Learning From Your Misses in Weightlifting
February 6 2013
I used to not think about other people’s training so much—about their mental state and struggles, or the fact that their minds may be racing during training as well. It’s not because I am some selfish bitch who doesn’t care about my teammates, I simply didn’t think that anyone else struggled as I do. I was oblivious.
It took me a lot of years to learn to relax in the gym, to learn that a missed lift wasn’t the end of my world as I know it, but a chance to make things right. When you fuck up you’re not supposed to turn and walk away from your mistake. The right thing to do is to fix it. To make it right. If you fuck up in life and do everything you can to make it right, why would you not apply the same rules to your life on the platform? I learned through a lot of misses, a lot of tears, and a lot of tantrums, that I was not making things right when I missed. I was taking that fuck-up and fucking it up worse. A miss would follow a miss would follow a miss would result in tears and a devastating workout, where nothing was accomplished except a lot of tears and frustrations. Nothing learned. Nothing gained.
Now that I have taken a step back from my own training and am using that time and energy to help my athletes and teammates, I have seen the emotions I was oblivious to before. I have noticed the tears and the frustrations, and the miss after miss. I realize that the hard lessons I learned are now something I need to teach to them. I see them spinning in circles of defeat and allowing the mistake they make in a lift define their training session. I see this because it once was me.
When something bad happens while the barbell is in your hand, I believe you have three choices: You can either let it define you, destroy you, or strengthen you. When you allow a mistake to define or destroy you, you are not giving yourself the opportunity to let the mistake strengthen you. I believe that you need to take ALL you learn during practice and use it to strengthen you. To make it right. We have to remember when we release that bar after a miss that what defines us is how strong we rise after falling. We forget that, and soon we have taken all those misses, all those mistakes, and allowed them to define our training, our cycle, or path. And then we see a competition is around the corner and we are out of time. And we regret not taking the chance to make it right sooner. Buddha said, “the trouble is you think you have time.” Ya, you think you have time until there is none left. You have to make it right now, not later. There isn’t a whole lot of time for later.
I admit my level of obsession on the platform, and my level of crazy and weirdness, is above the national average, but I am comfortable with that. Why? Because it has made me let go of the misses and learn how to make it right. Because I realized I need to prove that I exist. And if I hide in my misses, in my mistakes, I am not proving anything. As someone once said, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.” You can’t move on to your next lift if you are living in your last miss.