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Approaching the Bar: Frustration is a Distraction

In my 18 years as a competitive weightlifter, I learned first-hand that good (and great) coaches are committed to making their athletes better, faster. The most destructive thing a lifter can do to slow their development is to get in their own way by responding to their coach's feedback and cues with resistance. They either reject the feedback, or they shutdown from receiving the information due to frustration, anger, disappointment about their training session.

At one point, if not managed properly, a harmful pattern can develop:

1. Coach gives feedback.

2. Athlete argues/counters that they already know it/gets frustrated/gets pissed/cries/gives up for the day.

3. Athlete fails to execute.

All lifters, from beginners to elite, have frustrating training days. It's an unavoidable part of being a competitive weightlifter. Now, as a coach, I insist that all of my athletes develop emotional resiliency in addition to developing strength and good technique. To be honest, it's not negotiable. The lifters that master all of these essential skills make progress at a much faster pace, and give themselves the best chance to reach their highest potential.

CHFP athlete Samantha Poeth is a top lifter who has competed nationally and internationally for over a decade. Sam recognizes that being coachable is an essential discipline and although some training days may be frustrating, she knows that being efficient in receiving feedback and executing in training is crucial to acheiving her goals as quickly as possible.

Here is part of a conversation I had with Sam post-training about refocusing frustration into purposeful effort.

Key takeaways:

1. To get to your goal as quickly as possible, practice being coachable and efficient during training. Listen. Receive the feedback. Execute.

2. If you lose control of your emotions or your ability to be productive in training, regain your composure and get back to work. Listen. Receive. Execute.

3. Practice being emotionally resilient as a skill.


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