“YOU GOT TO FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO LIFT” has to be my favourite quote from Arctic Midsummer Strength Week held in Rovaniemi Aug 13.-18. Although I am pretty sure that Mr Abadjiev did not mean to reference to the Beastie Boys.
The most valuable thing that I learned during that week was not new secrets about the Bulgarian system, but something quite obvious; the importance of getting the lifters to a right kind of mind-set and attitude. “Concentration” was the second most common word in Mr Abadjiev´s lectures, right after “maksimal”. According to him, in the same way one does not have enough training time to waste it on a long warm-up on small weights (instead one should get up to heavy weights as soon as possible and then focus on moving those)one should not waste a moment of training time by not being concentrated properly. To me, that reflects the right kind of attitude towards training – and coaching. Just concentrating on LIFTING, wanting to make every lift count. Every single lift makes you a little bit better – or does not, it is up to you and what you are looking for from the platform.
I have spent a lot of time trying to explain to people that this is (in my opinion, at least) a zen-sport, not an aggression sport. Don´t get me wrong, a weightlifter needs to be aggressive in a way, in order to be explosive, but being aggressive all the time (yelling, coursing, throwing stuff, trying to be fast instead of being in rhythm, not focusing when working with smaller loads, not showing respect for fellow lifters or coaches) speaks of broken concentration to me. I am not impressed by who makes the most noise, but by who lifts the most with the most beautiful technique. I am not impressed by who seems to be the most explosive but by who has the most successful lifts. There is a huge difference in having that fire within and with trying to show on the outside that you are on fire.
Being concentrated doesn´t just mean focusing on each lift and on each session but also taking responsibility of one´s own development, being committed. It is also about being realistic (and I don´t mean realistic in the negative way) of your potential. If you are not progressing to meet your full potential in the time frame you know you could be, what are you going to do about it? Are you satisfied with people patting you on the back and giving you praise when you know you could and should have done better?
Mr Abadjiev is referred to as “the Butcher” as the Bulgarian method he has developed is quite brutal and unforgiving. He is a demanding coach because he sees the full potential and knows how to reach it. He also expects his athletes to be demanding of themselves, in every lift and every session. He calls that concentration - of the coach and the lifter. For him, the only goal is Olympic gold, so there is no room for poor training. Period. Even if your personal goal would not be that high, that is the attitude you need to fulfil your full potential. Concentrated is the word that I would choose to describe Mr Abadjiev, always calm, direct and assertive, not wasting energy or time on things that don´t matter. And he tells things exactly how they are, brutally honestly, never tries to please anyone.
At the seminar, there were also many lifters from team New Zealand having a preparatory camp for the Commonwealth Games. I was very happy to see their training culture. They seemed concentrated, training sessions were professionally organized and lifters were focusing on LIFTING, they were satisfied when there was a good reason to be. That´s what a training session should look and sound like, and the results will follow. So thank you guys, it was a pleasure to see!
So what are you looking for from the platform? Approval, praise, likes, a sense of belonging, having fun with your friends, or good lifts, matching your full potential, enjoying getting better, knowing you are doing the right things? Are YOU being true to that goal? No matter what others say? Are you concentrated? Are you a weightlifter or is weightlifting a hobby of yours?
When it comes to confidence in lifting I don´t believe in “fake it ´till you make it”. I believe in “work ´till you make it”.
|Between us is señor Victor Galvan from Centro Regional de Halterofilia, the other main lecturer of the camp. We learned many valuable things from his methods.|
|The brand new strength training center of Santasport was perfect.|
|Little Laura trained hard, twice a day, with great attitude and collected the fruits of her labour in competitions in August.|
|On the left Mr Abadjiev and on our right Ari Moilanen and Saija Määttä from the organizing club OAK. Thank you for a great and very useful camp!|