Programming under fire

me tall building

So yesterday I posted my latest sets with Snatch: I have been trying to progress from a stalemate, where my Jerks have gone up in weight and am consistently managing the 10 minute sets and the numbers I need for Biathlon, but for my Snatches I have had to stay with a lower bell and I can’t yet sustain the ten minutes at the higher weight. The scenario is not especially unusual, but the underlying neurological response is very specific to a gruelling CNS meltdown from which I have been recovering for the last 17 months. A failed set tends to result in a nervous collapse, but a completed set is extremely satisfying and calms the edginess in my limbs. Straight away then it demands an atypical response.

When I post on Facebook, I usually get a varied response,  from trainers, medics, religious fervents and friends. Not all of their comments seem relevant to me. However, the majority of messages are sent with much good will, and for that I am grateful.

Yesterday, however, I was informed by one kettlebell lifter that my sets were ill advised, that I needed more rest, more mixing up of sets, less endurance, and then I would achieve a performance like theirs. I found this dismissive of my coach, and it set me wondering: how do those on the outside critique a coach in such circumstances? He cannot be faulted on attention to detail, nor on insightful programming. Because MY coach speaks to me nearly every day, could not be more attentive on the subject of timing, pace, endurance and how to get the best out of my body, even now in this period of recovery. I am still vulnerable to neurological imbalances, infections, and a general shutting down of my senses. This can happen at any time. What levels things out again is  – more often than not –  the kettlebell swing. My coach understands this as well as I do.

What he has over and above my  own first hand experience of failed Snatch sets is a firm grasp of how to achieve miniscule tweaks to keep my body challenged, and make progress. For the record, I take the maximum rest  my body can use before immobility begins to creep in, mixed-up sets send my brain into panic mode (too many new and conflicting messages don’t allow my body to fall into a rhythm) and endurance is something I work on to shore up my sets, as these will sometimes be compromised by pain and neurological hiccups.

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So was the criticism really directed at my programme ? If so, she could have asked to see the details and judge from a position of knowledge. I could have explained about what my good and bad days are like, show her all the sets I have executed in the last few months. Because this is all relevant, and my coach watches this all closely.  No, I think this was a swipe at my coach. I object to my progress and sets being hijacked in this way, casting doubts on the coaching I receive, with no understanding of the compromises to my health. Once you have understood my medical condition, THEN I guess you may comment on the programming. Hear me, lady? However, I still think it arrogant, to slate the world champion.

Coaching is not about ego, and nor should these status updates be viewed in that light. I am not boasting about being able to lift at all, I am endeavouring to improve, and I share this as I am regularly told it helps other lifters, others recovering from devastating illness, and others on their own individual journey. Let the comments keep coming, but don’t expect me to welcome thinly veiled criticism of someone who is helping me to achieve the difference I wish to see.


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