Thursday 21 January 2010

Thursday's trumpet call to arms

We need more training camps. If I, as an Irish weightlifter want to progress to the limit of my athletic potential, I need to go on more training camps. If the rest of the make and female Irish athletes want to lift more weight and go to places Irish weightlifting has not been in a long time, we need to find a way to organise more camps. They can either be abroad or at home, with our own dedicated coaches or with foreign coaches. Either way, we must organise ourselves!

Many lifters are able to continue progressing rapidy without going elsewhere--Charlie Hamilton's lifters and John Broz's lifters come to mind--but they have an environment that pushes them to the wire every session. Firstly, one could argue that we all need to work harder at installing that atmosphere in our own gym and secondly, because Irish lifters are spread all over the country, we have to get together more often and AS A TEAM, push ourselves to places we have never been. You may have seen the thoughts from two weeks ago in a group interview after London where we discuss the benefits of training together and also in a new and stimulating environment. What do you think? Can we organise ourselves more efficiently or am I not understanding or appreciating the reality of the situation? I understand there are severe financial restraints, but is there anything we can do about it?

Last year, a few of us organised training camps in Wexford, Glasgow, and London a few weeks back. I had an additional camp in Amsterdam and when I was in California I was lucky to train with John Broz and Jim Schmitz. I give these examples to show that we are currently doing our best for what we know, but what can we do better? How can we improve our current scenario?

In October 2008 we had an official national squad session and we will have another in this coming March, but as lifters we need to take more responsibility on ourselves. The Irish Weightlifting committe is doing as well as it can considering its resources, and I know all the lifters are very thankful of the effort the men and women on the commitee who voluntarily put their time into our beloved sport. We have some very sharp minds in Irish weightlifting, so what can we do? This post is intended to stimulate thought processes and is no way a criticism of any individual in Irish weightlifting. We all need to work together to achieve more.

Here is a little video showing the lighter side of lifting and why passion goes in hand with the lighter side of the sport:

In my own lifting, here is what I did tonight in training:

Snatch--1x2@40, 40, 60 1x1@80, 95, 105, 110--I tried a different weight jump and it was a nice mental stimulus. I have never Snatched 11o in a regular training session during the week without loads of people around so I was happy with this, particularly because I have just finished week two of the Russian squat program.

Back Squat--1x2@120, 135 6x5@144 which is 80%.
I was on form tonight and I banged out most of my squats one rep straight after the other. My squatting tonight was far better than on Monday when I did six sets of four reps. I am really looking forward to 6 sets of 6 reps next week.
Here is a quick video of two of my Snatches so please leave any constructive criticism you may have.


CathalByrd said...

Without doubt my favourite video on 'Weightlifting Epiphanies', great work Mr. Spielberg.

Somevery good points made also about the necessity for more camps/better training environment. I will try post some thoughts tomorrow after I have a think about it...

brendan said...

Paudie with his hood on looks a bit like the devil in the mel gibson film - 'the passion of the Christ'

andymurphy said...

agree on the camps think should try focus on getting together in ireland more often we have the use of facilities whenever we want just a matter of getting together

also snatches look great they are starting to look quite fast if you can get that back sorted the world is your oyster !!!

Barry said...

Cheers Murph. The perrenial problem, but I find the more rested I am the better my back locks. You have no idea how much focus I put on this i my training....

Anonymous said...


Training camps are fun and can be a nice change of stimulus but the desire and passion comes from WITHIN.

When Naim left Bulgaria he went from the most structured and competitive weightlifting environment on earth to training alone at close to midnight.

I believe it is wrong to rely on an external stimulus. What happens when that stimulus is absent, do you just go straight home? I went through a stage of lifting alone at 7am every morning. The first few weeks were tough... but then I got tough! Later I even put up pb numbers during these sessions.

Other lifters can generate atmosphere, or they can sap it.

Just some thoughts.


snatch_pete said...

I have to agree with DW.

I went from Newtownabbey & St Gabriels to the weightlifting wilderness of Arkansas. In a state roughly the size of Ireland I think I am the only registered lifter! It is tough training on your own but it does enable you after a while to to develop your own motivational cues rather than getting support from other lifters. Too often lifters have what I would describe as the 'grass is always greener on the other side' syndrome. I personally find reading the blogs and emailing a few folk and setting up challenges has been a great help over the last number of months.

Whatever way weightlifting in Ireland develops over the next 3-5 years there will never be an ideal situation where you guys are all professional lifters in a permanent camp. Developing ways to enhance your own training is also critical if not more so than camps as the majority of training will be performed in your gym.

I still do think camps do have their value aside from pushing each other on in exposing lifters to other training methods, watching how other folk warm up and providing a short period of time where you do maybe incorporate more training than usual etc and to answer your questions

Some suggestions would be coming up with a group of active lifters who plan camps:
- Consideration of different work schedules lifters may have so planning events well in advance.
- Monthly mini weekend camps in Ireland.
- 2-3 longer camps spread throughout the year – one in Ireland
- Irish camp potentially a residential type to enhance camaraderie

Other ways of possibly trying to enhance performance is to maybe re-evaluate competition calendar to include some sort of round robin competition based on improvement rather than total weight lifted or Sinclair etc. Therefore a top ranked lifter who is on a plateau would be further encouraged to improve. Four ‘hotspots’ in lifting Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Belfast each hosting a competition every quarter where lifters go to training maxes (possibly at the end of a monthly mini camp). Most improved gets some sort of award. I used to do a very basic comp like this every weekend with a rugby player and it turned out to be quite competitive even though there was a fair margin in lifting ability.

That would be my two cents.

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