others!
  • Be genuine!
  • Keep your challenge card on your person.
  • Be aware of the 30 second rule on declaring attempts.
  • Be in charge of your back room.
  • Adapt to your athletes.
  • Be confident!

We have been riding the high of this meet for the last couple of weeks. Hunter and Nathan are already hard at work preparing for the Pan American Games. As I have experienced, not every meet is going to be the ultimate meet. Everyone has their ups and downs. I love every single one of our athletes, and I will celebrate with them in their highs and go down with the ship with them in their lows. That is what makes our team so special!

Special thank yous to Morgan ‘Madlifts’ McCullough, Joe Cox of Krypton Barbell, and Sean Rigsby of Heavy Metal Barbell. They helped load and were a second pair of eyes during the weekend when I needed them.

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Why Jamaica Rules the World of Sprinting

I returned last night from one of the most incredible trips of my entire life.

Phil, the CEO of Stronger Experts, and I have been talking about a trip to Jamaica from the very moment I joined the platform. For all of you who don’t know what Stronger Experts is, I will give you a brief explanation. Phil gathered some of the world’s top experts in the areas of weightlifting, powerlifting, strength and conditioning, speed training, nutrition, injury prevention, and rehab. The platform is a one-stop shop for young and aspiring coaches to learn from the best in the business.

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One of the coaches on the platform is Coach Jae Edwards. Jae is a big part of the reason why I joined this platform. He works with some of the top sprinters in Jamaica – including Yohan Blake. I’ve been fascinated by the Jamaican sprinters for quite some time now. I have been dying to understand their training and their mindset. Phil gave all of us that chance.

I was able to arrange for Doug Larson and Anders Varner, my friends from Barbell Shrugged, to come along to document the journey. This guaranteed we would come away with some moments that would encourage and inspire all of you. It also allowed me to co-host one of the most amazing podcasts of my life with Yohan Blake, which brings me to the point of this story.

No Other Option

Yohan explained to us life growing up on the island. Yes, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. However, life on the island for the locals can be one of the hardest existences in the world. Yohan grew up in a one-room house with seven siblings and his parents. Food was hard to come by, which made athletic endeavors much harder for him than the athletes here in the United States.

He didn’t even start out as a sprinter. When he was 16 years old, he was playing cricket and decided to try his hand at sprinting. Luckily he was really good right out of the gate. It’s actually hard to imagine how good he would be if he had started earlier like most of the children in Jamaica – talking to the other track coaches, they start them between four to six years old.

Once Yohan realized he had a gift, he knew he had found a way to change the lives of his entire family. He worked harder than everyone else on the island, to the point Usain Bolt gave him the nickname Beast. He still trains with the same tenacity, and is currently the world’s fastest man after winning the world championships. Yohan also holds the second-fastest time ever recorded for the 100-meter dash – 9.69 seconds. After talking to him over the last few days, there is no way I would vote against him. If you want to hear the entire story, just wait for the episode of Barbell Shrugged to drop.

Here’s my point in telling you this story. Yohan approached sprinting with no other alternative. There was no fall-back plan and no other options. Back at home there was only a one-room house and several disappointed family members awaiting him if he failed. He told us about praying multiple times God would grant him speed. He told us about his mother telling him he was their only hope.

As an athlete growing up in America, I can’t imagine having that kind of pressure on me. He felt the weight of the entire world on his shoulders, and he didn’t let the weight crush him. It’s that pressure that made him unbeatable. Yes they have good coaching in Jamaica, but so do we in America. It’s the fact they don’t have any other option that drives them to succeed at such high levels.

The problem with options

In America, our athletes have so many options. If their sport doesn’t work out, then they will go on with their lives. Heck, most of them realize they will be more financially stable when their sport is over. That really makes it tough for them when training gets hard, and training gets hard for everyone no matter the sport. ‘Options’ are the very reason why athletes fail more often than not in America. Let me explain a little more.

Every year, I have an athlete who reaches out to me about wanting to be an Olympian. I often wonder how they get to that goal. I mean did they watch some old Cal Strength videos, or did they stumble upon some old videos of Pyrros Dimas? Who knows? Yet here they are reaching out to me, saying the exact same things as so many before them. It used to be, if they had a little bit of talent, I would get all excited and have them visit the gym. After my trip to Jamaica, I have a new plan for all the people who reach out to me.

Now I am going to rant a bit, so get ready. Athletes tell me all the time they are willing to do anything to become the best, but their actions don’t match their mouths. Don’t tell me you want to be the best, and then proceed to go out drinking and partying every week. You’re lying to me and to yourself. Don’t tell me you will do whatever it takes, and then quit when training gets hard. If you really want to be the best, keep reading.

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What it takes

If you really want to be one of the best athletes in the world, you are going to have to give up all partying. You are going to have to take responsibility for your own nutrition. You are going to need ten hours of sleep every night. Recovery is your responsibility. You will need to find the best chiropractor, physical therapist, and massage therapist. You will need to buy Marc Pro for the inflammation. If you aren’t getting something in practice, you will need to do whatever it takes to understand the deficiency. Maybe you need some extra practice. Maybe you need two-a-days until you get it. Maybe you need to do a little extra homework.

You will need to practice harder and smarter than every other person on this planet. Things are going to get hard, really hard. That’s a promise. You are going to regress at times. You are going to plateau at times. Some of that is a planned response by your coach, and some is a dark place where all athletes will venture. It’s in the darkness where you will experience pain and sadness. Your body will hurt like you are a 50-year-old crippled person. You will get depressed. You will think it’s never going to happen. All of these things I promise are going to happen.

It’s in this darkness you will come face to face with the true you. This can be the loneliest place in the world because you are going to be faced with questions some of you don’t really want to answer:

  • Am I really good enough to be at the top of my chosen sport?
  • Am I really willing to do what it takes to make it in my chosen sport?
  • Is my sport worth pushing through this terrible pain?
  • Am I tough enough to push through this plateau?

Making that decision

For some of you, it’s simply a reality check. You might not be cut out to be the best, and that’s okay. Some of you will learn to simply enjoy the sport. However, for all of you who really have what it takes, you will be faced with the hardest decision of your life. If you quit now, you will probably quit when things get tough for the rest of your life. Nothing great in life ever comes easy, and that’s why athletes who make it to the very top are so darn special. They are special in the same way amazing entrepreneurs are special or incredible inventors.

The rest of this article is especially to the athletes who are about to reach out to me in the future. I want you to contemplate this article and the question above. I know it seems sexy when you see my athletes wearing Team USA on their chests. I know it seems cool traveling around the world lifting weights against the best athletes in the world. However that’s less than 1% of what really goes on. Are you ready for the work that’s really required? Are you willing to stay at home while others go out partying? Are you willing to take control of your nutrition and recovery?

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Here’s the thing. I am no longer willing to coach someone who isn’t willing to match their action with their goals and talents. I have too many great athletes who are willing to put in the work and time. I don’t have the time for trouble cases who aren’t willing to accept the help and coaching. The Jamaicans are willing to do whatever it takes. Are you? I mean are you really?

Yohan Blake didn’t have a choice. That makes it a bit easier to stay focused. For the rest of us who have choices, we must be disciplined. You have to want to succeed more than anything else in the entire world. If there is something else you would rather be doing, then go do that and forget about sport.

I know this article isn’t my normal science based ‘how to’ article, but it’s the truth all of you need to hear. Don’t tell me you were already thinking like this because I watch too many of you come and go. Be honest with yourself! It’s okay to play a sport for fun. However, when you tell a coach like me you want to be the best in the world, then I expect the best work ethic and discipline in the world. If I don’t get just that, you can find another coach.

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