DON’T GET TOO HIGH. DON’T GET TOO LOW.
“Don’t Get Too High, Don’t Get Too Low” I laugh whenever I say this to myself in my head (which actually happens a lot more than you would expect) because it was something my college coach would always say. When you are a player listening to your coach repeat some silly saying like that it almost becomes comical. But then you turn around a few years later and it is so ingrained in your head, and the meaning of the phrase so clearly understood by your brain, that it is actually useful. I mean, I got it eventually – that’s good right?
This past week I found myself repeating this more than usual. Saturday I lifted in a weightlifting meet – so the week leading up to it I was pretty focused on things going smoothly and feeling comfortable under the barbell. The weekend before the meet, on Friday, I had a nice looking snatch PR (a huge breakthrough for me). Then, on that Saturday, I PR’d my clean (and actually hit it twice within about 5 or 6 minutes). Sunday I rested. That Monday I hit a 15# hang snatch PR that might have been my best technical lift to date. DON’T GET TOO HIGH. Tuesday I hit a 200# clean (from the hang) and jerk – that ties my hang clean and jerk PR. I missed the 205# clean terribly, and then could not clean 200# from the floor. I threw about 4 attempts. I actually even threw 185# to try and get mentally comfortable and missed that as well. I was just a mess, so I walked away from the bar before I got in my own head any more. DON’T GET TOO LOW. I wanted soooooo bad to go back to the gym that night and clean a little more just to get my mind right. I’m actually amazed at the will power I was able to muster up to just rest and let it go. Wednesday I went back in the gym and threw my openers – 64kg (140lb) Snatch and 91kg (200lb) Clean & Jerk – three times each. I went three for three on both lifts and was feeling all back to normal. I was actually more satisfied that I was able to come back after such a yucky feeling the day before than the fact that I actually hit all my lifts. DON’T GET TOO HIGH. Thursday was a rest day and Friday I headed down to my coach’s gym where I threw a few more lifts in front of him before we headed to Lancaster, PA for the Saturday meet.
This week of ups and downs left me thinking about how much fun this (weightlifting) actually is. See, I don’t experience this in CrossFit as much because in that arena I can just work a little harder, or push myself to move a little faster and my “bad day” can usually turn around pretty quick. In weightlifting, as much as you want to have a good day every time you touch the bar, technicalities and mental blocks often find their way in. As I have mentioned before, I have some experience with this because of my background as a “shooter” playing basketball. I have grown into the idea of never basing my practice or warm up performance on how my game performance will be. This is because I never wanted to start a game thinking “Oh crap, I’m off today”. If I was shooting good or bad in practice all week, I would expect to have a good shooting game. I tried (usually pretty successfully) to never let it get in my brain. Every shot was a new shot – and one I was going to hit. This is how I have been approaching lifting lately, without even doing it on purpose. Every lift is a new lift – and one I am going to nail. “GREAT SHOOTERS HAVE SHORT MEMORIES” is one of my favorite quotes, and I think it directly applies to weightlifting as well.
Saturday I was antsy as usual on game day. My teammate had the early morning session so I was able to watch her and try and keep myself occupied. My session was next and I was excited to snatch (strangely) because I wanted to display all the great snatch progress I had made the past week. I started warming up and was catching everything where I liked it (one of my main issues is I don’t usually catch the bar where I can stabilize it) but kept falling to my knees (something that I actually don’t do often). I was doing this at weights that I can hit pretty effortlessly. I was trying my best not to get too frustrated about it, but I couldn’t help it completely. DON’T GET TOO LOW. My coach then had me power snatch the weight to get it over my head and comfortable on my feet. It flew up and felt like a PVC pipe. I did that a few more times and we decided I would power snatch on the platform that day. Pretty hilarious, but a great strategy on his part. It allowed me to stay confident and not be so concerned with my bottom catch position. I ended up going 3 for 3 on the snatch hitting 64kg (140lb), 67kg (147lb), and 70kg (154lb) – all from the power position. That was a 15# power snatch PR and it actually felt pretty light. DON’T GET TOO HIGH.
The clean & jerk was next and this is usually the money maker for me. This is where I’m most comfortable. Warming up I felt pretty good, I was just trying to stay focused and consistent. I was opening at 91kg (200lb) which is pretty high for me, but I had big plans for my CJ that day. I went out and hit it – the clean was a little sloppy but the jerk felt amazing. That was good. My next lift was at 95kg (209lb). My current clean and jerk PR is 205lbs but I was actually pretty confident throwing this number and knew I was able to hit it. I cleaned it nicely but then let the jerk get out in front of me a little. However, I knew what I had done wrong and knew I would be able to hit the lift. My next lift was at 96kg (211lb). This 96kg was the jerk I failed on at my first meet. I went out there and did almost the exact same thing. My clean was nice, but just left the jerk out in front of me a little too much – I struggled some to save it but was unable to. I must have watched the video of my 96kg lift about 57 times. Before this post actually gets published I will probably watch it another 16 times. It actually has played with my head a little bit because twice I have missed the same jerk on the platform when both times I should have hit it. DON’T GET TOO LOW.
Overall, I came in 1st in my weight class in the Gold Cup Challenge hosted by East Coast Gold Weightlifting Club. I also added 9kg onto my total from my first meet. That puts my total at 161kg (354lb) in the 69kg (151lb) lifter weight class. That total now qualifies me for nationals and hopefully is a good enough total to make an A session at the American Open in December. That is the big show and the day I will hit that 96kg CJ on the platform. I know what I need to fix and work on and that is really the whole point of getting some experience at these meets. This is why I try and remember to never get too high or too low about a previous performance because every second is a new one. I’ve had a short memory my whole life with the rock in my hand, the bar is not so different.
This past week my training volume was turned up a little bit because I don’t have any competitions or meets scheduled in the near future. This has been a lot of fun for me because I actually enjoy working on my weaknesses and seeing improvement. In all honestly this might have been one of the most fun training weeks I have had in a long time. In next week’s post I will go more in depth about my actual training program and what I am focusing on to make me a more successful athlete.
*You can find this post and other posts by my peers and I at: