Youth Fitness – Lesson Learned

by Wil Fleming – www.beforcefit.com


We have all seen this scenario before: An athlete taking attempts at a max weight and missing attempt after attempt.  This happens all the time when an athlete is taking attempts in Olympic lifting.  Missed clean, rest, try again, miss again, “Okay last attempt” miss again.  As a coach if you are encountered with this you try to take the opportunity of a brief failure to tell the athlete all the aspects of a lift that were successful, but where do you go from there?


We all train our athletes for success. That much, I would hope, is a given.  Success, to each of them, takes many forms.  For some it is making a team, for others it is a state championship, or even a spot on an Olympic team. 


We train athletes to get stronger, get faster, move better or be healthier, to help achieve their goals, but shouldn’t we really just be training them to succeed?


Just this week I was training one of my athletes, however this one happens though to be a little different than most that I train.  He is a 50 year old guy that has taken a particular interest in Olympic lifting.  He sought me out so that I could help him improve his technique and ultimately his weights.  He also was a Navy SEAL sniper for 20 years. 


For 20 years success to him took forms that most of us have never encountered, but as a member of one of the most elite military units in the entire world he was trained to succeed. 


In marksman training they would condition (aka burpees and pushups) until they couldn’t anymore, get up, apply a crush grip to their handgun and be expected to hit targets far downrange. If they didn’t hit the targets it wasn’t necessarily an “in your face” reaming ( I don’t necessarily think it was a cuddle and talk session either). They would take a couple deep breaths start again and take shots at targets they could easily hit. The next time they were in that situation they would not miss the targets far downrange.


They always “Accelerated off of the range”


This is the same way I train my athletes to succeed in the weightroom, particularly in the Olympic lifts. 


I teach athletes to go to weights they can make, this doesn’t mean that I don’t let athletes go after PR’s and it doesn’t mean that athletes never miss a weight.  It does mean that we take a second, maybe back off, and make sure that their next attempt is a success. 


We accelerate out of the gym.



2 Responses

  1. Francois Nel says:

    I like the image of “accelerate out of the gym”. I also agree with finishing on a success
    The definition of success could also play a roll. A player once gave the following definition for success:
    “To do something in such a way that if I could do it over I could not do it better.”
    I have found that using this definition of success take a lot of pressure of kids. Also it helps to motivate them easier.

  2. Keith Fine says:

    Nice read

Leave a Reply

Comment using: