“Three words for you: Im. Pay. Shent.”

More often than I’d like, I find myself announcing to people, “patience is not my greatest virtue,” perhaps subconsciously thinking that proclamation will reduce the need for me to be patient.  Even my munchkin has told me I’m not being patient.  Granted, it’s when he’s dilly dallying getting ready for school or taking an hour looking in the toy aisle, but still, I hate when he flips the things I’ve told him around on me!                                                                                                                                                                                 

My lack of patience has reared its ugly head in my Olympic lifting.  If I’m not patient on the first pull my hips will rise up too fast.  If I’m not patient on the second pull I don’t get fully extended, the bar won’t hit the pocket  but instead smash into my bones and mess up my lift.  I have to be patient as I receive the bar or I won’t have the opportunity to settle in my squat and I’ll lose reps unnecessarily.    Simple solution, just be patient.  But what I love about the snatch is the combination of patience and power that’s required.  On its face, it seems like an odd coupling to me.   Since I associate patience with calm, quiet, passivity and I associate power with aggression, speed and explosiveness, they seem contrary- how do you generate power out of patience?  I’ve been trying to get my head around that combination.

This is where it becomes so important to trust the process.  My coach mentioned this to me one day when I was rushing and trying to sneak under the bar without allowing myself to get through the proper positions.  The idea of trusting the process really resonated with me- it’s something I’ve thought about before, when the body persists in doing things wrong when our mind knows better.  In some instances I think it’s a matter of trusting the technique.  If I focus on getting my body in the proper positions at the right time and with enough power applied, that barbell ends up exactly where it’s supposed to.   It’s not always comfortable in the middle of the movement and there are “how the %*#$ am I going to get this up there?” moments, but trusting the positions works.

The more I’ve thought about being patient with the progressions and trusting that the proper movement would lead to a successful lift, I started to see it as a microcosm of my training as a whole.   After the Games I have really hammered on my Olympic lifting.  Tons of strength work, a lot of training in solitude, I basically re-learned the snatch.  I’ve found the recovery from this training to be much more difficult than recovery from Crossfitting.  In short, it’s been challenging.  There have been more “max effort” days that were a million miles from a PR than I care to note.  Then suddenly out of the blue (i.e., 3 months of training and at least one major gut check from my coach later) I hit 4 PRs this week- PR’d each Olympic lift twice.   The past few months have been a nice little education in how to waste mental space with uncertainty and worry.   I want to approach my training with a sense of urgency while still being patient with the measurable progress and trusting that everything will unfold the way it needs to.  Just do the work, get it done and the results will come.   That way I can put my second favorite hobby, worry-warting, to rest.

Re-vamping my Snatch.  Two clips, similar weight, one from my first Oly meet, the second clip is in training yesterday.  Old:


“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” -Helen Keller

The last quarter has re-emphasized for me how important trust is.  Trust your body, trust your capabilities, trust your coach, trust your program and be patient enough to allow things to unfold.  If you can’t or don’t trust those things then change your course of action to one you can fully buy into.  Just as you won’t be successful with a half-hearted or rushed snatch attempt, you’ll never reach your full potential with half belief in yourself, your training program, your coach or the path you’ve chosen to achieve your goals.  None of us know what our future holds, but I believe mine will be a lot brighter if I take a leap of faith with all of the heart, body and commitment I can muster.   

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.  You have to trust in something- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” – Steve Jobs                                                                                       

Author: Elisabeth Akinwale

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