I have been working with my coach Phil Sabatini for almost a year now and I am learning more and more about weightlifting every day. This year is the first time I have had a fully planned out year and trained constantly throughout, without any breaks, forced or otherwise. One lessen I have learned as of late, is how important expectation management is during a tough training cycle .
In the context of training I am defining Expectation Management as your ability to perform lifts in relation to their time and place in your training. This training cycle in particular has been difficult for me during the last workout of the week . We currently are squatting 3 days a week at relatively high intensity. On day 5 , we do snatches and clean and jerks at above 80+ . My expectation going into this training cycle was that during these attempts I would be able to work up to 95+% on my final lifts each week with little to no issue. After my first two weeks in the program I have left both sessions disappointed and frustrated after only being successful in the 85-90% range at best. Technically those lifts have improved , but I have hit a big wall above that and things fall apart.
At this point in my weightlifting career, my legs are stronger than ever, my technique is better, but when I have the opportunity to push things my numbers aren't better. So what the heck is going on??? Am I getting worse? Should I just retire ? What could be to blame? I was fired up! Once I calmed down I had a hunch about what was going on but I had to text my coach to find out.
When I did, I found out my program for the next 6 weeks is designed to help increase my raw strength and improve my positions, NOT increase my total...yet. Once I asked I realized that the 80+ attempts were meant to stay closer to the 80% range and not so close to the 100% range. No wonder I was leaving my training sessions frustrated and down . My performance expectations for the workout were way too high when I took the rest of my training week into account. So what does this mean for my training going forward?
Now that my expectations are lined up with my abilities during my training, I can enter into my workouts with a better mindset and be present in my situation. This will help me improve my training in a variety of ways. This will allow me to focus on the things in my training that will make me better. Good positioning in my lifts and pushing the strength when I have the opportunity during my squats and pulls. This will help increase my overall attitude towards my training and identify the victories in each day. Weightlifting is hard, if I am going to be successful long term I need to be able to gain momentum by racking up these daily victories.
Here at PFP Barbell we are constantly learning and growing. Come grow with us!
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USAW just Released their 2019 Qualifying totals. Here is an easy access list of the Qualifying totals for the upcoming year :
2019 American Open Series
55kg / 123kg
61kg / 137kg
67kg / 170kg
73kg / 174kg
81kg / 199kg
89kg / 207kg
96kg / 217kg
102kg / 222kg
109kg / 230kg
+109kg / 235kg
45kg / 85kg
49kg / 88kg
55kg / 97kg
59kg / 103kg
64kg / 113kg
71kg / 124kg
76kg / 127kg
81kg / 129kg
87kg / 134kg
+87kg / 144kg
2019 American Open Finals
Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center
Salt Lake City, UT
2019 National Championships
May 9-12 Graceland : Memphis, TN
55kg / 200kg
61kg / 210kg
67kg / 235kg
73kg / 260kg
81kg / 274kg
89kg / 290kg
102kg / 305kg
109kg / 308kg
+109kg / 311kg
45kg / 120kg
49kg / 137kg
55kg / 151kg
59kg / 166kg
64kg / 177kg
71kg / 185kg
76kg / 191kg
81kg / 193kg
87kg / 194kg
+87kg / 195kg
2019 National Youth Championships13 & Under / 11& Under
Years of birth: 2006 or later
*An additional 11 & Under medal is given in the total only (Gold, Silver, Bronze)
*An additional Technique medal is given where technique is 8 out of 10 or above by Jury.
*Minimum attempt for 13&U is 10kg (5kg bar plus 2.5kg Plates).
*Separate athletic testing is available throughout the weekend as a separate competition
Lets get after it and qualify ! If you want to get started in weightlifting email :Coach Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our team recently competed at the AO2 in Valley Forge. About half of our active weightlifters participated and the rest trained their butts of leading up to the meet. This was one of our longest and hardest training cycles any of us had been through. The meet came and went , overall it was pretty awesome from start to finish. However , when we got back I noticed a big change in energy around the club. I can attribute it to a few things , but I want to talk about the one that I believe is the biggest culprit . The dreaded "Post Competition Hangover"...
What the heck is a Post Competition Hangover? This is something I 100% completely made up, but I think I may be onto something . I have been experiencing similar symptoms myself since nationals and just now , 3 months later , am coming out on the other side. After a big PR or meet we can start to feel a level of demotivation and lethargy that we aren't used to and it can be a bear to kick. The thing we have worked so hard for is over and its time to get back to work. We have just spent the last few months peaking for a big event and now we are starting to come down the other side. As I am starting to feel better again here are a few do's and don't on how to recover from a weightlifting hangover.
Do: Keep showing up to workouts. As tempting as is it to skip workouts because you feel demotivated and crappy , this is the opposite of what you should be doing. The more workouts you miss , the more frustrated you will be when you decide to come back and your strength and technique are no where to be found.
Don't: Chase PR's . If you have done what you were supposed to (and your program was designed to peak you for the event) , then you are coming back down and doing foundational work . This is not the time to spend the next month doing 1RM yanking on bars hoping that something good will happen.
Do: Spend some time reflecting and figuring out your "why" . Most of your training will be focused on movement improvements and volume, its going to be hard . Take some time and reflect on why you fell in love with weightlifting in the first place. This will help you get to training more often and get more out of it.
Don't: Be too hard on yourself. This is a tough sport, now is not the time to be critical and expect to feel like a world beater every day. Understand you are a work in progress and these periods of demotivation are part of the process. Be patient and present and have fun .
This post meet hangover is a tough time for every lifter, I hope this will be helpful for you to get back after your workouts.
If you want to find out more about PFP Barbell follow the link and sign up for a free Barbell Assessment today!
*originally posted 3/12/18
When we start as weightlifters, Personal Records can be a weekly or daily occurrence, however once the PR Party stops we must work harder to stay interested and engaged as athletes. At PFP Barbell we approach each session with a few different goals in mind.
These are :
1.) Skill Development
2.) Movement Quality
3.) Strength Improvement
4.) Mental Toughness
As athletes we cannot expect to improve each on of these qualities every training session. However, if we strive to improve each on we can gain small victories by simply improving a 1 or 2 of these qualities each training session we can expect to become better weightlifters over time . Weightlifting is an extremely mentally tough sport so these small victories are crucial for us if we want to stick with the sport and train past plateaus . Now lets cover specifically what each on of these qualities are and how we can improve them during each session.
1.) Skill Development : This one is something that almost every lifter can do in each and every training session. Skill development includes improving on any skill needed in weightlifting. These things could be working on your start position, practicing a better rack position on your lifts, or learning a new variation on your lifts. Making a conscious effort to improve basic weightlifting skills in each session is a great way to ensure continued progress in your training . This accumulation in skills will eventually lead to an accumulation of PR's once you break through your plateau.
2.) Movement Quality: This quality is the immediate follow-up to skill development . Movement quality is when we take skills we already have learned and work to hone and perfect these movements. This can be anything from keeping the bar closer to you during the lifts, proper weight distribution in your feet , working on proper head position, proper bar path , or any other of our established weightlifting skills. Weightlifting is a sport in which our goal of perfect movement is not actually attainable to by focusing on small improvements in our movement quality it ensures long term progress. Fall in love with the process and results will come.
3.) Strength Improvement: This one can be fairly straight forward however we can find strength improvements in a variety of ways. The obvious things are hitting a new 1rm in an exercise ,but since this is an article about what to do when the PR's stop coming this isn't what I mean. It could be a new 5 Rep max or 10 rep max, the ability to hit a high percentage at multiple sets, or even an improvement on the weights used during accessory work . Do not discount your progress in any of these things. As you train your 1 rep max may not change for months or even years, trust the process, understand their is no such thing as being 'too strong' and celebrate every victory.
