Friday, August 9, 2013

Super Duper, TMI, All About Training, Blog Post! (I may change the title, but it's just my way of trying to warn anybody that may read this!)

Be warned! This post is all about the super itty bitty training details and nuances of my three GS practice sets I did yesterday!

I am not afraid, and never have been afraid, of the snatch competition.  I've done a million kettlebell snatches, "hardstyle" because that's how I learned them.  If I don't do well in my snatch set it's only because of an "off" day, and I don't have any attachment to it.  But the jerk?  Well, the jerk movement and skill has had me running scared for way too long.  It was only yesterday that I found it in my mind, and in my heart, to relax.  To let it flow, and to BREATHE!  I'll write more about why the jerk movement has been (why I have let it be) a bigger stress on me than it should be, but in the mean time I'll share with you, technique flaws and all, the video of my GS training sets I practiced yesterday.

Thursday morning is my super duper heavy swing workout, using double 16's and the 28kg (30-35 minutes of SOLID interval swing training).  I took a bit of rest, then a warm up before I did this set of "18kg snatch w/extra swing".  Programmed for me was 45/45 reps R and then L.  I miscounted, ending up with 46 R/ losing my grip on what I thought was 45 (but actually 47), letting the bell touch the ground on the transfer to L, miscounting and completing only 44 L.  I had posted on Facebook that sometimes the 18kg feels like the 16kg, and sometimes it feels like the 20kg!  Yesterday?  Well....

I took liberty to try a couple of new things, that did not work out, while in practice. The first was that, about 20 reps (double reps) into this set, I decided to not train my swing in my usual "Tracy" fashion of really reaching back behind me and letting the bell react by swinging to a higher floaty position in front of me before the next snatch rep.  I decided to try this because I noticed a few of the other successful GS Snatch athletes at Juno did not swing so high, in fact their swing rep was pretty low as I observed.  This did not work for me at all.  I depend on the "float" as rest and relaxation, and with a shorter swing I found myself working much harder, sooner and faster without the extra time of a longer stroke of my swing.  You really can't notice it too much in the video, but I sure felt it!

The second technique change I tried out was to catch my snatch with my legs, kind of like a jerk/snatch hybrid.  If you watch the video you will see this on my last successful rep on my right side before my last unsuccessful rep!  It didn't work out for me! And I suspect it helped cause the bobble of what I thought was my 45th rep....which caused disappointment, which caused me to let the bell touch the ground and then I gave up a bit.  Lesson learned.

Next?  Well, I'm "supposed to" do my jerk sets first, followed by my snatch sets, BUT I thought I should complete all of my ballistic training at once, and so that's why I decided to do my snatch set after my heavy swing workout first thing Thursday morning.

I am lucky to have Mark as my afternoon coach, and it's a great help to have his feedback and guidance, and to support me through my jerk sets. It's always nice to have someone keep count for also helps when they love you!  So a split workout it was going to have to be.

I finished my morning workout around 7:45am, went about my day, took a nap from 2:30-3:45 (with my sweetie), got up and had to go for it!  To be honest I thought about not doing it!  I've been, well, I'll say it....kind of shot down and defeated about my weak performance with GS jerk technique, and I'm not motivated by failure, I would describe myself as a person motivated by success.  But earlier that day I had found an audio tape of a book about visualization.  I had listened to it before, a couple of times, so when I came across it again I knew I needed to hear it at least one more time.  There would be a message, or an answer for me that I was ready to hear again.

Yes!  There was!  Breathe.  See the breath.  Hear the breath.  Relax.  Hear the breath.  Let the breath be your timer.  It's going to all be OK.  It's going to be fine.

I knew as I walked into the gym that afternoon that whatever was going to be was going to be.  Whatever I knew at this point is what I knew at this point.  It's just a kettlebell, and all I had to do was trust in what I do know, and let go of what I don't.  This is not the end, there will be many, many, many more days of practice!

As I started my first set I forgot about the faster pace that was prescribed for this practice. Darn!  I could have kept pace, I just forgot because I had been doing so many 5 x 5 sets I fell into that pace instead of the faster 12rpm. Oh well.  I video taped these next two sets at different angles to potentially help me see things I may not have seen before.


4 min rest, and only one more 2 minute set of 12/12.

I'm happy.  I was able to let go of so much of the stress and I feel better than ever about next weekends competition!  What a relief and just in time!


I always take video of my training sets for GS, but I rarely post them for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I receive quite a few kind hearted people wanting to give coaching advice, and I'm grateful that there are others that care about my growth and success as a GS athlete.  But that being said, I have a couple of wonderful coaches that help me, day in and day out, that know me personally and how I react to training, and competition, in addition to being accomplished athletes and coaches themselves.

Another reason that I don't care for outside critique is that I know that I still have a long way to go, maybe a longer way as I have to transition from one kind of kettlebell training to another, and back again!  I find value in training both styles of kettlebell skills and movements and I'm thrilled that I do not have to choose one or the other!  I can do both, and I am doing both, and I will continue to do both!  It's because of my prior experience handling kettlebells for so many years that has allowed me to enter the sport at the level I have.

I do admit I know, and have a good idea, of my technique flaws, but here I am, 7 days away from participating in my first competition with a 16kg kettlebell.  At this point I have to bring the good and the bad with me on the platform next Saturday!  But I can promise you this...  I'm as excited to, basically, get the chance to start from square one, focusing 99% on technique when this is over, and really learn the corrections I need to implement and move forward in the sport.  I am attending a two day Certification Course on Sunday and Monday to learn the progressions and how to teach, the drills, the skills to help me in my own training and to help coach others to become, and express, their inner athlete, through the magic of this crazy little weight with a handle, affectionately known as "Kettle".

How lucky am I?


Maribel said...

I'm luckier because you getting certified means I benefit from your training ;)

Tracy Reifkind said...


OR you suffer having me as your coach! lol!

"benefit", "suffer", same thing.

Mark Reifkind said...

"benefit", "suffer", same thing.

true dat :)