“Learning from the Youth” by Coach Jacky Bigger, MS

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Learning from the Youth

by Coach Jacky Bigger

As many of you probably already know, our Mash youth lifters absolutely KILLED it this past weekend at the youth National Championships. Every single one of them went at least 4 for 6 or better and there were lots of medals earned. We even have two lifters with a really good shot at making the Pan Am team. I’m always trying to improve myself as an athlete, so as I was watching my teammates crush weights on the live stream, I got to thinking… What are they doing right? What can I be doing better? What can I learn from these young athletes? With much pondering, and observing of these young athletes I’ve come up with several things.

First and probably the most important is that these young athletes trust their coaches and trust the programming 100%. They come to the gym each day and do exactly what’s on the programming, or exactly what Coach Don and Coach Travis tell them to do. No more, no less and no questions asked. They listen to the coaching cues given and do their best to make the corrections immediately. They know their coaches love and care about them and want them to succeed more than anything in the world. Honestly, I don’t even think it crosses their mind to questions the programming or anything their coaches are telling them for that matter. If coach Travis were to tell Morgan McCullough to stand on his head for a minute before attempting his next clean and jerk, he’d do it without hesitation.

Having a degree in exercise science and being a coach myself, I often times find myself questioning the programming and questioning my coaches. This itself is a problem. I have coaches for a reason. They’re smarter than I am, have been in the sport longer then I have and have produced many great athletes! I sometimes have to take a step back and put myself in check. Who am I to question these brilliant people? I’ve chosen Coach Travis and Coach Don for a reason. I believe them to be the best in the business. I’ve seen and experienced 1st hand the results their programs produce, so why wouldn’t I put my complete trust in them like these youth athletes do?

The next thing I’ve noticed is that these youth athletes work REALLY hard, and more importantly, they never complain. They enjoy every second of training and absolutely love the sport. I was watching Ryan Grimsland and Morgan train yesterday. They have obviously just gotten done competing so Coach Travis was having them do some unconventional non- weightlifting things. He had them outside doing what looked like one of the most brutal circuits he could have come up with. It included things like farmers carries, overhead carries, prowler pushes, and lunges, all done back to back with no rest. You could see they were clearly working, and it was brutal. Their faces were bright red, they were breathing hard and sweating like pigs. However, not once did I hear a single one of them complain. They worked through it like champions, because that’s exactly what they are.

We also have this newer boy in our gym, Amir, he’s one of the hardest working athletes I’ve ever seen. He gets to the gym, gets started right away, he doesn’t need any direction on what he should be doing. He has the program so he knows exactly what to do. He does his same warm-up routine every day, and always gets started on his own. He works through the programming and moves from one exercise to the next without any instruction other than some coaching cues here and there. He doesn’t need any external motivation, because the motivation come from within and man is this kid making massive progress! Many of us, including myself could learn from the mindsets of the young lifters. Which bring me to my next observation.

These kids are fearless. They approach each weight like they’re about to dominate and crush it, every time. They know that the number on the bar isn’t a limiting factor, because they know that they are constantly learning and growing and have so much more progress to make. They don’t get too excited about their PR’s because they know that there will be many more to come. They don’t put limits on themselves and are definitely never scared of more weight. Yes, it could be easy to justify this by saying that these kids are still growing, still learning so the PR’s will fall like rain. But I think the PR’s keep coming like rain, because these kids believe that they will and never put any limitations on themselves. Imagine if you believed in yourself the same way that these kids do. What could you be capable of?

The last thing I’ve seen while watching these boys train, is that they’re humble and they support each other. This may not seem like such a big deal for success in the sport of weightlifting, but I believe that a positive environment and surrounding yourself with positive people goes a long way. These aren’t walking around with a chip on their shoulders, they aren’t boasting about their accomplishments and they sure as heck aren’t talking crap about each other behind their backs. They care about their each other, they push each other and they love seeing each other succeed. If you can put a group of people like that together, it’s almost impossible for them not to be successful.

So, I challenge you, find coaches who love and care about you, and put your trust in them 100%. Work hard without complaining. Be fearless, and believe you can do great things. Be humble and support your teammates. I know that I myself need to work on these things, and I’m sure some of you might as well. I’m so thankful to be surrounded by such a talented group of young athletes and I can’t wait to continue to learn from them each day.

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Check out one of the Online Teams:

• Mash Mafia Bronze
• Mash Mafia Silver
• Mash Mafia Gold
• Eat What You Want
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Check them out here: ⇒ Mash Mafia Online Teams

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