4.) Mental Toughness : This quality is one we should be able to improve every single session. Weightlifting can be a grind at times. We have long , hard , detail oriented workouts that at times can be mentally taxing to complete . Toughness can come in many forms . We can can improve this through pushing through a tough workout, coming back to make a lift that we've been missing in training, or as simple as completing our workout with intention on a day when we really don't want to be there.
As you grow and develop as a weightlifter our primary goal should be to raise our Minimums (The amount of weight we can hit any day we work up to a heavy single in each lift.). The sports is about being consistent and hitting lifts on the platform. However, lets be honest everyone loves a PR party. Lets fall in love with the daily training it takes to get there.
Your first victory starts by finding a good coach!
Email : Tom@pittsburghfitnessproject.com
Get Started Today!
Originally posted here :
Pittsburgh native Brandi Darby made history at USA Weightlifting’s American Open Series 2 in Valley Forge, PA. At 36-years-old, she became the first legally blind lifter in recent history to win any medal at a national level weightlifting competition, earning a silver and two bronze medals in the women’s over 35 category. Darby competed in the 90kg weight class. Her best lifts were a 65kg Snatch (silver) and a 70kg Clean and Jerk (bronze), bringing her total to 135kg (bronze).
Despite this accomplishment, Brandi says she’s never aspired to win medals in the sport, but rather be an example to others who may be hesitant to try weightlifting because of a disability.
“There are a lot of us who don’t have the confidence to try this or any sport because the challenges seem bigger than the possibilities,” Darby told USA Weightlifting.
Like many of today’s weightlifting stars, Darby found the Olympic lifts through CrossFit. “We had a love hate relationship,” she said of the CrossFit classes she took while in college. “One day I came in and saw an 800m run on the board and died a little inside.” With a disdain for running, she signed up for the Olympic lifting classes instead. “It was love at first lift,” Darby said. “They sat down between lifts and the volume increased with every set. It was like the Disney World of fitness.”
With a newfound love of weightlifting, Darby says her first challenge was to find a coach that didn’t feel burdened by her disability. “My vision will never change, but I do have control over how I’ll be treated,” she said.
Darby eventually began training with Coach Tom Duer at the Pittsburgh Fitness Project Barbell, a USAW member club. “Now that I’m with a coach who isn’t deterred by my vision, I worry more about environmental things. Will I be able to see the judges and their cues? Will the lights on stage be in my eyes and distract me? What stair, cords or apparatuses might I trip over because of my lack of depth perception?”
Despite her apprehension, Darby began competing at local weightlifting competitions in February of 2018, eventually qualifying for her first national competition, the American Open Series 2, where she became the first blind weightlifter to medal at a USA Weightlifting sanctioned event.
“I want to thank USAW for cultivating a culture of inclusion for people with disabilities like mine,” she said. I’ve tried a lot of sports in my life, this is the only one I didn’t quit for lack of support.”
Come join Brandi and the rest of the awesome PFP Barbell team by clicking the link to get started : www.pfpbarbell.com/get-started.html
This past weekend, several athletes from PFP Barbell competed at the American Open Series II in Valley Forge. It was an incredible experience and a little challenging to put into words.
Since my last competition at the AO1 in March, this was the longest amount of time I had spent training for a meet (22 weeks!). I had focused much of my time getting stronger and working on improving technical errors. Attending the Add to the Atmosphere Camp with the East Coast Gold team in Virginia was a huge help to expose weaknesses and fix where I was making mistakes. During my competition, I reminded myself of everything I had learned over the past few months and trusted my technique to get me through and make the lifts.
The AO2 was held Friday through Sunday, and I was the 3rd lifter from PFP to compete on Friday. It didn’t feel real. I trained for 3 months just for this one day. It was time to prove to myself and my team what I had learned and what I was capable of. This was my 3rd time competing and definitely the most physically prepared I had ever felt for a meet. Something that surprised me was actually how calm I felt. Previously I had always felt anxious and nervous leading up to a competition, but this time was different. I was relaxed, confident, and actually excited to get out on the platform and put some weight over my head.
After Gerald and Andre’s session, it was my turn. I began warming up in the back, taking my time to make every lift as best as I could. I looked at the screen and saw my name and my opening attempt slowly creeping up towards the top. Finally, it was go time. As calm as I had been ended abruptly as I stepped up to the bar. My heart was racing and I couldn’t slow it down. Thoughts of “what if you miss?” and “don’t bomb out” crept into my head. I took my first attempt at 48kg – rushed it a bit, caught it way forward on my toes – and had to settle back down to make the lift. Luckily, I was able to save it, but making my opener helped me calm back down. I had a number on the board now!
My second attempt at 51kg was my best snatch of the day – smooth and steady. Finally, for my 3rd attempt, we put a lifetime PR of 54kg on the bar. It was nerve-racking to put a weight I’ve never hit on a national platform. I ended up missing it, but I know it’s there.
After the rest of the women’s 58kg group finished their snatches, we began the clean and jerk session. Personally, I prefer clean and jerks because I am way more confident hitting these lifts than my snatches. My opening attempt was 68kg, which I hit without a problem. Next up was 71, then 74. My all time best clean and jerk is 74kg. Cleans had been feeling very strong lately, but the jerks were sometimes hit or miss. Some days they felt really good, and other times I couldn’t make anything over 90%. Nearing the end of my session, I went out to the platform to take my attempt at 74kg. I pushed my doubts away and made my last clean and jerk at 74. It actually felt surprisingly easy enough that Tom and Maggie encouraged me to take another attempt in the training hall at 76kg! I made the clean but just missed the jerk out in front. This was a good sign that I definitely have more in the tank.
Overall, I had two competition lift PRs and PRed my total by 7kg! I ended up improving my snatch from 48 to 51 and my clean and jerk from 70 to 74 for a total of 125kg. I had moved from the F session to the D session which meant no 5:30 weigh-in time! That was a big win for me, along with weighing in at a better weight this time (last time I was 2 kilos underweight, compared to this meet where I was just under my competition weight of 58kg).
This weekend was such an incredible experience not only for my performance, but just being surrounded by so much support from PFP, East Coast Gold, and my family. My parents, aunt and uncle came to support me, which was really cool to share that experience with them. I couldn’t have done any of this without my team at PFP. My coaches Tom, Maggie, and Dom were busy coaching a tremendous amount of athletes this weekend (along with Maggie and Dom competing themselves as well), and gave every person their full attention to set them up for success. Not only did my coaches help me warming up, counting attempts, and motivate me in the back, but I could also hear the rest of my family and teammates cheering for me from the crowd. I couldn’t have asked for better people to surround myself with. One of the coolest things about weightlifting is how supportive the environment is and I’m truly honored to be a part of such an amazing team! Looking forward to get back to training and hit even better numbers at the next competition.
Come Join Marisa and the rest of the PFP Barbell Team !
Email : email@example.com
to get started!
Last weekend our team traveled out to Valley Forge Pennsylvania to compete in the American Open Series 2. We had 8 in house athletes competing last weekend from PFP Barbell. We came in with high expectations with 4 of our 8 athletes in positions to earn Masters Medals and everyone ready to hit personal records in their lift . Overall the weekend was a massive success with all 8 athletes making a total and personal bests for many of them. As has become the norm, our team was positive and supportive and helped each other throughout the weekend in whatever way they needed . Even though for the most part our weekend was great we left with some things to work on going forward, to be more successful .
Gerald Spencer 77E (195 entry total)
Snatch: 82, 86x,88x
Clean and Jerk: 102,108,114x
Gerald started us off at the AO Series and did not disappoint. Going 3 for 6 and hitting a 190kg total . In the back he looked strong and focused . He was VERY close to hitting lifetime bests this weekend and only a few little things got in the way. On the snatches he he hit an easy opener at 82kg , on his second lift however he lost his grip and wasn't able to complete his attempt, we knew he was good for more. On his final snatch we took 88kg which would be a PR. He really went for is but was called on a slight press-out. Clean and Jerks went well making his first two lifts 102 and 108 . His final lift just wasn't here this time but he should be good for that and more in the future. Even though his total wasn't quite as high as we wanted , there was a lot of good to take away from his efforts. Once a few little things are cleaned up we expect Gerald to make huge steps forward in his lifting.
Andre J. Ainsworth 62B (130kg entry total)
Snatch: 56, 59, 62(PR)x
Clean and Jerk: 69x, 69, 73
Total: 132kg (PR)
We had high expectations for Andre going in. He has made huge strides in confidence and technique and it showed this weekend. We went 4 for 6 and hit a PR total at 132kg . He also finished first in his age group bringing home a Gold Medal for our team . Every meet Andre gains a little more confidence, and he was only a few lifts away from hitting even bigger PR's. The theme of the weekend continued however and press-outs cause us to leave some kilos out on the platform.
Marisa Galli 58D ( 118kg entry Total)
Snatch: 48, 51, 54 (PR) x
Clean and Jerk: 68, 71, 74
Total: 125kg( PR)
Marisa has worked her butt off this training cycle and it showed. She went 5 for 6 hitting a big 7kg PR on her total and placing 32nd out of 71 competitors this weekend. On the snatches she smoked her first two lifts and barely missed a life time PR on the third lift. Marisa is much stronger in her Clean and Jerks so we were really exited to see how she would do there. She didn't disappoint hitting all three lift with ease and tying her lifetime best clean and jerk ! She had an amazing meet and this momentum should help carry her to bigger things down the road . She has a bright future and she is barley scratching the surface of what she is capable of . She crushed it in the back as well she was relaxed and focused like a veteran competitor well past her experience level.
Laura Scheirer Woodward 48A (112 Entry total)
Clean and Jerk: 58,61,64x
Total: 109 total
Laura had an awesome meet winning her age group and finishing 6th overall in the open class! Being our most experienced competitor I knew she could have a big meet, but training leading up to the meet has been hit or miss so we knew she would have to be on top of her game. On both the snatch and the clean and jerk she did exceptionally well making her first 2 lifts and going for a big one on the third before coming up a little short. The press-out monster was back and we got 2 tough calls that would have given her that coveted 6 for 6 meet . Laura is BACK! We are ready to address some weaknesses and I expect her to build on this performance and have a great competitive season.
Maggie Duer 63D (135 Entry Total)
Clean and Jerk: 73,77,80x
Maggie got things rolling on Day 2. After a long day of coaching on Friday she was ready to attack these lifts. Snatches went well making her first two before missing a competition PR on her final attempt. Then came time for clean and jerks, after a really good snatch session I was excited to see what she would do here. The first two lifts were awesome , on her third attempt she decided to take 80kg for a lifetime PR . This was huge for many reasons. Earning a PR attempt on a big stage like this is what you want and what you train for so I was pumped to see what she would do with it. She came out and smoked the clean but was a little short on the jerk. Overall she had a really good meet, PRing her total , and is ready to train her butt off to have an even better performance next time.
Dom Gomez 94c (225 Entry Total)
Clean and Jerk: 127x,127,130
Total: 234kg total
Dom's time finally came . He spend most of the weekend treating, taking pictures, and helping coach out team in the back , so I was really excited to see how he would do . Dom ended up having a really good meet totally 134kg only 1kg under his all time best . His group was extremely close and Dom overcame a lot to put together a solid meet. I feel like with a solid few months of training under his belt , this fall should be really productive for him and new PR's are on the way.
Brandi Darby 90C (126kg Entry Total)
Snatch: 60,65, 68x
Clean and Jerk: 65,70,75x
Brandi ended day 2 for us in typical Brandi fashion. We all know she is strong enough to get it done, but the question was would the big stage , bright lights, and national judges add up to a great meet or a disaster? Man on Man she was READY! 4 for 6 for a 10kg total PR after dropping a weight class! Both misses were press outs...(noticing a theme here?) so she was close to a massive 18kg PR if we could have tightened a few things up . She ended up finishing 3rd in her age group and weight class to become the first ever legally blind weightlifter to medal at a national meet!
Tonja Ayala 90+B (95kg Entry Total )
Clean and Jerk: 50,54,60x
Total: 95kg total
Tonja closed out our weekend for PFP Barbell. She went 3 for 6 on the day winning her weight class and totaling 95kg on the day. Going in we knew Tonja had a chance for a really good meet if she could hit her positions . Being a masters lifter mobility is not always they athletes friend so she needed to be as close to perfect as she could to have a great meet. All three of the lifts she missed were really really close but called for press outs. Tonja is a great athlete and we will clean some things up so she will be ready to dominate the 55+ age group next year!
Overall we had an awesome weekend as a team . Everyone supported each other , lifted well, learned some valuable lessons , and are hungry to improve. Time to build upon this success and dive into our new program. Our overhead need work , so for the next twelve weeks out team will focus on upper body strength and stability while staying sharp in our lifts. PFP Hybrid: Operation Swoll Patrol is on the menu ! Lets get it !
If you want to join this awesome group of lifters email :
This weekend our team travels out to Valley Forge Pennsylvania to compete in the American Open Series 2. We have 8 in house athletes competing this weekend from PFP Barbell. This will be our first large competition as a team as part of East Coast Gold and as an organization we have over 50 athletes competing this weekend. Our team is without a doubt much better than we were at the Arnold and I am excited to see what our folks can do with 6 more months of hard training and experience. Lets take a look at who is lifting and what we can expect out of them! The event will be live webcast here : www.teamusa.org/USA-Weightlifting/LIVE/live-stream
Gerald Spencer 77E (195 entry total)
6:00am Weigh in
Gerald leads the way this weekend as our first athlete to compete. This should be one of the more interesting sessions of our entire weekend. Gerald has had a great cycle of training over the last few months, he is stronger and better technically than he has ever been. Gerald is one of our BEST competitors on meet day, as meet day gets closer he zones in and gets more and more focused. If we handle our end as coaches and he handles his end as an athlete he should have a big big day!
Andre J. Ainsworth 62B (130kg entry total)
8:15am Weigh in
Andre come up next! I am so excited to see Andre lift , if we gave out a "Most Improved" award for this training cycle , he would be hands down favorite. Over the past few months his technique has improved leaps and bounds . Andre's strength numbers are up as well. As one of our most experienced competitors , I wouldn't be surprised with some big PR's in both lifts. Andre is well prepared and ready to go!
Marisa Galli 58D ( 118kg entry Total)
10:30am Weigh in
1230 pm Lift
Marisa starts if off for our Women's team at the AO2 . We couldn't have a better person to kick things of for our awesome ladies! As an Athlete, Marisa does all of the things that you need to do to be successful . She has crushed her training, recovery , nutrition, and just absorbs coaching like a champ. Its seems like every single meet she levels up and realizes more and more how good of a weightlifter she can be. In front of friends and family in front of a hometown crowd she has a chance to smash all of her previous bests. I cannot say enough about her as an athlete and a person , this should be a good one!
Laura Scheirer Woodward 48A (112 Entry total)
12:45pm Weigh in
Laura is our last athlete to lift on Friday . Laura is one of our newest athletes , but is no stranger to weightlifting she has competed on the international level and is our only A group athlete of the weekend. Laura moved back to the area recently after training and living in the Wilmington Area with Walt at Wilmington Weightlifting Club . She has trained hard to fix some technical faults and this should be a good breakthrough meet for her. Physically and mentally , Laura has turned a corner and should have a wonderful day .
Maggie Duer 63C (135 Entry Total)
8:30am Weigh in
Mighty Marge kicks off Day 2 for the team. This will be Maggie's second meet back from a 2 year hiatus in the sport. She is ready to build upon her 6 for 6 performance in her meet from a few month ago . Her legs are back and she is stronger than ever. She has all the tools to improve on her total big time from last meet. Maggie is a fierce competitor so I fully expect her to use the atmosphere to her full advantage .
