Frustration or Learning Opportunity?

Yesterday, I got to jump in with a class and do the workout with them.  It fit with my training schedule and was a nice diversion.  The goal of the day was to work on the power clean and hang power clean.  1 couplet every minute for twenty minutes.  Adding weight periodically as you felt comfortable.

My plan was to make jumps every 5 reps.  I started out with a goal in mind and that goal had nothing to do with the weight on the bar.  It had everything to do with feeling the right positions at the beginning of the lift, feeling the hips open up, and ultimately being successful.  If I did five reps and felt good with how they felt, I could allow myself to add weight.

I made it through the first five, and added the weight.  Made it through the next five, and added weight.

Then I struggled.  My elbows felt like they got stuck but I completed the lift.  The next set though, I was in my own head and failed on the hang clean.  I got mad, frustrated and angry.  I tried another attempt and failed on the hang again.

It wasn’t the weight though.  I deviated from what my goal of the training session was.  My goal was not to successfully get every rep or build the biggest bar possible.  My goal was to feel every part of the lift and be successful.

I lost sight of how I felt.  For all my successful lifts, I would look at the clock and get set up when there was 6 seconds before the beep signaled the next round.  After I failed, I did not pay attention to the clock or what I was doing.  I had been pulled out of my mind and lost site of my goals for that session.

I dropped weight to a middle ground between my successful attempts and my failed attempts.  I got another 3 rounds successfully and then I failed again.  My focus was gone.  I took off the weights and put my bar up.

Was my training session successful?

After walking around for a bit, I figured out that I had lost sight of what I was trying to do.  My focus was lost and so I learned something.  So it was a successful training session.  I learned something and knew that next time, I had to keep my focus better.  I have to not let a missed rep pull me away from my goals.

I have to be mindful of the goals of each session and focus on those, not the weight on the barbell.

I share this story because as a coach we often see people frustrated because they fail on a rep or don’t lift as much one day as they did a previous week.  But success in training is learning something every time.  It might be a new drill, a new mobility technique, a new skill or just something about yourself.

Results come from what you do with all those lessons.

So next time, make sure you see every frustration as a learning opportunity.