Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Learning from Masters

The Ice Chamber's Sunday clinic with Coach Sergei Kirilov and Anton Anasenko was a great experience. I regret I was too busy for pictures and video. I'd recommend it, I loved it, I got the certificate that reads "I studied GS once with Russians". But, it was just a taste of what it could have been. That's not a criticism; it's a self-evaluation.

What struck me after the considerable buzz wore off was the philosophical distance between master and student, in which the student learns how to use tools but the master imagines a new plan and designs new tools to bring it to life. In the excitement of the moment, even the coaches among us were students again. There was more to learn than we were ready to absorb at the time. I barely managed not to fixate on numbers and grip and details, but to get something out of the whole picture. I'd love to sit under those coaches in that format one more time to pick up where we left off.

1. Programming

Anton was several minutes into drawing out a training program that he uses with himself and his students before I recognized it as linear periodization with 2-week mesocycles. If you've read much about weightlifting or powerlifting, that phrase made sense to you. If not, then you probably spent 15 minutes copying down a blackboard of numbers that would not directly apply to you or last longer than 2 weeks.

The questions that followed tended to be more arithmetic than algebra. Advanced discussions don't use numbers so much as units like minutes and comparatives like heavy / medium / light. I've seen notes from other instructors that looked just like this, so maybe it's the math teacher in me that wants to see this laid out as "Hvy bell, add 15sec; Med bell, add 30sec" instead of 32kg 18r, 28kg 42r, and so on. That may have been just me. Had we all understood this at a more symbolic level, we would have seen a 3-mo plan on the board instead of 2 wks. I believe that's a significant next step for anyone who's not under the explicit management of a knowledgeable coach.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Looking Back On The 2014 West Coast Classic

The West Coast Classic a week ago was a huge success. There were just over 100 competitors registered and checked in, ranging from juniors and rookies to Masters of Sport and an 11-time World Champion. I, personally, scored a small PR over the full 10 minutes, neither of which I really expected with my current state of training. Kudos to the Ice Chamber for putting on a great weekend.

I read a quote online recently (not properly attributed at the time to Walter Payton). "When you're good at something, you'll tell everyone. When you're great at something, they'll tell you." That distinction was on display all weekend. When Paul White appeared out of the mist to claim MS in biathlon and long cycle. When the ICKBG team won the jerk relay by nearly double the second-place score. I felt just a taste of it when 8 or 10 people I knew and a couple strangers complimented the quality of my lifting, after spending the Autumn injured. Ironically, it played out in a different way during the Sunday clinic, as I struggled to simply clean a pair of lightweight bells quietly and neatly. I'm grateful for that time, and I have much work to do, but that will be another discussion.