Dom Gomez 94D (225 Entry Total)
1:30pm Weigh in
Dom is coming off a tough rotation and a PCL injury to make is comeback at the AO2. Technically he continues to get better and better and all his rehab has really brought up some weaknesses. Depending on how he feels he should be in great position to push for a few PR's along his comeback trail . This should be a great session to watch I feel like Dom is ready for something special .
Brandi Darby 90C (126kg Entry Total)
6:20 PM weigh in
Brandi Closes out Day 3 for us. Brandi has all the tools to bring down the house! This should be an great session for a lot of reasons . Another candidate for most improved weightlifter this training cycle, there is not one aspect of her lifting that hasn't improved tremendously . Brandi can lift as much weight as she wraps her head around. If her mind is right I think she will surprise everyone (including herself) . This is a great opportunity for her to level up and start to realize how great she can be .
Tonja Ayala 90+B (95kg Entry Total )
7:00am Weigh in
Tonja is our final lifter of the weekend. This is a great chance for her to get some practice on the big stage before she moves into the 55+ age group for next years Master's Nationals. She has been working hard and consistently improving on her technique and mobility all year. When she puts it all together this weekend she should be at or around the National Records in her new age group in 2019 . I'm excited for her to get more experience under her belt so she can start to truly shine .
Every one of our lifters is in a position to improve significantly from their last showing. I am excited to coach this group of athletes at the AO. As a group is has been a pleasure to watch them grow and develop over the last few months and this should be a great weekend for all . See you guys in Philly!
If you want to join this awesome group of lifters email :
As I was lifting yesterday one of our coaches made the comment that my motto should be "Do as I say , not as I do. " . Its not the first time I have heard this from a coach or athlete. I'm not going to lie, the comment usually pisses me off! As the head coach of PFP Barbell , I always do my best to lead from the front. I was getting ready for bed last night and I started to think about what "leading from the front " really means.
I always thought that leading from the front meant perfection( or as close to it as I could be) , perfect technique, perfect meets, perfect guidance etc. I understand that this is unattainable , but I strive to be as close to this as I can. I work hard , listen to my coach, give my best effort to our athletes in meets . I want to be the example that our athletes look to as how to prepare to advance in their weightlifting.
I think the part I was missing about leading from the front was the fact that you WILL make mistakes ..a lot of them ! I have bombed out of more meets than most of our athletes have competed in, had bad meet plans, been a bonehead leading up to big meets, coached bad meets for athletes, and generally have had some very public mistakes in my learning process as coaches. I always looks at these experiences as something to be embarrassed of or things I wanted to hide. Now, looking back at it I had it all wrong...
I realized part of my role as a coach is to make mistakes so our athletes don't have to. Lead the way and don't be afraid to try things , fail often , and learn . I can confidently tell our athletes and coaches not to do MANY things because I have done them and I KNOW its a bad idea . My experiences as an athlete and a coach save them from having to go through the same negative results that I have had . On the positive end I have had a ton of success as an athlete and a coach and have wonderful mentors helping me avoid more needless mistakes down the road. It allows those who follow me to confidently move forward , knowing that our actions are deliberate and based on experience.
So yes, do as I say, not as I do. Let me lead the way, make mistakes, and take on the consequences. Allow be to lead from the front , learn from my mistakes so you don't have to a make them yourself.
Come join the PFP Team!
About Coach Tom :
Another great blog post by Brandi Darbi one of our wonderful athletes here at PFP Barbell . Originally posted here :
In three weeks I’ll be competing in the biggest competition I’ve ever been to. And, in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting, it’ll only be my third time on a competitive platform. If you know my writing at all, you know I keep it real; I’m terrified. My fear and doubt voices, as Brene Brown calls them, are alive and well as I continue training leading up to the big day. What’s different now is that I’m better equipped for managing those emotions than I’ve ever been and a large part of that is due to my coaches and the environment I train in.
