This week’s strong Saturday focus is not on a specific lifter but on lifters everywhere who miss a weight and manage to come back the second or third time around and crush it. I am always impressed by competitors who find themselves behind the 8-ball having missed two lifts and needing the third to stay in the competition. Having been there myself and failed as well as succeeded, it is no easy task to stand tall under that kind of pressure. Watch this dual between Rubash and Tatum. At the 2 minute mark you notice that Jake has missed 140 in the snatch and comes back hard to make the second attempt. His made attempt at 140 is a model for impressive persistence. He would likely tell you it is great mental training for anytime he finds himself behind the 8-ball in a meet.
In high school I can remember the big golden number for the clean being 225lbs. We judged our football team’s strength based on how many athletes could clean 225 or more. Funny to think about now… For almost a year I tried to make that clean over and over and over again. Sometimes I would miss this lift 10-15 times in one workout. I tried and tried and tried and each time the lift got worse and worse and worse. I have some pretty terrible footage of some near fatal misses. Some would call this persistence. A good coach would call this stupidity.
10-15 misses in a workout only creates movement patterns that will allow for misses in later workouts. More the 3-4 misses in a workout not only is not beneficial but is actually detrimental to growth. You don’t get 3-4 misses on gameday so why practice that many in training?
Persistence in weightlifting is not defined by our ability to get back up and move back to the bar only to miss again. Persistence in the weight room is the ability to recognize when it’s time to move on or that weight just won’t budge that day and attack that weight harder another day. In the sport of weightlifting it is important to remember that multiple misses create and solidify bad movement patterns. Elite level lifters don’t miss and when they do it infuriates them. You don’t see Olympians missing over and over again in training. They are persistent enough to move on, make a mental note of that day, and attack that weight harder the next time it’s on the bar. That’s not to say never repeat a weight. Rubash is classic example above of recognizing what went wrong the first time, correcting it the second time, and crushing the lift on his second attempt.
Recently, one of my training partners, Jason Riggins, struggled with the same idea of persistence and understanding when to move on and when to stop. Jason is traditionally a very smart lifter who knows when to push the gas pedal and when to back off or move on. In fact his ability to control his emotions is a trait I can only dream of. Here is a video of a 100kg snatch. You will hear us all get super-excited about the lift. It’s not a PR and it’s not anything Jason was very excited about. In fact he was furious. The back-st0ry is that Jason had missed this weight 3 times before this lift. Each lift was closer and closer. It is rare we ever allow him or anyone to miss 3 times and try again. He was just so close… This is his 4th lift
Jason models persistence here. He models persistence because each lift was closer than the one before and each time he corrected small errors from previous lifts. However, even he would admit that he missed more times than he is comfortable with.
When to keep lifting and when to move is a matter only the lifter can decide. However, remember that you only get three chances in competition and 15 misses is NEVER a good thing. Be smart, be persistent, never give up, but don’t be dumb.