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Greg Everett always has a lot to say about lifting & technique and his article, Train Like A Champion: Technique, Habits and Positivity – is an example of how practice, technique and good coaching go together.
A few highlights are here and a link to the entire article is at the end of this post. As I read this, I could hear Jesse’s voice in my head (and you probably can, too!) when you get a lift correct – it’s the “can you feel the difference?” line that always gets me (sometimes it doesn’t feel different when I get it right vs. wrong!) – after reading this, now I get why he says this! Doooaaah!
What’s very difficult is re-learning—it’s immeasurably more difficult to teach proper technique to an athlete who has already learned and practiced poor technique than one who has no experience at all.
Practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes permanent.
The point is that every single thing you do in a workout is an opportunity to improve if you choose to use it as such. Not approaching every training session with this intent is literally undoing your corrective work; you’re walking in circles, getting tired and going nowhere.
By doing nothing more than holding every overhead lift for a second or two before dropping it and holding the bar as actively as possible whether its 20 kg or 150 kg, you’ve just multiplied the volume of practice you’re getting without adding a single repetition or exercise to your training, which is likely already as full as your schedule and recovery capacity allow. This is such a simple and effective thing to do, I find it stunning that I have to tell anyone to do it more than once.
We can categorize correction as either cues or practice. The former consists of the verbal (vocalized or internal) reminders that you or your coach give before or during a lift; the latter consists of drills or exercises intended to help you practice a proper movement or position.
I find that correction through the use of exercises is more effective than trying to correct through explanation and cuing. The brain is arguably the biggest problem in weightlifting. By training the body directly through exercises that isolate the elements we want to correct, we can largely cut the brain out of the equation and get more done.
Ultimately, athletes have to feel a proper movement, not understand it conceptually. With this kind of training, cues that reference what the athlete has practiced are also more effective.
Habits are the product of practice, whether intentional or not. A bad habit is the product of practicing something you shouldn’t be doing. This can be anything from foil-smoking cocaine to shifting your weight too far forward over your feet too soon during a snatch. It’s very difficult to simply stop doing something habitual—you’re much more likely to be successful by replacing a bad habit with a good habit. That is, rather than trying to stop doing something, it’s more effective to practice doing what you want to be doing the way you want to be doing it.
Champions and successful individuals in all arenas are the ones who understand this and are willing to put in the time and energy into all the minutiae that the common person will never even notice or care about. The champion knows that everything he or she does is important and affects performance, and never questions the need to make every repetition, every action and every thought positive and aimed at improvement.
You can check out the whole article here