Why do some athletes achieve high levels of sports results and some do not? This is a question I am often asked. “Matt why can’t I do a kipping pull up?”, “Matt my snatch technique sucks”. These are comments I often hear from many different athletes. Why is it that in less than 1 year of lifting can a 15 year old add over 50 pounds to her snatch and some struggle to gain 5 pounds? The answer is actually very simple, hard work and positive mind.
When a lift is failed because of muscles, there is one or two things wrong, and thats it. Those two things are a lacking muscle group or poor technique. Here at DCL, like many other gyms, we have open gym hours. What is the point of these hours? These hours are given to you to work on this technique, they are given to you to work on lagging muscle groups. In the two years that DCL has been open these are the hours that I hoped would be used more often. During the maximal effort days many athletes come up to me and ask me how to improve their lifts. Unfortunately this is too late. The reasons some athletes excel is not because they are specially gifted but because they work harder than most. There are some athletes that I just can’t keep out of the gym. One athlete in particular, when she is done with her program she asks me what else she can do. Many times I tell athletes, “hey if you increase this muscle strength then that lift will be easy. If you do this your runs will be so much easier”, yet these are the same athletes that leave as soon as class is done. I understand that everyone has life outside the gym but if you want to get better than you must put in extra work. On Wednesdays we have gymnastics class with Coach Sara. Do I know how to do muscle ups? Yes. Do I know how to walk on my hands? Yes. But I show up to class because there is always a way to get better. Even Tom Brady has a coach, remember that! Now one of the greatest strength and conditioning coaches ever, Mel Siff, stated “you don’t train minimally. You don’t train maximally. You train optimally!” What does that mean? Besides technique, you must train the muscle group that is failing you. There are three major muscle groups that I have noticed in most athletes, hamstrings, back and triceps. This is the main reason for open gym hours. Work on accessory movements that will make you better in the long run. The down side to CrossFit is many get caught up in the mentality that they must do everything for time or for load. There is a time and place to just slow down and work on bringing up the small stabilizer muscles to make you a better all around athlete and that includes running technique. Ask any professional powerlifter or olympic lifter, You can’t just squat to improve your squat or snatch to improve your snatch. You must do special exercises to improve these lifts. I am always available to help all my athletes during these open gym hours. Often times Coach Kristy is asking people to stay and work with her on a movement of their choice. Coaches are always available to help build strength in these movements.
The second part of low sports performance is your mental game. If you come into the gym with a poor attitude, you will have poor performance. If you come into the gym only 3 times a week and try to stuff a weeks worth of programming into a single session, you will perform poorly. All too often I see athletes let their outside life affect their gym life. Again, I am not under the illusion that you do not have a normal life outside the gym. We all have our problems but we have to leave them at the door and train. Having a social life is good and it’s important to have a life outside the gym but if you want results, you have to learn to balance your life in and out of the gym. On maximal effort days I often hear athletes say to me, “I’m not hitting a record today.” Well of course not but it is not the fault of the program or the coach, it is your fault. A negative attitude will get you no where, not in the gym or in life. No one wants to hear a negative person all day and we definitely do not want to hear a negative person when we are trying to hit a PR.
Positive thinking and hard work are keys to success in life; whether in the gym or in your everyday life, constantly strive to be the best. No truly successful person ever succeeded by just doing the minimum amount of work and no one made it far by focusing solely on the negative parts of life. Put in work and visualize success and let the program do the rest!!