Coaching the Un-coachable

Learning how to coach and be coached has turned into a skill. Hours spent reading weightlifting manuals, articles, watching videos, completing my coaching internship at Pin Up, and simply talking weightlifting with people became my everyday. Having that out of the way, we can talk about what it is to be coached and to coach. Many of you know I have my own coach, he lives in Austin and every now and then I have the chance to go and visit. My last trip we ended up talking about what it is to be a coach and an athlete at the same time.

We concluded that the best athlete is the one who sticks to change and is persistent even when everything feels wrong. That means that all of us are the best athletes and the worst at the same time. I call it the weightlifter paradox, how can you be the best and the worst at the same time? Well, it’s easy. Move your starting position or change your grip on the snatch and tell me how it feels. It is going to be awkward and maybe uncomfortable, but changing and adapting to the new position or movement makes you the best athlete.  Going back to old habits where you are familiar makes you the un-coachable athlete. We have all been there, we have all done that, it’s just easy. Easy is not always the best.

In my case, I discovered that moving my hands to a narrower grip on the snatch would give me a much more vertical squat and would translate to a better lift. I moved my hands 1.45 inches (1 finger width) closer – good athlete, made changes to increase performance. Every lift became uncomfortable, every other lift was a miss and I was unable to get any “heavy” weight over my head, like an animal of habit, I went back to what was comfortable and less favorable position – un-coachable athlete.

At that point, I had a second conversation with my coach and he basically said that I needed to trust him and to stop acting like a little girl, it will come together with time. I was told to suck it up and keep lifting and commit to the program. I followed instructions and right before my eyes everything started to work again.

Trusting your coach, trusting your program and believing that what you are doing in training is going to make you better is key, it is how you/we become the best athlete. Sometimes when you are working out and we tell you to lower the weight or change something in your lifts or movements stick to it, it may feel weird and uncomfortable but it’s for your own good and it will help you to become stronger, be the best athlete so we can be the best coaches.

-Coach Santiago Eckardt

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