So the other day I’m explaining to one of my beginner students about maintaining a straight wrist by diagonally gripping the kettlebell when pressing it. After demonstrating this with a lighter kettlebell for the purpose of practice I then watched him press it. What did he do? Immediately he did exactly what I told him NOT to do.
He gripped the bell horizontal at the handle instead of diagonally which in turn caused his wrist to break back and he immediately started feeling pain at the forearm. I quickly made some adjustments with some simple coaching cues and he was able to correct it. I just looked at him and asked “Is that how I showed you?” and he replied “No.” You can imagine my next response. 😉
A Good Coach Knows Best!
In all of my years of being a strength coach and trainer I have found the biggest challenge facing ANY student trying to achieve results, aside from commitment and persistence, is the ability to follow instructions. You see the only path to mastery for any skill is being able to follow instructions! As a coach I’ve found this to be a much bigger challenge than you may realize, especially when it comes to teaching folks any movement related activity or drill. The problem is that most of the average population has a serious shortage in kinesthetic learning ability. You can read more on that topic right here.
At any rate the most interesting thing I’ve experienced is the resistance I’ve gotten from some past students on occasion over the years simply after they realized they didn’t pay attention to detail. To give you some perspective on this let’s take a look at the following scenario. Coach (me) gives them a basic instruction, student does it incorrectly, coach (me) corrects them, they get a little fussy, and then coach (me) has to lay the smack down on student. 😉
The funny thing about this is that I’ve only ever experienced this with strictly fitness personnel. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten any resistance of this sort from any of my current athletes or former athletes that are just wanting to either stay in, or get back into shape. I like to say that this is rather ridiculous and amusing to think about because I’ve never really had to justify my means or approach with athletes who literally earn their living with their bodies!
I remember one time telling one former general fitness participant who started out being a major headache that if “I could handle guys that literally put their livelihood’s in my hands that I could handle helping him to break a sweat!” I never had another problem out of that guy and he got into the best shape of his life. Once he submitted to just doing what was asked of him and following my instructions he totally reaped the benefits! I just like to think of myself as kind of a western version of Pai Mei. Maybe the cruel tutelage of Brandon Richey? 😉
Yep, that little clip is from Kill Bill Volume 2. For the most part I’ve always liked Tarantino’s film’s, but the truth is that I’ve always had a crush on Uma Thurman. Ok, back on topic now. The point is that blondie realized real quick that she had to submit to the teaching of Pai Mei or life was going to be even more difficult than it already was at the moment. She followed his instructions without question and it ended up saving her life a little further down the road. If you haven’t seen both movies I highly recommend it!
The point to all of this is that it’s ok to want to learn and grow your knowledge, but if you know you’re coach or trainer comes from good stock then the best thing you can do as a student is to listen, follow, and learn. Mastery doesn’t come in one training session. It requires a persistent and undying effort from day to day and from week to week. Sometimes students need a “Pai Mei-like bop to the head” in some form in order for this to sink in. I’ve had to issue that bop in some fashion from time to time. If you happen to be a coach or even a well experienced trainee then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
The point is that in order to lay the smack down often you must first have to be smacked down by some experience first. Mastery in the skill of strength, or life only comes with the ability to follow instructions. I don’t care about how much weight you can lift sloppily so if I strip the bar down or remove it altogether to drive home the point of technique then there is a sound reasoning behind why I’m doing that. One of my more experienced students the other day made a comment after I specified a rest time during a circuit bout. He said, “Coach I know you are telling us exactly when we should be going because once we start the circuit their is a reason behind the flow of it all.”
Submit to the dark side my young Jedi. If you are looking to master your body then I can help, but in the words of Jerry McGuire you’ve got to help me help you! If you are open to helping me to help you then you need to make sure that you get a copy of my Brandon Richey’s Better Than Steroids ebook right here.