"Consistency is the only currency accepted in exchange for confidence and poise when the lights come on."
From the time you are a kid, you are developed by repetition; the exhausting homework you do in school, the drills you do at soccer practice, the 200 free throws your basketball coach makes you shoot. It’s really difficult to wrap your head around the purpose behind these mundane tasks at the time because as a child, and even as a teenager, you have yet to truly experience mastery in anything. Once you are able develop a more comprehensive understanding behind the monotony, reasons for doing the same thing over and over and over again become more clear.
I had a muay thai coach that once said to me, “I want you to kick this bag until you are absolutely sick of it, and then kick it another 10,000 times”. I take this same approach with my athletes in weightlifting. Practice for most sports is not sexy or appealing, but weightlifting can become especially boring if you lose sight of why you are putting yourself through all of the redundant training. In weightlifting, we squat, we pull, we snatch, we clean and jerk. We can sprinkle in some different accessory work and variations of the lifts to work on weaknesses, but too much fancy programming can take you too far away from the end goal, to snatch and clean and jerk as heavy as possible.
It also isn’t just a matter of getting the reps in, it’s a matter of doing the reps with the same intensity, the same set up, the same mind set, regardless of whether you are having the best training day of your life, or the worst. Athletes who get frustrated easily are typically beginners, and haven’t yet developed a greater appreciation for the lifts. The more consistent you are with everything in training, the better in tune you are with your body as well. I have personally watched some great lifters walk into the gym, barely hit 80% of their maxes, and be completely content with their training day. Getting pissed every single time you do not lift well, is like getting mad every time that it rains. There are things you can control and there are things you cannot.
It is very obvious when the stakes are high, who has put in the work, and truly honed in on the smallest of details. It’s like the old adage goes, “practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.” Clutch athletes shine when the lights are on, not because they fill up with adrenaline and vibe off of the crowd, but because they do not even notice the lights. The same internal sanctuary they enter before attempting a lift even on the worst training day of their life, is the same place they go before attempting a lift in front of thousands of people. Sure, having a crowd and the pressure can help, much like the assistance from the sprinkled in accessory work to complement the core lifts. But, trying to solely use the pressure and the crowd energy to will yourself to do something you haven’t already performed and visualized 10,000 times on your own, is the quickest road to failure. Consistency is the only currency accepted in exchange for confidence and poise when the lights come on.