Updated: Feb 10, 2020
Written By: Phil Sabatini
So often, I hear athletes say things like “I’m going to come in to fix my Jerk”, or “Can you fix my snatch?”
This is implying that one cue, one exercise, or even within one day that you can miraculously obtain perfect technique in a certain area.
Two things that are very important in the sport of Weightlifting: Patience and Expectation Management.
The thought that you can spend minimal amount of time and obtain a quick fix is absurd. It offends the long-time athletes and coaches that have spent decades trying to correct improper movement patterns. Great athletes of any sport have spent countless hours in perfect conditions perfecting a very specific technique that allows for them to excel at their sport.
For example, the baseball pitcher who seeks a perfect, fluid wind-up, or the gymnast who seeks the perfect dismount and the quarterback who seeks the perfect throwing motion. These movement patterns weren’t built or rebuilt in one single session. In some cases, it has taken a lifetime to finally have the proficiency that the training for it deserves. One thing that those athletes who have succeeded in doing so have in common are the 2 attributes listed above; Patience and Expectation Management.
Consistency and exposure to the movement is what allows for us to create the neurological education that we call “muscle memory”. Unfortunately, this is also what has allowed us to create an improper movement pattern to begin with. The challenging part is that not only do we have to learn how to do the movement correctly, but it also may involve an unlearning of the previous movement in order to obtain that. This process takes months and years. The more times you can do it correctly, the closer you get. This is why having patience is essential to the process.
In order to create this new neurological pattern, we must work at it. This process is full of frustration, fatigue, frustration, regression, and more frustration. But, perspective is a very powerful tool that can make this process much more enjoyable. The ability to manage your expectations on both a small and large scale and from a short-term “fix” to a long-term adaptation will dictate your level of frustration. Managing expectations takes more than just patience alone. It means that you must understand that you may not make progress every day. You may have to understand that sometimes it may feel like you have gotten worse at the movement and that you have no clue what you are even doing at times. Also, you must understand that some days fatigue will get the best of you and even if you are trying to correctly perform movements with certain weights, it is proving to be extremely difficult.
Lastly, manage the time frame in which you are expecting perfection. Learn to accept small victories when they come and learn from the days that they don’t. Switch your focus to a process rather than a performance, and learn to embrace that process and attack it with enthusiasm and positivity. Understand that progress is not always shown in the amount of weight that is on the barbell. And be in it for the long-haul, because it is a long haul.