Tom Duer, my head coach, is a nationally ranked athlete in the sport himself. His passion for teaching and cultivating a welcoming environment, where everyone thrives has removed many of the distractions I faced at my previous facility. I’m enduring long training cycles now without mental fatigue, I’m currently on the longest injury free streak I’ve had in a long time; (knock on wood) and I’m recovering from disappointing lifts in shorter amounts of time. I credit this to Tom and our whole crew at PFP Barbell because everyone deals with the same thing and supports each other throughout it. People don’t talk about how powerful groupthink is when it’s positive. Amazing things happen when you have a team of coaches you trust, lifting partners you like and a program you only kinda wanna cheat on versus always. I say all this but if you ask Tom anything about himself he’ll probably just tell you a dad joke because to him, he’s very funny. For confirmation, ask his wife Maggie, she also keeps it’s real.
Mind Over Matter
This is a dangerous idiom for someone with a propensity towards anxiousness. I can’t trust my mind most days when I get to thinking about the AO2. “The dip in my Jerk is too slow.” “Stop catching the Clean so high, get down!” “Am I ever going to stop getting stuck in the power position of my Snatch?” These thoughts on a loop plague me some days. I’m worried about all of it and I want to fix everything before I get on that platform. “It has to be perfect,” I tell myself. I want my friends to see and understand why I sacrifice time with them for training, I want to hear my team yell with approval when I stick a lift and let my coaches see their efforts come to fruition in my perfectly executed lifts. These ideas are cute but ever so unrealistic. First of all, perfection is a lie, and a waste of time I could be using on naps. Second of all, …I don’t remember what was second because that was a solid first of all.
Then I snap out of it and remember that I’m focusing on the wrong things. Mind over matter for me means keeping my head in the game, trusting my training and not the fear or doubts. At training camp two weeks ago in Virginia Beach, amid an exhaustive lifting schedule, we learned about goal setting and visualization. Weightlifting hall of famer Leo Totten taught us some key habits of elite athletes across various sports. I listened intently to him, noting all the differences between their behavior and mine. The list was not short. Many of the things that stood out to me was what they did outside of their active training times versus what I do. Mobility has become an enormous challenge for me over the last year after two consecutive knee injuries. Consistently adhering to a regimented nutrition plan has never been easy for me either. When I get hurt, I stop training altogether and indulge in all the carbs and sugar. Talk about focusing on the wrong things, right? Elite athletes work on things outside of their injured body parts. Broken knee? Bummer, train upper body. No training allowed at all? Bigger bummer, adhere even more to the diet plan. Terrible mobility? Do yoga. No money for yoga? Youtube is free. Aggressive travel schedule? Take your gym bag and drop in at gyms along the way. Excuses fall down like a house of cards when our minds are set. After I write this, I have to eat within my macros, drink a liter of water and do Romwod for 45 minutes because no joke, my mobility is laughable. So on rest days like today, I’m training my mind because I’ve seen how powerful it is when it’s working against me, I’m desperate to see what I can do when it’s working for me.
Make a Plan. Stick to said Plan.
Occasionally I try to sneak off-program in my gym. Sometimes I just want to squat or do snatch triples! It never works because Tom has parents ears and I suck at whispering my secret agendas to my teammates. “Do your program Brandi!” is commonly yelled across the gym when I’m up to shenanigans. That’s fun but Tom doesn’t live with me and I don’t have a chef doing all my cooking. So when I “occasionally” want snacks, no one is yelling at me to stay on my meal plan. I can’t expect to have the amount of accountability I prefer all the time. I have to want my goals more than I want truffle chocolate brownies or mexican coke. If I want to stop getting stuck in the Power position of my Snatch, I have to do my mobility work every day. At a certain level of anything we all do, self responsibility will be the defining factor of our success or failure.
It’s great that I care about everyone being proud of me but it’s not good enough. I know where my achilles heel of this journey is. I’m going to do great at the AO2 because I train like it. My lifts won’t be perfect because there’s always something to work on. I hit two important personal records this week, the first in months; that’s how to trust the process; do your program!
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Coaches and Athletes will be contributing to this blog. We will be discussing lifting tips, smashing goals, and much more.